Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee.  It appears Spring has arrived not to say we won’t see Winter again.  The temperature was 61 degrees at daybreak.  I read it on the internet then went outside to verify what I read.  It was indeed 61 degrees on our front porch.  I drove to work and spotted a large clump of daffodils in full bloom.  They were not there last night.  I could not have missed them.  That clump is always the first I see every Spring. 

Little River is low for this time of year but it looks great.  Flow is 179 cubic feet per second compared to median flow for this date of 347 cfs.  There is a pretty good chance for rain over the next few days so hopefully we’ll see more water rushing by soon.  The water temperature at the swinging bridge was 48 degrees at 8:30 am. 

Though we will experience some low temperatures in the 30’s for a couple of days, the warmth will continue for the next week.  Today the high is supposed to be 69 degrees.  The highs will be near 60 or above that for several days.  Get ready.  It may happen soon.

I saw some awesome pictures yesterday.  Joe and his wife went for a hike near Elkmont.  He spotted a brown, a big one.  He ran back to his truck to grab some tackle.  He hooked the trout and landed it.  It measured 26”.  It has a huge mouth.  Joe thinks he might have caught this fish last year when it was smaller.  He is going to compare the spots and features to his previous photo. 

Anthony came in yesterday and showed me a picture of a big brown he caught.  I was in the middle of something with a customer and had to leave him in my office.  When I returned, he was gone.  That fish looked to be over 20 inches too.

The water is warming and the Spring hatches may start soon.  Actually some Quill Gordons have been spotted but not in large numbers.  Only a few decades ago fishermen didn’t know much about the Quill Gordon hatch.  That is because they hatched before trout season opened in Tennessee.  Opening day was sometime in early April, I can’t remember the exact date.  I believe it was the 1st or 15th.  The Park opened the trout season to “year-round” about 30 years ago.  Abrams Creek remained closed to fishing until April and that changed in the early to mid 1980’s.  I remember thinking and talking about that often with my buddies but I don’t remember the year.     

These large gray mayflies are important to our current folklore and fly fishing as the first to hatch in the Spring.  Other similar mayflies hatch at the same time but the Quill Gordon is large and trout gulp them down like candy.  We will see them in big numbers soon in the lower elevation streams and they will hatch further upstream as the water higher up warms. 

In a week, anglers will be showing up in Townsend to stay for a few days.  Unless the weather pattern changes that will happen.  The worst snowstorm we can remember around here happened in March.  Recently, a deep freeze occurred in April.  So, you never know for sure.  But all indications are at this point, fishing is going to get good soon.

Last night after work I rode my bicycle along Little River.  This time of year you can see and hear the river well as you drive by on a bicycle.  The river speaks of water beating on the rocks, churning below the boulders and bending branches of trees that have fallen in the water.  When a vehicle drives by the river is quiet.  After the vehicle passes, the river speaks again.  There were hardly any cars on the highway last night so I listened to the river during most of my ride.  I put 5 miles on the odometer.  I’ll probably do the same thing again tonight.


Park Service fisheries management is holding a public meeting in Townsend on Thursday March 3rd at 7:00 pm.  The meeting will be held at City Hall in the Old Townsend School Auditorium.  CLICK HERE FOR A PDF WITH MORE INFORMATION. 

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

Byron Begley
February 21, 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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