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 4:53 am, the temperature is 58.8 degrees. Approximately ¾ of an inch of rain fell last night in a short period of time. It poured! We will get a break today, then “heavy” rain is in the forecast for Wednesday. Our area is under a flash flood watch through Wednesday night.

Little River is flowing at 1,740 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 4.19 feet on the gauge. The river peaked at 5 feet last night. Median flow for this date is 317 cfs. The water temperature is 57.9 degrees.

The streams are blown out. Little River is not safe to wade. Most streams are probably not safe to wade in the Great Smoky Mountains.

It is disappointing to us and all anglers, that the water temperature is perfect for trout fishing, in the mountains, the last week of the year, and we can’t fish. If we had normal flows right now, fishing would be similar to the peak in the Spring. The average high temperature this week, in our area is 48 degrees. Yesterday, the high temperature was 75 degrees.

It is going to be cooler this week, with lows dipping into the high 20’s Friday night through next Monday. Predictions through January 12th indicate cooler temperatures. The weekend will be dry.

I have noticed more e-mail lately, from anglers planning for next year. I guess that makes perfect sense, this is the end of the year and Winter is here, sort of. Some people are planning trout fishing trips to the Smoky Mountains. Others are asking my opinion about tackle upgrades. And there are others thinking about fishing for species new to them, like smallmouth bass, musky and stripers.

I’m doing the same thing. Fishing is all about anticipation. We anticipate the upcoming fishing trips, all the way down to the next fish that may or may not take our fly. We anticipate, usually on the high side, the size or numbers of the fish that are in the particular water we are fishing, while we are actually fishing. Sometimes we get the “Big Surprise”. We anticipate if we will land or lose the fish.

We wonder about the weather, and how it will affect the fishing. If we plan a trip, will there be a flood?

I enjoy not knowing, but anticipating a fantastic day. You can be the best fly fisherman in the world, and still have a slow day or lose the fish of a lifetime. Or, maybe you will have a great day. Much of fishing is beyond our control. At other times, good fishing is something we can control. You can get better. Some days you get worse.

We deal with obstacles. We are always trying to keep our fly or a hooked fish away from limbs, trees, rocks, shallow water, deep water, slow water and fast water. It all depends. Without obstacles, I don’t think fly fishing would be as much fun as it is.

Do you ever think about tippet failure? Of course you do. We all do. Breaking one off is worse than having your fly pop out of their mouth. Well, maybe not. Breaking of a fish could mean you hooked a monster that was out of control.

Luck plays into the sport and we know it. We anticipate the next cast, and then the next, not knowing what will happen.

If you live in the South, you will be anticipating more than fishing, for the next couple of months. I look at our sales numbers at the shop during January and February, and it is obvious, not many people are fly fishing. But that does not indicate we are not anticipating. We are.

I’m going fishing next year more than any year in my life! I say that every year, at about this time of year. I’m not going to work as much next year. I say that every year too. I always change my mind. It’s been that way for decades. 

I know I enjoy working. I always have. To me work is like fishing. I’m always anticipating, and trying to be better. Business has always been a sport to me. The big difference is, business is a competitive sport. I don’t consider fishing as a competitive sport. I love both in similar but different ways.

In the sport of fly fishing, you can win or lose, and be happy. Winning at fishing is not measurable, definitive or tangible. It isn’t to me. I use fishing as an escape from measurable, definitive and tangible. I get enough of that at work.

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

Byron Begley
December 29, 2015

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