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

Welcome to the Fishing Report. No pretty blue sky this morning. Atleast it isn't cold and I didn't have to scrape frozen dew from the truck windows. I keep looking for the eagle as I drive through Townsend. Thankfully traffic is light in the mornings. I still haven't caught a glimpse yet.

Water levels are actually below "normal". We haven't been able to say that is quite some time. The streams flows are excellent. The Little River gauge is giving a reading of 2.33 feet or 307 c.f.s. The median flow for this date is 337 c.f.s. Water clarity is good also. Water temperatures are up a little also. This morning it is was 43.2 F. Still cool but getting better.

The weather forecast is calling for a chance of rain today and tonight and possibly tomorrow. The weekend should be gorgeous. Unless water temperatures crash tonight of we get enough rain to blow the rivers out, I'd clear the schedule for some fishing. I definitely won't be off the charts Spring-time fishing, but you can't squander the pretty days this time of year.

A few more anglers have been stopping by the Shop than we had been seeing. Spring is appearing on the horizon and folks are getting itchy to go. Bill Bolinger went up to the West Prong yesterday and caught a rainbow. He said fishing was slow. He and I both figured it should have been much better.

It won't be long now. Even if the weather follows a traditional time-frame it is just about 3 weeks before we should start seeing the first Spring hatches. The first major one that most anglers wait for is the Quill Gordons. Size 10 and 12 mayflies, flopping about on the water trying to get away in the cool Spring air. Once the trout remember that food is sometimes above the water line then the feeding frenzy begins. Quill Gordons are one of those mayflies which hatch under the water and swim to the surface. This means that during a Quill Gordon hatch much of the feeding can be happening below the water's surface. A traditional Quill Gordon wet fly pattern can be extra effective in this situation.
Blue Quills hatch at the same time as the Quill Gordons. The Blue Quills are small though in the #16 - #20 range. I have a hard time seeing these little flies in the Smokies streams. When flies get small I usually go with a parachute to give myself some chance of keeping track of where my fly is.

Once the first hatches begin they won't be able to stop no matter what happens with the weather.

John Thurman and Tim Doyle are going to be here on Saturday for another Free Fly Tying Demo. They will be tying from 10 am till 2 pm. Stop by and check them out.

Thank you for reading the fishing report and thank you for being here with us.

Daniel Drake
February 7, 2013

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