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 29 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I saw quite a few cars on my way to work.  Local person activity in town is pretty high.

Little River is flowing at 693 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.89 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 342 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:55 am is 40.2 degrees.

There is not much fishing news to report on in the Smokies.  Hardly anyone is fishing.  The water is high and the water is cool.  I’m sure you could catch a trout or two if you went.  I just don’t see anyone going.

That will change soon, hopefully.  We need warmer water.  I am looking at the 10 day forecast right now.  It looks like more of the same, highs in the 40’s and lows in the 20’s.  We need highs in the 60’s and lows in the 40’s.  Then, things will be happening on the mountain streams.  Maybe it will be week after next.  It was last year.  Year before last, fishing was good during the second week of February.  Water temperature is the key.  The early Spring hatches often begin in February.  Sometimes the activity is sporadic and light.  In other years it is awesome. 

Fishing has been very good on the tailwaters.  Trout are taking midge patterns on both the Clinch and Holston.  Anglers enjoyed last weekend.  The generators were off during fishing hours.  People were catching nice rainbows and browns.  I guess they were catching brook trout on the Clinch but I didn’t hear anything about it.

Some of the Townsend folks I’ve talked to are catching nice walleye pike on the lakes.  They are not using fly rods.  Walleye fishing is a popular sport with Townsend fishermen.  They get out there in the worst weather, in their boats and have a great time.  I think they are using jigs.

A lot of the local guys fish for crappie during the winter.  Some of our customers come here to buy materials to make crappie jigs.  I like to talk to them.  It takes me back in time when I fished for crappie on the lakes in Kentucky, where I grew up.  Kentucky Lake was the hot spot back then.  There, we could count on catching 2 pounders, not many, but a few.  Lake Cumberland was closer to home and we fished there often.  We never caught the big fish like we did on Kentucky Lake, but we caught plenty of them.

When I started fishing with a fly rod exclusively, my crappie catching fell off drastically.  When the willow flies are hatching on the lakes, you could probably catch plenty on a fly rod.

It’s time for me to get our saltwater flies and tackle ready for Spring.  I’m tying Game Changer flies on saltwater hooks to mimic mullet and pinfish.  My buddy Frank is doing the same thing.  The Game Changer makes a perfect finger mullet.  Tying them to look like  pinfish requires a different setup. You have to leave out the longest shank. 

Customers are buying lots of materials to tie Quill Gordons right now.  Hopefully those flies will be in use soon.  I’m looking forward to that.  We are all looking forward to Spring this year, more than ever.

Plan on being here Saturday for our Free Fly Tying Demonstration featuring guide Mike Adams.  Mike is an interesting person to talk to.  He guides on the South Holston and Watauga rivers.  He has his own patterns that have proved to work well.  He will begin tying and talking to you at 10 am and will continue until 2 pm.  It’s free, just show up.

We still have openings in our beginner fly tying class on Saturday February 22nd.  CLICK HERE to read more about it.  Call the shop at 865-448-9459 to enroll.  The cost is $85 and we furnish everything, including lunch.  The class will be taught by Walter Babb and Brian Courtney.

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

Byron Begley
February 6, 2014

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