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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is overcast and 50 degrees in Townsend this morning.  It looks like winter, but it doesn’t feel like winter.  Howling winds whipped through the valley and in the mountains last night.  Woody debris is scattered on the streets. 

The streams in the Smokies are brimming with water.  Little River is flowing at 849 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 3.14 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 350 cfs.  At 8:00 am the water temperature was 47 degrees and the water is clear.

Hmmm, 47 degrees.  That’s pretty warm.  You could find a small, low gradient stream to fish today.  There might be some aquatic insect and trout activity to make it worth you while.  By all means, be careful wading.  The water is swift in most places you normally fish.

I would fish nymphs.  Be on the lookout for a hatch, maybe blue wing olives.  One good place to fish would be Anthony Creek or maybe Abrams Creek above the confluence with Mill Creek.  I bet something will be happening today. 

Most roads in the Park are open according to the Smokies Twitter page.  I’m surprised.  One had to expect some downed trees on the roads after the night of gusty winds we had last night.  Maybe the rangers will find trees across roads later. 

The weather reports have taken snow out of the forecast for the weekend as of now.  It is going to be cold at night.  The low tonight will be in the mid 20’s.  It will be about the same tomorrow night.  Saturday looks good right now. 

Josh Pfeiffer said he is doing well fishing the Holston River for trout.  He also showed me a new fly yesterday.  It is a new articulated minnow, nothing like I have ever seen that is made for a fly rod.  He sparked my interest.  I’ve got some new ideas.  Josh is a fly tying innovator.  We share the same smallmouth bass on a fly passion. 

In a meeting yesterday with a local guy from our bank, I found out he is a fly fisherman.  But, he also uses spinning and bait fishing tackle for bass.  He fishes the same river I do, the Little Tennessee.  He has caught them up to 7 ½ pounds.  My largest so far weighed 5 pounds. 

He has state of the art sonar.  He said he once spotted three smallmouth bass in 35 feet of water.  He ran a lure by them.  The smallest bass took the bait but it wasn’t small.  I guess he could see the whole thing play out on a monitor.

Somehow that would take the fun out of it for me.  Well, maybe not, I haven’t tried it.  He saw three big smallmouth bass.  I like to think there are 10 huge smallmouth bass looking at my fly.  I could probably never get a fly exactly 35 feet down to a fish I knew was there.  I do have a small, inexpensive, low tech depth and fish finder on our boat.  And, I do see fish swimming under the boat.  Sometimes I watch those images on the screen and forget to fish.  Most of the time, I’m blind casting in shallow water and have no idea what is there.  I think the technology exists, that allows you to scan to the side where you are casting a fly.  One of those will probably never be bought and installed on our boat.  They cost too much and I would hate to be casting to an area where I knew there was nothing. 

Mike Adams will be tying at the shop Saturday between 10 am and 2 pm.  It’s free.  All you have to do is show up.  Mike is a seasoned guide who works on the tailwaters and streams of upper East Tennessee.  His favorite rivers are the South Holston and Watauga.  Just come on by and pull up a chair.  Mike will be tying and talking.  He will answer your questions.  It will be a good day at LRO.

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

Byron Begley
February 5, 2014 

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