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 a beautiful morning.  The sun is shining and the temperature is 50 degrees.  I saw lots of wild turkeys in front of our house earlier.  I even heard birds chirping.  It looks and feels like Spring. Today’s high temperature is expected to be 67 degrees. 

Little River is flowing at 272 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.04 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 344 cfs.  The flow we have now suits most anglers very well, not too high and not too low.

The water temperature is interesting.  Right now it is 44.5 degrees.  The temperature yesterday morning was 40 degrees at this time.  The temperature gradually rose 4 ½ degrees yesterday.  I was hoping for a higher number.  If that trend continues, the water may rise to near 50 degrees today.

At 50 degrees we normally see aquatic insect and trout activity increasing.  That’s not an absolute but it is the norm.  Fishing today should be better than yesterday.

Last March, the water temperature in Little River reached or exceeded 50 degrees 6 days.  The highest recorded water temperature for that month was 55 degrees and that happened only once.  Fishing was excellent that week and we were covered up here.  Actually, we were very busy the whole month but slower during the first week when the water was colder, in the 30’s and 40’s.

If you go today be prepared for anything.  You may see caddis, stoneflies, blue wing olives and blue quills.  You may see a few Quill Gordons.  And of course, you may not see much where you are.  In the early Spring, big hatches come as a surprise and can quickly disappear. 

If you don’t see surface feeding and trout are not taking your dry fly, try a Pheasant Tail nymph or Quill Gordon wet fly.

We have charts that show what our weekly business was last March which include water temperature and flows.  I simply did a screen shot of a USGS flow and temperature charts, pulled them into photoshop, typed in the sales numbers, then printed them.

We are usually busy in March no matter what the stream conditions are here.  For one thing, we are selling to people everywhere through the mail.  And, anglers are getting ready.  But, great stream conditions do help and you can see the affect of poor fishing conditions on sales.

We will notice slower sales starting tomorrow because of the ice and snow storm making it’s way through parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and other states.  That storm will miss us.  We may get some frozen precipitation tomorrow, but nothing like our neighbors in Kentucky and Middle Tennessee will get.  What a winter this has been.

Speaking of winter in Kentucky, look at the photos below.  I practically grew up in that house on a farm in Boonesborough.  My parents built this home in 1961.  We moved in when I was in the 6th grade.  Notice the snow fence in the second picture?  That was a necessity.  The house was perched on a hill.  In those days, we got some serious snow.  We also got a lot of wind on that hill.  The fence kept the snow drifts at bay.  Check out my parent’s cars.  One is a Ford Thunderbird and the other is a Rambler American convertible.

Sarah Chenault Smith, an interior designer I know contacted me this week.  Her client is restoring this house.  She was looking for original photographs.  I dug these and some others out, scanned them and sent the images to her. This was a very unusual house in the early 60’s.  It was copied from a ski lodge in Maine.  Seeing these took me back in time.

We had several ponds and the Kentucky River was nearby.  Since I was a fisherman, I was in Heaven. My first fly rod was a birthday gift in 1962.  I was 11 years old.  I got a fly tying kit too.  That’s when it all began for me.

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

Byron Begley
March 2, 2014

Begley home in Boonesborough Kentucky

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