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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny and 28 degrees in Townsend this morning.  The warming trend has begun.  We’ll see lows in the high 30’s and 40’s with high temperatures in the 50’s for several days.  We’ll probably get some rain tonight and tomorrow.  The weekend looks pretty good with highs near 60 and a slight chance for rain on Saturday.  I’m telling you this in the first paragraph because it is important to us anglers.

Little River is flowing at 227 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 344 cfs.  The water temperature is 37.5 degrees at 7:48 am.

OK, the water is cold right now in the Smokies.  Trout and aquatic insects are sluggish.  That is going to change somewhat over the next few days.  Aquatic activity will increase.

If you go fishing today, start with nymphs fished deep.  The water is going to warm some later today.  You might see some Blue Wing Olives or Tiny Black Stoneflies on the water.  Be ready just in case.  The chance for adult insects appearing on the water will increase as we get closer to the weekend.  You may see some Quill Gordons or Blue Quills.  We’ve seen them already this year on warmer days.  So, be ready for that.

I don’t expect the fishing to be great this weekend in the Smoky Mountains.  I know it will be better unless the weather forecast changes or the rivers get blown out by heavy rain.  I don’t think the rain will be heavy tonight from what I’ve read.

We should also see improvement in the lowland rivers such as Little River, Little Pigeon, Abrams Creek and others.  If the water temperature gets to 50 degrees and warmer, smallmouth bass will be more active, not biting like crazy, just more likely to feed.

Tennessee Valley Authority has slowed down the discharge at Norris Dam to about 8,500 cfs from over 14,000 cfs.  The lake level has been drawn down to what they call their flood guide and the level is within their expected elevation range.  It is possible that we will see some lower water in the Clinch River soon below Norris Dam.  I’m hoping that happens this weekend.  Cherokee Reservoir is nearing the same condition.  Both dams are expected to be generating today.

Basically, we are getting closer to better fishing in East Tennessee, at least close to Townsend and Knoxville. 

On Saturday, you should stop by the store for a while.  Ray Ball and Clayton Gist will be tying flies and discussing fly fishing.  This event is free.  Just come on by.  They will be here for your benefit between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.  This will be our last Free Fly Tying Demonstration for the Winter.  We are working on some other events to be held this year.

We are also holding an Advanced Fly Tying Class on Saturday.  It may be full but on Tuesday we had one opening.  I was off yesterday and don’t know if that spot was filled.  You can call the shop today and find out.

Angler’s Spring will arrive in the Smokies soon.  Last year, at this time we were in the thick of it.  The temperature is trending up finally.  The water temperature needs to reach and sustain 50 degrees.  Then, it will happen.  We are about ready here.  Much of our new gear should arrive in a week.  Then, shipments will keep coming through June.  They were scheduled last Fall.  The store will be re-stocked and ready to go in a few days.  Timing should be perfect this year.  Last year caught us by surprise. 

I tied a bunch of Byron’s Knuckleheads yesterday and cut a huge stack of foam strips, the main component of these flies.  My goal is to tie and sell 1,000 this year.  We are selling them online now.

I also plan to tie a Wooly Bugger specifically designed for bass to be sold here.  It will be black, weighted and tied on a Gamakatsu stinger bass hook.  I will be ordering materials this week to begin that project. 

I did order some weighted Wooly Buggers from Rainy’s but they are not tied on the bass hooks.  Weighted Wooly Buggers are hard to find.  Pinching on split shot above the fly is just not the same.  A bugger that is weighted with wire in the center of the hook shank tends to be retrieved straighter, not jigging up and down due to the split shot weight on the tippet.  We have no scientific evidence that a weighted bugger is better.  Me and my friends just agree that it is better, especially for smallmouth bass.  We also think a stinger hook increases hook-ups.

Pinching on split shot also weakens your tippet.  That’s OK unless you are trying to catch a trophy fish.  To me, a trophy smallmouth would be 6 pounds.  I use 8 pound tippet exclusively when I’m smallmouth bass fishing.  You can slide a bead or cone head onto your tippet for weight without weakening your tippet.  I just don’t like that action either.  So, we will be selling weighted Wooly Buggers. 

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

Byron Begley
February 21, 2013

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