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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is cloudy, windy and 68 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I know, the weather websites are reporting 63 degrees.  They are wrong for now.  I checked two thermometers.  I bet those sites are updated soon.  We are under a wind advisory until noon.

Little River is flowing at 189 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 312 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:55 am was 51 degrees.  The water temperature has been steadily climbing for two days.  It even rose overnight.  The water will still get warmer today and through the weekend.  The high air temperatures are expected to be 66 degrees today, 70 tomorrow and 67 on Sunday.  Lows at night will be in the 50’s until Monday.

Fishing is getting better by the day.  It will be good this weekend, far better than what we usually see in January.  The stream conditions are Spring-like.  You may see some Spring hatches.  The trout will certainly be very active. 

If you go fishing today or this weekend be ready for about anything.  You could find yourself in the middle of a Spring hatch of Quill Gordons, Blue Quills and Blue Wing Olives.  I do not know if it is possible for these hatches to begin in January.  I can’t remember that ever happening.  The water is warm enough.  We all hope we don’t see the quills hatching yet.  It’s too early.  Last year they started getting active in early February.  That was early.  Mid January will be way too early. 

So, why not wish for that?  Some seasoned local anglers say, when the Spring hatches begin, they do not stop when the water gets cold again.  They keep on hatching.  The water will get cold again, probably cold enough to slow down the trout’s metabolism to a point where they do not eat much.  So, you could have adult mayflies or other species on the water but not benefiting the trout or the angler.  There is also speculation that if the hatches begin early, the water gets cold again, warmer water returns and there are less aquatic insects to hatch.  For some species it may be over.  This may all be conjecture.  I don’t know.  I’m not out there counting insects.  I have not read this though it would be easy to do so with all the information we have on the internet.  It makes sense.  Normal is better.  What we are seeing now is far from normal.

Fishing is going to be much better than normal this weekend so if you can get out there, do it.  Total rainfall predictions vary.  We will get some rain.  The Cumberland Plateau is expected to get the most rain.  We could actually use some rain.  What it will do to the streams here and when is a guess right now.  A front is moving in and the clouds I see out my window over the Smoky Mountains are moving fast.  This is a strong front.  Strong fronts can affect the fishing too, in an adverse way. So, the stream temperatures could be perfect and they probably will, but the changes in the barometric pressure might put the trout down temporarily. 

While the river temperatures are going to be very good for trout fishing, the same applies for smallmouth bass.  Now that Little River is over 50 degrees, those hard fighters could become active too.  Josh caught a few three day ago when the water was much colder.

Two anglers were fishing on Little River yesterday downstream in Walland.  They found the body of a man at Coulters Bridge, in the river.  Police identified the approximate age of the man to be in his 30’s.  No other information is available to the public so far.  Police are asking for help from anyone seeing suspicious activity in the Walland area or those with knowledge about this to contact them.  You can read a short article about this in the Daily Times by CLICKING HERE.

Walter Babb and Josh Pfeiffer will be tying here at the shop tomorrow, Saturday January 12, for your benefit.  They will be tying and talking about fly fishing from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm.  These demonstrations are free.  All you have to do is show up, sit down, watch, ask questions and listen.  You will learn a lot from these guys.

Walter is a well known Southern Appalachian fly fisherman, fly tyer and bamboo rod maker.  He grew up doing most of his local fishing in the Tellico River area.  I consider him an expert.  Walter teaches our fly tying and beginner fly fishing classes.  He’s a good friend and a great guy. 

Josh is a guide who makes a living by taking clients into the Smokies, floating them down rivers for trout and he also specializes in smallmouth bass fishing with a fly.  Josh will be tying and talking about smallmouth bass.  He knows his stuff.

So, tomorrow you can spend a few hours with a couple of experts with varying talent.  Just show up.  It’s free.

This is going to be an interesting few days.  Fishing will be very good at some point.  I would wait until the wind dies down this afternoon before going today.  You don’t want a tree falling on you.  Also, watch the USGS flow gauge.  You can access their web page for Little River by clicking on “Stream Info” to the left of this page.  I will keep you posted on the water temperature.  You can access the USGS Little River water temperature page by CLICKING HERE.  What you will see at first is a flow chart.  Go to the selection box at the top of the page next to the “Refresh” button.  Select TW Temperature.  A graph indicating the current water temperature will appear. 

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

Byron Begley
January 11, 2013

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