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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is overcast and 39 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Once again, I saw more wild turkeys on my drive to work than I saw people.  These birds are taking over. 

Little River is flowing at 570 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.68 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 330 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:55 am is 46.5 degrees.

Our store was busy all weekend but I didn’t talk to one fisherman who was returning from fishing.  We saw a few going out.  We sold some fishing licenses.  But none reported back.

The water has been very high since Friday.  Fly fishing was possible but wading was nearly impossible until yesterday and even then, it would be tough in some places.  That didn’t keep fishermen from preparing for the eventual coming of spring.

We will have to wait a few days.  A cold front is moving into the area.  We’ll see lows in the teens Wednesday night.  The high will be around 36 degrees.  We may get some snow.  It will be warmer by the weekend.

If you go fishing today, start with nymphs and add some extra weight.  The current in most streams will be swift.  You may see some spring hatches.  Blue Wing Olives, black stones, Blue Quills, caddis and even Quill Gordons may be on the water. I would not expect much activity on top.  These bugs were active last week before the deluge. 

The 10-day weather forecast through March 5th looks fair but not conditions that would kick start exceptional fly fishing in the Smokies.  Highs will be in the 50’s after we get through this cold snap.  Highs in the 70’s and lows in the 40’s would get everything going.  That probably won’t happen for at least 10 days. 

I do plan to get our boat to the dealer this week to have water pump impellers replaced as a precaution.  We’ll run the motor and make sure everything is ready when the weather breaks.  I changed the oil, plugs, lower unit lube and fuel filter last Fall.

At least that will make me feel ready.

I’m also going to tie a bunch of saltwater flies over the next few weeks.  We’ll be fishing in Florida this Spring and I can’t wait.  It’s been a while.  Paula and I have two Florida trips planned this year.  We’ll take the kayaks. 

I like fishing the shallow saltwater and a kayak is a great way to get where you are going.  Fly fishing out of those low boats is not easy.  I don’t like standing up in ours.  Most of our favorite fly fishing destinations are inhabited by large bull sharks.  I’ve seen them up to 8 feet long.  I know, you should not be afraid. 

You are probably more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a shark.

The difference is, I don’t stand outside in the open during a thunderstorm unless I have to.  I do stand in water where sharks are swimming around by choice.  I think that might lean the odds closer to a shark attack in my case.  I’m not going to worry about it. 

I’ve been reading a lot about blue crab trapping and we plan to do that this year.  I think that would be a lot of fun.  The house we rented has a private dock on the bay.  I’m pretty sure I can figure out how to catch crabs right off the dock.  And, we can place traps in the bay, then check them using our kayaks.  I wonder what it would be like to drop a large blue crab in your lap while sitting in your kayak.  That’s something to think about.

There are lots of videos on YouTube showing you exactly how to clean  the meat out of a blue crab.  The methods differ but he end results are the same, I hope.  This will be a new experience that we are looking forward to.

Like you, I’m dreaming about warmer weather and time on the water.  That is about all I’m pondering right now. 

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

Byron Begley
February 24, 2014

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