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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  The sun is rising, the sky is clear and the temperature is 31 degrees in Townsend this morning.  We had a thick frost on the ground, rooftops and vehicles at daybreak.  There is still some snow visible on the higher mountain peaks, but not much.  The mid-Winter Summer is over, the floods are over and the snow is about gone here.

Little River looked good this morning.  The water is clear but there is plenty of it.  Flow is currently 836 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 303 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:50 am was 44 degrees.

It is going to be a nice day, sunny and a high of 54 degrees.  You could go fishing in the Smokies but be careful.  The current is strong in the streams.  Don’t take any risks when wading.  Stay close to shore in shallow water.

I would do some “high sticking”.  Add plenty of weight to one or two nymphs.  Make short casts and drag your flies along the bottom of the streams.  The trout will not be in the strong current.  They will be holding deep in slower moving water.  I would not use a strike indicator.  They inhibit your ability to get your flies on the bottom in some cases.  Keep your line tight and if you feel a tick, set the hook with a short jerk up.  Don’t flip your flies out of the water and into the trees.

The water will warm up some today.  You might catch some trout.  Just be careful wading.

We had a busy day yesterday.  Mike Bone was tying flies and talking to lots of people who came here to see him.  It was foggy most of the morning and into the early afternoon.  When the sun popped out, a lot of people left.  It was nice outside and people wanted to get out there.  Our customers are outdoor people as you would expect. 

Walter Babb taught an intermediate fly tying class yesterday.  It’s always good to see Walter. 

Rob Fightmaster will be tying next Saturday at the Shop.  Rob lives in Maryville.  He is a guide who does most of his work in the Smokies.  He is also a very good technical fly fishing instructor with an enormous amount of patience and personality.  He will be tying between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.  His demonstration is free.  Just come on by and pull up a chair.  We will have one or two fly tyers here every Saturday through February for your enjoyment.  These demonstrations are very popular.

The lakes are high.  We had at least 7” of rain last week over most of East Tennessee.  Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) lowers most of the lakes during the Winter to create storage capacity for the Spring rains.  The large lakes on the Tennessee River are not lowered as much because barge traffic continues during the Winter. 

TVA is lowering the secondary lakes quickly right now.  This will affect anglers who fish the tailwaters.  I update the lake level chart on the left of this page every day, giving me an interesting perspective on what TVA is doing.  Lately, almost all the lake levels change maybe 1 foot, 2 feet or even more every day.  Some are going up and others are dropping depending on where they are located during a 24 hour period.  It is interesting looking at that data every day. 

Tomorrow night and Tuesday night are going to be cold, in the teens.  But the sun will be shining every day through Thursday.  There is no rain or snow in the forecast.  Water levels in the Smokies will be back to normal soon.  Spring will be here soon as well, maybe.  Last year the Spring hatches began in the Smokies in early February which is not far off.  But, last year was the warmest ever recorded in the United States.  Everything happened early last year.  I hope this year is normal.  We all like normal.

Danny, who recently opened Danny Kay’s Restaurant was in here late yesterday afternoon.  He opened his restaurant in November.  The eatery is located on the river, in the building we refer to as the old “Dead Beat Pete’s” restaurant.  Danny seems to be doing pretty well despite it being off-season.  He is doing what it takes to survive in the restaurant business and other businesses in Townsend, being there every day and night. 

We have some very good restaurants in Townsend and at Laurel Valley Resort.  Some are closed now for the Winter.  But others are open.  I remember the old days when you could not get a meal in Townsend during the Winter months.  Now you can.

Danny has spotted our two bald eagles several times.  He watched one swoop down to the river and grab a rainbow trout.  His customers get to see the eagles too.  He said one flew by at window level recently giving his customers a great show.  The restaurant has a great view of the river.  I hope he does well.  I think he will.  

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

Byron Begley
January 20, 2013

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