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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is dark, cloudy and 47 degrees in Townsend this morning.  We got a little rain last night.  More is to come today and tomorrow.  The high temperature today is predicted to be 65 degrees.  What happened to this awful winter we were supposed to get?  I’ll take what we have.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.  Daniel and I will be at the shop.  We will be open from 9 am until noon.  We will be closed Christmas Day and re-open Friday.Little River is warming.  The water temperature this morning is 45.7 degrees.  Flow is 131 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.65 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 275 cfs.It will continue to be unseasonably warm through the weekend. 

Water temperatures should rise even more.  Fishing is certainly going to improve.  It’s probably decent right now.I would use nymphs and fish in the lower to mid elevations.  You will probably find the trout activity higher than it has been.  If the water temperature reaches near 50 degrees, fishing should be good.  I don’t know if that will happen but it might get close.

Don’t forget about the stocked waters in Townsend, Gatlinburg and Cherokee.  Those stockers will probably be active and fishing could be very good.The long-term outlook for the New Years holiday indicates a cold front will move in. 

It will seem like winter next week.  Get out and go fishing while you can.I was off yesterday.  Jack and I finished the boat house.  It was hard work.  I had to drill 6, 4” deep holes in solid concrete while laying on solid concrete.  Jack built the final stairs down to the concrete pad outside the boat house.  Then, we mounted the walls inside to the studs using plywood and pegboard.  Jack has been working here for six months, off and on. 

I have worked with him on my day off, every week.  We are both glad this job is finished.  All that needs to be done is paint the interior of the boat house.  Then, it’s time to work on the boat adding new features, to get ready for Spring.  Spring is not far off.  Spring fishing sometimes occurs in February. 

Fishermen get more active in February too.  January is our slowest month of the year at LRO.  Once it is over, people start thinking about fishing again.

Our fly tying classes will get cranked up again after New Years.  You can read more about them by CLICKING HERE.  January is always fly tying time.  Our fly tying department is always busy during that month.

Dan Munger is working with Josh Pfeiffer to hold a new smallmouth bass fly tying class.  We should announce that soon.  That class will fill quickly once we set the date.  I think it is going to be held in early March since we don’t have many open dates during January and February when our classroom will be available.

We will be holding our usual Free Saturday Fly Tying Demonstrations all winter.  That schedule is not complete but you can view what we have by CLICKING HERE.  Winter Saturdays are fun a LRO.  We almost always have something going on for you, weather permitting.

We have a lot of big plans for 2015.  I’m really looking forward to next year.  Another huge change around here will be the opening of Lynn Camp Prong.  That is my favorite stream in the Park and it has been closed for 6 years for brook trout restoration.  We’ll have almost 9 miles of new pure brook trout water available with easy access.  I don’t know when it will open but I believe, from what the biologists say, it will be soon.  I keep checking the Park’s news releases every day hoping for the great news.  When I get it, you will have it.

There has been a lot of talk about TWRA’s plans to raise fishing license costs next Summer.  That could have a negative effect on our business.  Nothing has been decided as of now.  One proposal suggests eliminating the 1-day, non-resident license.  We sell a lot of those.I think more people will be buying North Carolina licenses online to fish in the Smokies if major changes in rates and the elimination of the 1-day license happens.  Fishing licenses from either state are valid in the Park. 

I hope it doesn’t come to that.  I want funding to go to Tennessee for programs in our state. It’s all up in the air and cause for speculation.  One year, we sold about $80,000 in fishing licenses at the shop.  Our fishing license sales have been declining, probably due to more people buying them online.  When going on a fishing trip to another state, I always buy my license online.  More people are probably doing the same thing.

I hope to see you tomorrow morning at the shop.  Have a great day and thank you for being here with us.

Byron Begley
December 23, 2014

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