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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains.  At 5:35 am, the temperature outside is 51.3 degrees. It will be warm today, near 68 degrees. After today, expect high temperatures in the 70’s through Sunday with lows in the low 60’s.

Chances are fairly high for rain tonight through Christmas Day. This morning, there is no mention of heavy rain or flooding this week on the websites I read. One site indicates a chance for ½ inch of rain tonight. There is a possibility of severe thunderstorms tomorrow. Right now, it is hard to find any definitive speculation of heavy rain or flooding.

Yesterday, the forecast called for heavy rain, up to 2.8 inches in the Smokies. Maybe the weather folks have backed off on that statement. Flash flood watches have been issued to our south, where this rain is coming from.

Little River is flowing at 196 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.84 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 254 cfs.

The water temperature is rising in Little River, quickly. Yesterday morning, the temperature was 41.4 degrees. This morning, it is 48.7 degrees. That number should rise into the 50’s today. Fishing will get better all week, if we don’t have heavy rain blowing out the streams.

Some fishermen came into the shop yesterday morning after fishing on the Middle Prong. They did well. Today will be better. So, the Fishing Gauge is moving to “Good”, anticipating today’s warmer water. It will remain there, unless we have high water conditions, which may be tomorrow. Or, maybe not.

Tennessee Valley Authority is planning to generate all day at Norris Dam. There are some possible wade fishing opportunities today on the Holston River below Cherokee Dam.  Check the TVA website and see if this schedule will work for you.

We are busy at the shop. I was there yesterday for a few hours. When I left, two customers were buying fly rods. I processed last week’s payroll, then came home and worked on photography for the online store. Dan and Daniel are busy rebuilding the site, and I’m in charge of photography. So, today and tomorrow, I’ll be working on that.

We will close at noon Thursday, Christmas Eve. Dan Munger and I will be there at 9 am to open for a short time, for last minute shoppers and hopefully, to serve anglers going fishing. Then, we will close Christmas day. I’m looking forward to Christmas.

I have a great view of the forest from my home office where I work every day. I cleared brush, trimmed low hanging limbs and basically cleaned up a large area, so I can see wildlife.  I raked trails, that zigzag from the edge of the forest, 20 feet from the house, back about 75 feet before ending in thick vegetation. Every morning, I spread 2 gallons of corn, a half gallon of sunflower seeds and another half gallon of white proso millet along the trails. At the end of the day, every seed is gone.

I can’t use bird feeders until mid-winter. The bears tear them down.

You would not believe the number of birds that come into that area to feed. There is a constant barrage of birds flying in and out all day. Deer visit, to lick the mineral block. Some birds like the sunflower seeds. Others eat the millet. Crows and blue jays eat the corn. Then, every day, usually in the afternoon, a flock of 26 turkeys come in and finish it all off.

Of course, as you would imagine, we’ve got a ton of fat squirrels out there. There are usually about a dozen of them feasting on the sunflower seeds, which are spread out, so all the critters get a chance to eat those.

Yesterday, I looked out and there were no squirrels, anywhere. That is very unusual. What I did see was a bobcat. That was only the second bobcat I’ve seen in my life. The first one I ever saw was last week. It’s probably the same bobcat.

I went to the shop and came home hours later, and the squirrels were still gone. Later, I saw a few, grabbing some seeds, then running up the trees. They were nervous. The turkeys never showed up. That is twice the turkeys stayed away this fall and both times, I saw that bobcat.

I’m convinced, when a top end predator is in the area, all the wildlife know it. They go somewhere else. They stay away from here. The cat was out there, somewhere, waiting.

I saw a coyote behind the house a couple of weeks ago during the middle of the day. The squirrels were in the trees waiting for the animal to leave. When it did, they quickly got back to business, eating sunflower seeds.  The turkeys showed up later.

The bobcat instills lasting fear in these animals, much more than a coyote. The small animals and turkeys could care less about bears. They practically ignore them. But, they don’t ignore that cat.

We see bears around the house, during certain times of the year. Paula and I don’t ignore them. We stay out of their way. After a bear wanders by our house, we go on about our business, outside, hardly thinking about it. We don’t walk around with guns. If one comes back, we stay close to the house, usually on the front porch, until it is gone. I have had a few close encounters with bears. Sometimes, it has been just a few feet away and always by accident. I have never felt threatened by a bear. I still keep my distance, if I can. They always do the same thing. You should never approach a bear. 

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

Byron Begley
December 22, 2015

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