Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It was fairly warm when I came to work, 43 degrees.  The ground is drenched.  We have had 1.2 inch if rain at the shop in two days.  This has been a very wet winter though we have yet to have a significant snowfall.  That suits me just fine.  I noticed one of our neighbor’s cows had a calf.  Momma was licking the calf’s head this morning as I drove by. 

Little River is rolling pretty fast.  Flow is 717 cubic feet per second (cfs) right now.  Median flow for this date is 295 cfs.  The water temperature was 48 degrees at 8:10 am.  The river was muddy yesterday.  Pete drove up to check out the reason for that.  He called back and said the mud was entering the river below the Park line.  Carr’s Creek carried the most silt, as usual.  The rivers in the Park were up but clarity was good.  The streams were a little off color.

I heard a few good fishing reports yesterday.  One customer said he caught 10.  Another reported a large Blue Wing Olive hatch but didn’t see any trout rising to them.  I talked to another guy who said he caught several trout.  It makes sense.  The water temperature probably exceeded 50 degrees yesterday.  At that temperature, trout become active and feed.  That trend will continue all week.  We should have some very good fishing this week, very good for January that is.  It won’t be like Spring. 

Nymphs are working best.  Get them down to the bottom.  Use Prince Nymphs, Tellico, Copper John or Pheasant Tail nymphs and you should do fine.  Try a small dark mayfly to imitate the Blue Wing Olive.  You might be surprised. 

Wading is going to be limited.  Get out too far and you could get into trouble in some areas.  I would just stay close to the bank and do some high sticking, making short casts with heavily weighted flies. 

Walter Babb told this story yesterday.  One of the most famous fly fishing writers in America was fishing with Walter one day a couple of years ago.  He watched Walter catch 6 trout in one run.  He asked Walter, “Where did you learn to Czech nymph?”  Walter said he learned how to fish this way from his Father during the Eisenhower administration.  But Walter didn’t know he was Czech Nymphing.  We call it “High Sticking” here.  Walter’s father learned to “Czech Nymph” or “High Stick” from Walter’s grandfather.  That is the way people fish here in the Southern Appalachians. 

They didn’t have strike indicators back then.  I never saw or used a strike indicator until about 1980 or maybe later.  I remember that day when Frank and I were fishing with Gary Taylor on the Hiwassee River.  That was the first time I ever used a strike indicator.  Before that, you had to keep your leader and line tight and feel what’s going on under the water.  When you get a strike, you feel it, you don’t see it.

Maybe some of our rod companies who are making specific rods for Czech Nymphing should call them High Stick’n rods and they would sell better in the Southern Apps.

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

Byron Begley
January 22, 2011 

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