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.  The sky is blue and the temperature is 31 degrees at 8:10 am.  I saw more traffic on my way to work than I have seen in a while.  I guess we have some cabin fever going on due to the rain yesterday.

We’ve got water!  Little River is flowing at 1,560 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 4.20 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 311 cfs.  The water is clear in town and 46 degrees this morning.

Today’s flow is a record for this date.  Yesterday’s flow was a record for that date.  Little River rose 5 feet yesterday morning.  We had 1.4 inches of rain in our gauge yesterday at 7:50 am.  This morning we had .6 inches.  That’s two inches in 48 hours.

Little River is flowing way too high and strong for safe wading.  Most streams are probably the same in the mountains.  There are a few streams that run off quickly.  Laurel Creek and Anthony Creek are good examples.  They may be fishable today.  Be careful though, even in the small streams.  The power of the current can be deceiving.  You could get into trouble before you know it.

I would use larger and heavily weighted nymphs.  Add plenty of split shot to get your flies down.  I would stay close to the bank and “high stick” the water nearby.  With all of this current, you don’t need to worry as much about being seen by the trout.

The water is fairly warm.  The trout should be somewhat active.  Fishing may be good if you can find the right stretch of water where you can safely fish.

Today will be sunny and around 55 degrees in the valley.  It will be a nice day to be out.  Tomorrow, we are expecting rain but the temperature will still be warm during the day.  Then, Tuesday night, we may get some snow.  The chance for snow continues through Wednesday night.  The National Weather Service is warning that snow accumulations in the high elevations will be moderate while snowfall in the valleys will be light.

I don’t know when I have heard so much conversation from people in the fly fishing industry about weather.  We are all talking about it.  Just yesterday, guide Mike Bone and Chota Outdoor Gear President Frank Bryant were discussing it with me in our store.  Orvis’ National Sales Manager and I talked about it last week.

Our industry got hammered last year by bad weather.  We are in a weather dependent business.  If you are a guide, a fly shop owner or a manufacturer, you were affected adversely by weather last year in a very memorable way.  We just can’t stop talking about it.  Maybe this year will be better.

If you are a fly fisherman around here, you had limited options last Spring.

I keep reading the buzz about the contract dispute between The Weather Channel and Direct TV.  If those two businesses don’t come to an agreement soon, The Weather Channel will be dropped from Direct TV.

We have Comcast Cable at home and at the shop.  We will still get The Weather Channel.  I can log on to our Exfinity account and watch TV on the internet, but I don’t see The Weather Channel listed as one of those options.  When I’m on a fishing trip, I watch the Weather Channel in the condo or cabin.  I know, I can almost always get online and visit their website.  Often, in remote places where we go on vacation, there is no cable.  Direct TV is our provider. 

I can live without The Weather Channel when we are on vacation but I would rather not.  I hope they work something out.

We are all waiting anxiously for Spring fishing.  “The anticipation is killing me.”  I see customers in the shop buying fly tying materials to tie Quill Gordons and Blue Quills.  That’s the way it is in January. 

What we are waiting for, in the Smokies, is a sustained water temperature of 50 degrees or higher.  When that happens, the bugs start hatching.  The trout become active.  Fishing is good.  That can occur in February or March.  I’m hoping it happens in February and we don’t get too much rain like we did last year. 

I am also hoping that TVA doesn’t have to flush water through the dams 24/7 which also happened last Spring. 

I hope the drought in the west improves.

I hope, hope and hope that we see lots of smiling fly fishermen this year.  They may be smiling because our options are not limited.  I also hope the government doesn’t close National Parks again this year.

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

Byron Begley
January 12, 2014

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