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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  I’m off today and at home. It is 25 degrees at 7:34 am. 

I drove by Little River last night on my way home.  She looks great.  Flow right now is 247 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 342 cfs.  The water temperature is 39 degrees this morning.

We are expecting warmer temperatures after tonight.  Lows will be in the mid 30’s to the low 40’s through Sunday.  Highs will be in the 50’s to 60  degrees through the weekend.  Rain will move in tomorrow night and last through Friday with a slight chance for rain on Saturday.

This weekend is going to be nice, I think.  Fishing in the Smoky Mountains will certainly improve by then.  I don’t know exactly what to expect fishing wise.  Nymphs may be your best option until Saturday. Then, based on what we’ve experienced lately, there could very well be some hatches and dry fly action for the weekend.  Be ready for the possibility of Blue Wing Olives, Tiny Black Stoneflies, Quill Gordons and Blue Quills on the water.

If the forecast holds true, the rain will occur during warm temperature conditions on Friday.  That should increase the water temperature.  If that happens, you should see some trout and aquatic insect activity. Please don’t drive long distances to be here based on what I just said.  It may not happen.  It is still February.  We’re getting close to some great fishing.  But, that probably won’t start this weekend.  Fishing will just be better.

I am hoping and many of you are, that the generation schedules on our tailwaters will be curtailed this weekend.  There is no way of knowing at this point.  I am looking at the Operating Guide for Cherokee Lake.  That impoundment is getting closer to what TVA calls the Expected Elevation Range and last year’s level of 1,045 feet.  Right now, Cherokee is at 1,048 feet elevation and dropping.

Douglas has a long way to go to reach Expected Elevation Range.  That number is around 950 feet elevation.  Right now, Douglas is at 965 feet.

Norris is within the Expected Elevation Range for this time of year and almost exactly at the level it was at last year on this date.  Right now, the lake level at Norris is 1,000 feet elevation.  The lake level has dropped over 10 feet since the middle of January.  If there is one lake in our area that might see reduced discharge, it would be Norris.  That would make a lot of anglers happy right now.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed.  Please don’t take my comments as a valid prediction.  Only TVA knows for sure.

Here is how TVA defines Expected Elevation Range:

“Expected elevation range
The shaded area represents the reservoir’s expected elevation throughout the year. Based on computer simulations using more than 100 years of historical rainfall and runoff data, the reservoir’s elevation is expected to be in the shaded area an average of eight out of every 10 years on any given date. For this reason, it is also referred to as the 80 percent probability bound.”  You can see the Norris Lake chart and description by CLICKING HERE.

We’ve got a lot going on Saturday.  First, Walter Babb and Brian Courtney are teaching an Advanced Trout Fly Tying Class.  You can read about this class by CLICKING HERE.  We have 7 students enrolled so there is room for one more.  If you would like to sign up, call the shop at 877-448-3474.

Next, Ray Ball and Clayton Gist will be demonstrating fly tying between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm on Saturday.  These demonstrations are free.  Just show up.  Ray has fished the Smokies all his life and he is an excellent angler and fly tyer.  He is also very entertaining.  Ray knows the old style Smokies angling techniques and tying techniques.  He has also adapted his own methods over the years.  He is known as one of the best Smokies anglers.

Clayton is a tailwater specialist.  I can tell you this, from what he buys in the shop, his flies are small.  He makes several trips each year to the San Juan River to fish.  He knows his stuff.  You will learn a lot from Clayton.  Clayton is also a very active participant in the Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  This Chapter has done and continues to do great things for the trout angling community.  Every time I visit their website, I am amazed.

We posted our Beginner Fly Fishing schedule on this site yesterday.  These classes are taught by Paula, Walter Babb, Rob Fightmaster and Josh Pheiffer beginning in March.  We have two weekend schools scheduled each month through October.  We do not teach classes in August.  CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SCHEDULE.

Bill Hey is starting on re-modeling our fly department today.  That department is getting a complete overhaul.  We will be adding new tailwater trout flies.  Our expansion is required for that.  I am adding new patterns to our online store every day too.  Lately I’ve been working on bass and trout flies.  I looked at one bass fly order from Rainy’s, one of our fly suppliers, yesterday.  It had over 300 Stealth Bombers on it.  They will not arrive all at once.  Stealth Bombers are selling very well online right now.  You can CLICK HERE to read more about this great bass pattern designed by my friend, Kent Edmonds.

I know it might be early to be thinking about bass flies.  Most of these are probably going to the Southern states.  But, one of our customers is catching a few largemouth bass right now on Tellico Lake using shallow water flies.  I’m not sure how he is doing it or I would be there right now.

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

Byron Begley
February 20, 2013    

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