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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  There is no fog this morning.  The air is sparkling clear and the temperature is 24 degrees.  This is the first morning in many that I could see the mountains on my way to work.  What I saw kind of shocked me.  Several of the slopes, including those we can see from our house, still have snow on the ground.  I guess you can tell I don’t get out much.  We had this snowfall a week ago.  It is usually about daybreak when I come to work and almost dark when I go home.  And, it’s almost always foggy when I drive here in the mornings.  This is a beautiful day.

Little River looks good too.  Right now she is flowing at 416 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 289 cfs.  The water temperature is a very cold 38 degrees.

This cold water puts the trout down on the bottom.  They don’t need much food when conditions are like this.  They are in “Hunkered Down” mode.  Trout can be caught in the Smokies when the water is cold.  You won’t catch many and you will have to work for those you do catch.  Most anglers do something else or fish in a tailwaters when the water is cold here.  If you go, use nymphs and get them down.

The tailwater anglers do not have many options either right now.  TVA is doing it’s best to drain the lakes back down to Winter pool.  They do that to create storage capacity for the Spring rains.  Today you will encounter constant generation at Cherokee, Douglas, Fort Loudoun, Melton Hill, Norris, Watauga and other dams in the TVA collection. 

I found an article this morning about TVA trying to lower Fontana Lake and the numbers are staggering.  CLICK HERE to read the article on the KnoxNews website. They are sluicing 57,000 gallons of water per second and generating 71,000 gallons.  The power of that is almost incomprehensible.  The effect is a large wave of water that is freezing in the air and coating everything nearby with ice.

Fontana is a huge, deep lake, which I consider the headwaters of the Little Tennessee River, my favorite place to fly fish. From Fontana, the Little T runs through several small impoundments and ends up in Tellico Lake. I like the Little T because it is close, pretty and challenging to fish.  I get skunked often.  The challenge is caused by a lack of nutrients and water level fluctuations or so they say. 

We have a “Wintery Mix” coming and lasting through Friday.  Oh great!  Just what we need.  The weekend looks good for many activities, fishing probably not being one of them.  Hiking comes to mind.  Fly tying sounds good. 

But, Spring will be here before we know it!

I’ll be working on the Fly Store on our online store today.  This is a complete overhaul of several hundred pages.  It will go quicker than I think, or I hope so. 

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

Byron Begley
January 23, 2013


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