Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is cloudy and 39 degrees this morning in Townsend.  Traffic is light but it is early.  We will probably see plenty of visitors here for Valentines day.  Our county Visitors Bureau has been running commercials in our area to attract people for this weekend.  The cabin rental business should be good in the Smoky Mountains for a couple of days.

Little River is flowing well and near normal.  Flow is currently 335 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 300 cfs.  The water temperature was 44 degrees in town at 7:55 am.  The water is clear.

It is going to get cold.  Nightime lows will be in the high 20’s for a few days then around 19 degrees on Saturday.  The water temperature has been dropping.  One day last week I checked it in the morning and it was 51 degrees.  The water temperature will drop further.

This will slow the fishing.  Trout respond to cold water by eating less.  They still feed and you can catch them when the water temperature is 40 degrees.  You do have to adjust your tactics.  Fish nymphs deep.  Pinch on some split shot and get those flies near the bottom.  Make sure your line is not dragging the nymphs too fast.  Water flows faster at the surface.  The friction of water moving over the bottom slows it down beneath the surface.  So, the best way to keep your fly on the bottom moving slower than the surface is to keep your line off the water.  Do some “High Sticking”.  Strike indicators slow the speed of your nymphs below.  Try fishing without one. 

A lot of anglers are using longer rods these days for that specific purpose, to fish nymphs deep.  The longer rods offer better control at a further distance by keeping the line off the water.

Watch for hatches.  The Spring hatches began a week ago.  Though the water will chill, the bugs may still be hatching.  You may not see a lot of surface action from the trout but you never know.  Keep an eye out for Blue Wing Olives too.  They like cold temperatures.  Quill Gordons, Blue Quills and Brown Stones were hatching a week ago and that is unusual.  We think about them hatching in early March or sometimes late February.  Not this year.  This has been a warm one.

I know some people who are planning to be here this weekend to fish.  Others are in town now after reading and hearing about the good fishing.  It is not going to be like you heard this coming weekend.  It is going to be cold too.  The high Saturday is supposed to be 42 degrees.  Sunday, the high may be in the 30’s.

We will have some excellent fishermen and fly tyers demonstrating for you on Saturday between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.  They are Mike Bone and Gary McCown.  Mike is a guide specializing in drift boat fishing on the tailwaters and the upper sections of larger rivers.  He has been a trout guide by reputation but he is also an excellent smallmouth bass guide.  Gary is a dentist who has been an avid fly angler for a long time.  He will be tying warmwater flies.

I need to go.  David Ezell will be back this morning.  We are working on the Troutfest website again.

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

Byron Begley
February 8, 2012

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