Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is a cool 29 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Traffic is light, or it was when I drove to work. This being a holiday, our town should be busy today.  It is going to be beautiful, sunny and 50 degrees in the valley.  Little River looked beautiful and inviting to the angler.  The water however was a cold 40 degrees.  I stood by the swinging bridge and watched the riffle above that pool for a little while.  Stream watching is a relaxing activity.  Fishing is better.

Flow in Little River is currently 374 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 260 cfs.  We have plenty of water and more on the way.

A warm front will bring rain to East Tennessee tomorrow and a high temperature of near 60 degrees.  The low tonight will be around 42 degrees.  The water will warm tomorrow and the fishing will improve but not for long.  Cold temperatures and snow are in the forecast for Tuesday night and Wednesday.  The snow will probably only occur in the mountains.  That suits me fine.  I like looking at the snow covered mountains all day but driving on wet roads. 

If you go fishing in the Park use nymphs and fish deep.  You may see some blue wing olives hatching.  And, you might see some trout rising.  Switch to a dry fly at that point.  But overall, nymphs or maybe streamers are what I would use.

Clayton Gist and Tim Doyle will be tying at the shop on Saturday the 21st.  They will begin at 10:00 am and tie until 2:00 pm.  This is a free demonstration.  Just come by and enjoy.  These guys are both guides with a lifetime of fly fishing experience.  Believe me, you will learn and be entertained. 

I didn’t see anything on the news websites this morning of interest about our area.  I did read some stories about that Italian cruise ship that partially sank.  What a terrible accident.  The Captain is in deep trouble.  I am sorry for the lost lives and the effect this tragedy had on many people on the ship and their families.  But, it could have been a lot worse.  Luckily, that ship was close to shore, too close as it turned out.

One of our customers is a Captain who drives a tug boat.  I think he still reads this report.  His job is pushing barges in and out, up and down the St. Marks River in Florida.  I always enjoy talking to him when he comes in the shop.  Navigating out of that river’s mouth into the Gulf of Mexico is treacherous. You can see sharp points sticking out of the water.  They look like knives.  Those points are very sharp rocks. That place scares me to death. I asked the Captain about that.  He said you just have to know where they are. 

How could that cruise ship crew not have known they were off course.  A ship that size has unbelievable navigation equipment and charting devices.  This is going to be an interesting story as it plays out.

I worry about hitting rocks in our little 16’ aluminum boat.  We actually drive ours on a couple of tailwaters, in fairly shallow water.  The river beds are littered with rocks.  I try to stay away from the really shallow water but occasionally we will see one right below the boat and barely skim over it.  I don’t drive fast in those areas.  I have not hit one yet in this boat.  A sharp rock can cut through your hull.  That is why I always have duct tape on board.  You can patch a leaky boat with duct tape and continue to fish.  I have not had to do that yet.  I hope I never have to.  But I never go boating in a kayak, canoe or our aluminum boat without duct tape.  We also have a bucket and a manual bilge pump in the boat.  They can really come in handy.

I didn’t know this until recently, but when the Coast Guard tests and approves a small boat for a particular load weight and motor, to get the approval it has to float upright if swamped.  A friend of mine, Todd Gregory just had one of his Towee boats tested.  He drove it to the Washington DC area where the USCG does the testing. 

I swamped a boat one time on the Kentucky River.  We were young, the boat was overloaded and we ran around a curve only to meet a barge and tug going full steam ahead.  The wake was huge.  I slowed down and had no choice but to take the wave head on.  The boat was swamped.  We just all sat there.  The boat did not turn over.  Everything inside was floating around our knees.  I pulled the plug and started driving forward.  The water began draining out.  Then I kept going faster.  More water drained out.  Eventually all the water was gone.  I put the plug back in and we continued our day of fun on the river.  The boat was a Boston Whaler.  They are designed to do that.

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

Byron Begley
January 16, 2012  

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