Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina

Welcome to the Fishing Report form the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is 43 degrees this morning.  This is my day off this week.  I think Jack is coming over and we will finish the interior walls of the boat house.  Then, they will be ready to paint.

Rain is headed our way.  There is a 70% chance tomorrow and a 100% chance tomorrow night and Wednesday.  It is going to be warm during that time with the possibility of 60 degree temperatures both Tuesday and Wednesday.  There is still a 10% chance for snow on Christmas Day.

We may see the stream temperatures rise some this week. That, combined with rain, may improve the fishing.  Flows are lower than normal in the Park.  Little River is flowing at 128 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.64 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 254 cfs.  The water temperature at 6:56 am is 43 degrees.

I would use nymphs and fish them deep and on the bottom.  Some fishermen I’ve talked to are catching trout but not many.  It is winter after all.  These are not ideal fishing conditions.

Josh Pfeiffer will not by tying Saturday.  I’m not sure exactly why.  I just read the schedule on our website that Daniel posts to and created an ad for this report.  Maybe there was a mix-up or something like that.  Dan Munger told me yesterday, on our phone intercom but I didn’t quite understand what he was saying.  I think Josh is fine.  If he was sick, someone would have told me.  Josh is one of my close friends.  That’s all I know.

Visitors are arriving in Townsend for the holiday week.  I can see a difference in traffic already.  Townsend is a popular destination at Christmas and New Years.  Townsend is a great place to live too.   

We will be closed Christmas Day but we’ll be open between 9 am and noon Christmas Eve.  Daniel and I will be the only people working that day.  I think Daniels’s daughter, Sophie, will be with us.  I’m looking forward to that.  We don’t do much business on Christmas Eve but we’ve always been open those three hours except the first year.  I guess you would call that a tradition.  It is to me.  It’s a time to see friends.

We closed on Christmas Eve the first year, two decades ago.  A family came to town for the holidays.  A lady expected us to be open to buy some last minute presents for her husband.  She knew my name, looked us up in the phone book, called and asked me to meet her at the store so she could shop.  I obliged of course.  She was very nice, she bought a lot of gear and after she left, I locked the door and went back home.  After that, we started opening Christmas Eve mornings.

I usually shoot skeet Christmas eve afternoon.  I doubt if that will happen since we have a 100% chance for rain this time.

Growing up further to the north, at a time when winters were extremely cold, I always remember snow on Christmas.  There were probably times when we didn’t have snow on the ground but I don’t recall that. To me, Christmas meant there would be plenty of snow and rabbit hunting in the afternoon. 

Sledding was also a popular activity on Christmas afternoons.  I had a small, 10’ jon boat on the pond below our house.  When we had really good snowfall, we would use that jon boat as a giant sled.  It also served as a method to pack down the snow for smaller sleds.  I remember well, towing that job boat up the hill.  That took forever.  The ride down was fast.  Then, back up we would go.  My dad, sister and I would ride in the boat.  I remember one time my English setter rode down the hill with us.  After that, he was over sledding.

We also enjoyed ice skating on the pond.  My sister was good at it.  I was not.  I fell down on the hard ice way too much to really call it fun.  I never enjoyed falling on the ground or hard ice.  My sister and dad rode horses often, probably daily.  I rode some, but carefully.  Falling off a horse is even worse than falling on the ice.  They rode hunter jumpers, jumping over coups that connected our fields.  I always stopped my horse, opened the gate and walked through.  We had the gates set up so I could do that without getting off the horse. 

Dad got thrown into a jump once and broke several ribs.  I learned from that lesson.  He was in pain for months.  At some point I switched to a western saddle.  I did that because there was horn to hold onto if the horse started bucking or did something else crazy.  Those were the days.  I was always looking forward to spring and fishing.  It’s been that way for over 60 years. 

Fishing is the only sport I have ever taken seriously.  Hunting and shooting were OK, but fishing was always more important to me.

So here I am, in yet another winter, waiting for spring fishing.  I know you are too.

Have a great day and thank you for being here with us.

Byron Begley
December 22, 2014

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