Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee.  Light snow blankets the mountains that I can see from everywhere in our house except the bath rooms and my office.  The view is nice and until the trees grow new leaves in the Spring, the view will persist.  Traffic a little heavier in town than on a normal Wednesday in February.  Maybe people are getting out and running errands before the snow comes tonight.  We are expecting 1” to 3” in the valley. 

I bet I’ll be spreading Ice Melt on the “ramp of death” tomorrow morning.  The 45 degree ramp connects our private road to Old Cades Cove Road.  When that thing gets slick you don’t know if you will end up at the bottom sideways, backwards or you might overshoot the road all together.  That is one of the things you have to deal with living in the Smoky Mountains.  I keep 80 pounds of ice melt in my truck.

The water was cold this morning at the swinging bridge, 37 degrees.  It will be colder tomorrow and even colder on Friday morning.  The flow is exactly normal.  Today the flow is 280 cubic feet per second.  Median for this date is 280 cubic feet per second.  That’s about as close to normal as you can get. 

I would expect fishing to be slow in the Park.  Rain and snow will be falling and that does actually make the fishing better.  But the trout will be sluggish.  If the water temp is 37 degrees in the valley, it is colder than that in the Park.  One exception is Abrams Creek around the Falls Trailhead.  Springs feed the river there so the water is warmer than the other freestone streams.  Those fish are tough to catch above the confluence with Mill Creek.  The water moves slow and it is usually very clear.  I’ve seen anglers crawling along the river bank there.  I’ve even done it myself.  But my crawling days are pretty much over.  If I have to crawl on the ground to catch a trout, I’ll just call that fish the winner.

If you have never fished Abrams Creek and the tributaries through the middle of Cades Cove you should try that in the Spring.  It is tough fishing and you might not catch anything.  But you will find out what if feels like to be a whitetail deer watching those cars drive around the loop road.  You won’t run into any anglers there either.

Until a few years ago cattle grazed in those meadows in the Cove.  The Park Service allowed the last man to leave, to raise cattle there until he died.  The herd was large.  And if I fished or hiked through the Cove which is something I liked to do at the time, there were always black angus cattle grazing around me.  One day I was walking along one of the creeks in the cove and I spotted a cow off to my left.  I didn’t think much about it until I heard a grunt from the animal.  It was not your usual cow or bull grunt, this one was different.  I turned to look back and there about 50 feet away was what I thought was a cow at first but turned out to be a sow bear standing on her back legs. 

She was mad.  And, she had two cubs with her.  I had walked right up to her and didn’t know what I had done.  Lucky for me she pounded the ground with her front paws and grunted several times.  That was the signal for the cubs to take off and they did.  She looked back to see if they were running and they were.  I was still frozen in place.  All of a sudden she turned and ran behind her cubs.  I waited until she was out of sight then kept walking down the creek watching for trout.  But, from that day on, when I saw a cow, I made dang sure it was a cow before I approached closer.  That’s a good lesson to learn if you like to mill around in the Great Smoky Mountains.

The cows are gone.  I guess someday they will be replaced by elk.  But the deer, bear and wild boar are still there.

Brian Courtney will be tying at the shop on Saturday between 10:00 and 2:00.  It’s free, just show up.  Brian and Walter teach our fly tying classes and they have worked together for years in the school.  He is an excellent tyer and trout fisherman. 

2011 Tennessee Trout Unlimited Summer Camp

Tennessee TU is sponsoring a week-long summer aquatic biology and trout fishing camp at Great Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont. The camp will be held Monday, June 20 - Saturday, June 25 and is for middle school-age boys and girls. Cost of the camp is $465. Go to TU Clinch River Chapter website, for more information and an application.  Applications are due March 1st.  This is an opportunity of a lifetime for young people.

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

Byron Begley
February 9, 2011

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Our fly tying classes will be offered in January and February 2011.   To sign up just call the shop at 877-448-3474.  You can read more on our website in the Schools Section.  The fly tying class schedule follows:

Saturday January 8 – Beginner Fly Tying
Saturday January 15 – Intermediate Fly Tying
Saturday January 22 – Advanced Fly Tying
Saturday February 5 – Beginner Fly Tying
Saturday February 19 – Intermediate Fly Tying
Saturday February 26 – Advanced Fly Tying


Our fly fishing classes will be offered from March to October 2011.   To sign up just call the shop at 877-448-3474.  You can read more on our website in the Schools Section.  The fly fishing class schedule follows:

Saturday March 26 – Beginner Day One
Saturday April 9 – Beginner Day One
Saturday April 30 – Beginner Day One
Sunday May 1 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday May 7 – Beginner Day One
Saturday May 21 – Beginner Day One
Sunday May 22 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday June 11 – Beginner Day One
Saturday June 25 – Beginner Day One
Sunday June 26 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday July 9 – Beginner Day One
Saturday July 23 – Beginner Day One
Sunday July 24 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday September 10 – Beginner Day One
Saturday September 24 – Beginner Day One
Sunday September 25 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday October 8 – Beginner Day One
Saturday October 22 – Beginner Day One
Sunday October 23 – Beginner Onstream Day Two

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