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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is overcast, raining lightly and 42 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I saw something I have never seen on my way to work.  It was an automobile accident in Townsend.  Frank, one of our policemen was on the scene with his emergency lights flashing.  Several people had stopped.  I hope everyone is OK.  We have automobile accidents here of course.  I saw one near our house one day a few years ago.  But, I’ve never seen one in town.

Little River is flowing a little higher and stronger than yesterday.  Flow is currently 280 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 332 cfs.  The water temperature was 40.8 degrees at 7:50 am.

Yesterday was beautiful in the Great Smoky Mountains.  Quite a few anglers came through the shop going fishing.  I don’t know how well any of them did.  I bet they had an enjoyable day.  The water temperature was cold and it still is.  The temperature is rising though.  I took a bicycle ride yesterday after work wearing a long sleeve shirt and no jacket or vest.  It felt good out there.

We are in for a couple of cold nights, down to 24 degrees tonight and tomorrow night.  Then, a warm front will move into our area along with some rain.  We are going to have plenty of rain over the next few days, but the temperature is going to rise.  Customers were talking about it yesterday.  Is Spring fishing just days away? We won’t see huge hatches and trout gulping down everything they can over the next 10 days unless the forecast changes.  We will see an improvement.  Those Quill Gordons are just dying to emerge and mate.  A few have already.  It won’t take much to get them going.

If you go today be ready with nymphs and possibly some Blue Wing Olive or small Black Stonefly dry flies.  Don’t expect too much.  Watch out for the wind.  It looks like the rain is about to move on until Friday.  This weekend will offer better fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

I talked to Kent Edmonds yesterday.  He is my friend who invented the Sealth Bomber bass fly.  Kent lives in Georgia.  We are figuring out how to get the word out about this fly.  It is an amazing bass fly.  We are selling them online now.  Daniel said we sold some yesterday.  I’m ordering more today from Rainys.  You can see them on our online store by CLICKING HERE

I heard that the Corps of Engineers (COE) was close to being finished with the repairs at Wolf Creek Dam in Kentucky. In 2007, COE decided to lower Lake Cumberland (by 40 feet I think), which is impounded by the dam on the Cumberland River.  The dam was considered to be unsafe and a huge repair process began almost immediately.  The repair was expected to be complete in 2014.

To keep the lake lower, long periods of generation and sluicing kept the tailwater churning lots of water.  Anglers have said that the trout fishing there has declined and opportunities to fish there were minimal. 

Now, a year early, COE has decided they repairs are far enough along to raise the lake and cut back the flows.  I noticed today that there have been periods of no water releases over the past few hours.  Discharges have been running between 20 cfs and 6,800 cfs since last night.  That number used to be over 14,000 cfs during those years.  This is great news for boaters and anglers.  This is also great news for the tourism industry on the lake, which has seen some tough times lately.  You can read an article about this by CLICKING HERE.

I also heard that the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife is planning a huge stocking program in the tailwater.  That river was one heck of a trout fishery.  I hooked the largest trout in my life there a few years ago.  The fish was as long as my leg, we saw it close up and of course, I was using 6X tippet.  Goodbye trout of a lifetime.

I laughed when the huge brown broke off.  My guide couldn’t believe I was taking it so well.  He was upset.  There was no way I could have landed that fish.  I fooled him and we had the opportunity to see him.  It was great.  It was a wonderful day.  I will never forget that day.

Soon, we will probably see the Cumberland River, below Wolf Creek Dam, return to be one of the best trout fisheries in the East.  I can’t wait.  A lot of people can’t wait.  I bet it will rebound quickly, this year.  From now on I’m going to use 2X tippet and big ugly streamers on a 7 weight.

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

Byron Begley
February 19, 2013

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