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Townsend, Tennessee 37882
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Beautiful River in the Great Smoky Mountains

The Fishing Report 02/20/18 Great Smoky Mountains National Park and East Tennessee
Time of Readings 6:35 am Eastern Time Zone : CFS=Cubic Feet Per Second
Fishing Gauge Indicating Fishing is Good

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


52.9 Fahrenheit
2.73 Feet 502 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 6:35 am, the temperature outside 65.8 degrees. Can you believe that? It’s true.

This week will set many temperature records. The high temperatures every day through Saturday will be in the 70’s. Lows will dip only to the upper 50’s to the low 60’s. We have a chance for rain Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Little River is flowing at 502 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.73 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 335 cfs. The water temperature is a warm 52.9 degrees this morning in the low elevations. That number may rise 2 or 3 degrees later today, like it did yesterday.

OK, the water is high. You may need to pick your spots to wade. Don’t try to wade across fast current. Find streams that are more angler friendly. If you have to, fish close to the bank. You may not be able to fish like you normally would, when the flows are lower. But, you can fish.

The streams are receding slowly. We have had a lot of rain. The ground is saturated. Water is seeping into the streams at a high rate.

The stream temperatures are incredible. Trout are active. They are feeding. They think it is Spring. We may see water temperatures reach 58 degrees this week in some lower elevation streams. If that happens, you will be fishing at the optimum temperature range for trout. I think it will happen.

How about the aquatic insects? I have been working every day from home since Saturday. I have not talked to any fly fishermen or anyone at the shop. I do know this for sure. When the water temperature reaches 50 degrees, and that number is sustained, the bugs become active in the early Spring. We see hatches of Quill Gordons, Blue Quills and Blue Wing Olives, among other early Spring insects. They have to be active now.

Go prepared with dry flies and wet flies. Try both. I would use a Quill Gordon pattern for both, unless I saw a hatch of Blue Quills or Blue Wing Olives.

If you love nymphing, this is a good time to be doing that too. Heck, you might do well for large fish stripping, swinging or dead drifting streamers.

When early Spring arrives, it sometimes takes a few days for the trout to start “looking up”. There may be a huge meal, floating down the river, on the surface, and there are no trout feeding on them.

Trout don’t think, they react. Then they become accustomed to the present food source. Like all wildlife, that can take a little time. I believe they have had enough time to start feeding on the surface. If you are fishing this week, and not catching trout, you are likely not presenting your fly where the fish are. Maybe they are deeper, feeding on nymphs. Right now, the trout are feeding somewhere. You job is to find out where.

Is Spring here to stay? Is Winter done?

The long term forecast indicates, there will be normal colder temperatures in our future. Next week will be cooler, with highs in the 50’s and 60’s. Low temps at night will drop to the 30’s and 40’s.

Let’s enjoy the Spring-like conditions we have now. Maybe the early March forecast will change for the better.

I was working here at home Sunday. I looked out one of the windows in my office and saw over 30 wild turkeys, in the forest, 20 to 40 feet away. In the flock, there was one gobbler. The rest were hens and young jakes.

That is not unusual. I see them out there at least once a day. What caught my eye was the gobbler. He was fanned out, strutting, and trying to entice hens to mate. He thinks Spring is here. He was fooled. He will have to wait a few weeks.

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

Byron Begley
February 20, 2018

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