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Beautiful River in the Great Smoky Mountains

The Fishing Report 02/19/18 Great Smoky Mountains National Park and East Tennessee
Time of Readings 6:34 am Eastern Time Zone : CFS=Cubic Feet Per Second
Fishing Gauge Indicating Fishing is Between Slow and Good

Water Temperature Little River
Stream Flow
Rainfall 2018 YTD Knoxville Apt
Rainfall Normal YTD Knoxville Apt


50.9 Fahrenheit
2.93 Feet 624 CFS

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

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Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains. At 6:34 am, the temperature outside 50.5 degrees.

High temperatures in the 70’s are predicted today and every day this week. Low temperatures at night will fall only to the upper 50’s and low 60’s. We have a chance for more rain Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Little River is flowing at 624 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.93 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 323 cfs. The water temperature is 50.9 degrees.

We have the warm water we have been hoping for all Winter. There is no doubt, trout are active and feeding. Aquatic insects are active too. They are Quill Gordon, Blue Quill and maybe Blue Wing Olives.

The problem has been, high water. To be on the high side of good, the gauge reading should be 2.5 feet. Right now, Little River is a few inches higher than that at the gauge location, which is a wide shallow area in the river. Where the river is constricted to a narrower width, the water level is much higher than median flow, than it is at the gauge site.

So, wading can be difficult in many areas right now. A few inches makes a huge difference in your ability to wade and stay upright.

I know many of you are not working today. If you go fishing in the Smoky Mountains, you may need to fish from near the bank, and “high stick” and roll cast. You may be able to wade in some areas.

I would fish nymphs weighted and deep or swing wet flies. Try a Quill Gordon wet fly. And, you might try fishing with dry flies. Again, I would use a Quill Gordon.

Water temperature drives trout and aquatic insect activity. We’ve got the water temperature we want and it is going to get even better as the week progresses. I am hoping the predicted rain does not amount to much. If it does, the streams may be higher later this week. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

I don’t know how many times, I have fished in big rivers, where I could not wade much. I’m thinking now about the Madison River, inside and outside Yellowstone National Park. There, and in other larger rivers, I have caught many nice trout, without wading far from the bank. So, right now, do what you would do on those big rivers. You might even consider using strike indicators.

Just flick your rig upstream, mend your line, and get a good drift. Roll cast. Some of my friends prefer to fish in the Park when the water is this high. You can learn to do it, if you don’t already know how. Just be careful not to fall into the fast current.

We do not always have perfect flows. We have high water often in the early Spring, like we do now. Many of you know exactly what to do under these conditions. Others can learn by going fishing when conditions are like they are.

The drought situation has improved in many areas in the east. You can see last week’s US Drought Monitor by CLICKING HERE. Since then, we have had more rain in the Southeast US. The new version of the Drought Monitor will be released Thursday morning. I know we will see significant improvement, at least in the South. Things look pretty bad to our west. Now, the Smoky Mountains are not indicated as being “abnormally dry”, like it was the week before.

We’ve had plenty of rain here and we are all glad about that! I was starting to worry.

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

Byron Begley
February 19, 2018

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USGS Stream Gauges


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Lake Information and Tailwater Generation Schedules


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