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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is foggy and 29 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I got here early thinking the roads might be slick.  With all the rain we had and temperatures dropping into the 20’s last night, I expected ice.  The roads were still wet.  The roads did not get cold enough to freeze last night.

There are ponds where there were not ponds before.  We have one behind our store on a neighbor’s property.  Yesterday we got another 1.6 inches of rain at the shop.  Late yesterday the rain moved out.  We did get a dusting of snow and some sleet. 

Little River is flowing very strong at 2,450 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 274 cfs.  Thankfully, the rain is over.  We will have several days of sunshine and fairly warm temperatures in the future. 

Roadways did not fare well this week.  A 200’ section of Newfound Gap Road in the Smokies slid down the mountain between Newfound Gap and Cherokee, NC.  Another slide was reported on the Cherohala Skyway.  Mud and rock slides occurred in several other locations.  I noticed some new road upheavals in Dry Valley where we live.  Another road in our County near Little River washed out.  It is going to be a while before we dry out.

There are some roads in Great Smoky Mountains National Park that are closed due to flooding, snow or ice this morning.  They are Little River Road, Cades Cove Loop Road, Upper Tremont Road and the Foothills Parkway.  Of course, Highway 441 or Newfound Gap Road is closed.  You can call the Park at 865-436-1200 to hear the full list of closed roads in the Smokies.

Fishing in the Smokies will be slow and since most of the roads near us are closed, you would not be able to get there anyway.  Those roads may open soon when the sun comes out and thaws the snow or ice. 

If you go fishing today, start with nymphs.  Get them down deep.  Try not to wade.  These streams are swift.  You could stand on the bank and high stick though that would not be an easy day of fishing.  The water temperature is on the cool side at 45.7 degrees right now in Little River.  It’s not worth it.

I believe you will see heavy generation at TVA dams making it tough for wading and fishing in the tailwaters.  This may last for a while.  TVA needs to lower the lake levels to create water storage to prepare for future rain events like we just had.

I guess the best thing you could be doing to stay involved in the sport is tying flies.  Spring is around the corner.  Yesterday was my day off this week.  I tied flies and listened to the news stories, the same ones, over and over.

I met with Steve Thompson and Buzz Buffington Wednesday.  The subject was Project Healing Waters.  Steve is the new coordinator for our area.  Project Healing Waters (PHW) is a National organization that helps disabled or wounded veterans take up the sport of fly fishing. This organization is growing fast.  We discussed using our facility for teaching.  We have a dedicated 600 square foot classroom.  We also have plenty of water around here.  I have already talked to Alex Quick at Blackberry Farm about holding fishing events there for PHW.  Alex has volunteered for PHW before, as an instructor.

Buzz is a very active member of the Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  That Chapter has devoted countless thousands of hours to fly fishing, fly tying and trout education for adults and children. It doesn’t surprise me that the Clinch River Chapter has jumped all over the PHW project in our region.  

We don’t have a shortage of volunteers. Right now, we have a shortage of participants.  We know there are many injured or wounded U.S. Military veterans living in our area.  What we need to do now is get the word out.  I can help with that, using this website. 

So, I talked to Alex and he contacted Steve.  Steve will be sending me some high-res art and photos so I can make a PHW presence on this site. 

If you know a veteran who is injured or wounded, and you think they might be interested in learning how to fly fish and tie flies, have them contact Steve via e-mail by CLICKING HERE.  There is no cost to the vets.  It’s Free.

This program has changed the lives of many of our military veterans.  You can visit the Project Healing Waters website by CLICKING HERE and read the stories.  This is a very beneficial way for us all to do some good with the skills we have. I know many of us will help Steve get this chapter off the ground and running.

Mike Bone will be here tomorrow.  Mike has been guiding on the tailwaters and freestone rivers for about two decades.  He has done it full time.  His focus early on was on the Clinch River.  He was one of the early guides who used a drift boat.  He is one of the best guides I have met and fished with.  He’s a good guy to spend the day with. 

He will be tying and talking tomorrow between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.  Just come by, watch and listen.  It’s Free of course.  This will certainly be a very beneficial use of your time.  You will learn a lot from this guy.  I know I’m looking forward to seeing him tomorrow.

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

Byron Begley
January 18, 2013

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