Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee.  It is chilly this morning, 32 degrees.  But, the sun is shining and we should reach 60 today ad 70 tomorrow.  Traffic was a little heavier than normal.  People are out and running around town.  There will be more visitors later. 

Little River is running just slightly above normal.  Today the flow is 335 cubic feet per second compared to median flow of 297 for this date.  There is plenty of water.  The river temperature dropped last night to 44 degrees at 8:30 in town.  I guess it got really cold in Great Smoky Mountains National Park where this river is born.  The water is clear and it looks great.

Fishing may be a little sluggish early today but it should pick up as the water warms.  Nymphs will probably work best early.  Later you might want to switch to a dry fly with a nymph or wet fly dropper.  I would pick a gray dry fly in one of several sizes.  Mine would probably be a #12.  Off of that I would start with a bead head pheasant tail dangling 16” from the dry.  If I started seeing some hatches and I would tie on a dark wet fly as the dropper.

We are going to get some rain starting Monday.  Maybe we will start making up the precipitation deficit we’ve got going on right now.

I got an e-mail from Bob Miller at the Park.  He is one of the top management people there.  He is also one of the smartest people I have come across anywhere.  We are friends and he contacts me about city issues since he knows I’m on the planning commission and I am almost always available.  A few weeks ago he wanted a copy of our helicopter ordinances.  In case you are wondering, private helicopters are not allowed in Townsend.  Emergency whirlybirds and military or law enforcement planes are OK.  But sight-seeing aircraft are not allowed for obvious reasons.

The reason for this latest e-mail is to find out why flags have been placed in the ground just inside the entrance to the Park.  Since I’m so close with TDOT he thought the issues here might have had something to do with them.  I don’t think so.  I did tell him that a new bridge was going to be built over Little River near the Park entrance so maybe he should call Bill Dunlap, our County road superintendent.  Bob called Bill and sure enough, that new bridge construction solved the puzzle of the flags.

The new bridge will be built to the entrance of Tremont Resort to replace an old county bridge that some people felt was in peril during the big flood of the early 90’s.  Those feelings must have turned out to be true.  That bridge also provides access to other properties located on that side of the river.

Then Bob gave me the bad news that I passed on to Herb Handly who runs our Convention and Visitors Bureau.  Beginning soon, through August there will be only one lane to enter and exit the Park in Townsend.  Stoplights will control the two way traffic on the one lane road.  Anyone planning to float something such as a tube or kayak can’t go under the bridge during the construction period.  But, having traffic tied up during the tourist season with many of those folks planning on visiting Cades Cove is not good news.  This is probably the only solution.  You can’t pour concrete in the winter.  And I’m sure Bill Dunlap gave a lot of thought to tourism in his planning of this project.  I bet building it now is the best option.  I hate to see this happen though, especially this year.

The flags will be replaced by signs to warn oncoming traffic of delays and instructions.

Tim Doyle is tying this morning until 2:00 pm so come on by, watch and listen.  It’s free.  Just come on by.


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 26, 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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