Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny and a chilly 37 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Traffic was very light on my morning commute to work.  I have noticed a few visitors this weekend but not many.  One fellow told me yesterday there were about three cars parked in the motel lot where he was staying.  Visitation will pick up next week due to Spring break occurring in some states.

Little River is flowing swift and clear.  Flow is 645 cubic feet per second (cfs) right now.  Yesterday morning at this time the flow rate was 966 cfs.  Median flow for this date is 337 cfs.  The water temperature at the swinging bridge in town was 46 degrees at 8:05 am.  The water is clear.

The water temperature has dropped from the low 50’s to the mid 40’s in 24 hours. That number will decrease even further tonight.  We expect the temperature in the valley to dip into the high 20’s tonight and we will probably get some snow. 

Fishing is going to be slower than it was when the water temperature was warmer.  If you go today I would start with nymphs fished deep.  Be careful wading.  The streams are swift.  You might see some hatches of Quill Gordons, Blue Quills, Caddis, Stoneflies and maybe March Browns.  If you do see the bugs switch to a dry fly, especially if trout are rising to them.  You knew that. 

There will be some sun today and that will warm the water somewhat.  But, the high temperature today will be in the high 40’s in the valley and cooler than that in the Smokies.  Don’t expect a drastic rise in the water temperature.  You can expect that later this week though, it is going to be warm again.

It is going to be windy today.  I almost forgot to tell you about that.  Wind is something to consider if you are thinking about going fishing today.  Gusts could be as high as 30 miles per hour.

A 19 year old woman came very close to drowning in the river yesterday.  Her car ended up almost submerged but she was quickly rescued.  This is an amazing story about how our County Fire Department Swift Water and Dive Team pulled her out 27 minutes after they were contacted.  This was a very close call.  That girl was very lucky.  Read the story in the Daily Times.

All the roads that were temporarily closed yesterday in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are open today, except the road to Metcalf Bottoms from Wears Valley.  There is a power line down on that road.  That road may open soon or it could already be open.  Don’t take a chance.  Take another route or call the Park first.  Little River Road was closed yesterday due to fallen trees.

After we get through tomorrow night, we can get excited about fishing in the Smokies again.  What a year this has been so far.  I don’t remember a better year for anglers.  Those who have the patience and desire to fish for the post spawn browns had an excellent Winter.  Anglers who love to catch trout on dry flies had a great February.  The size of the trout seem to be getting larger, browns, rainbows and brook trout.  Lots of people pull out a cell phone or pocket camera and show us the pictures every day.  That didn’t happen ten years ago.  It does now.  Either the trout are getting larger or the anglers are getting smarter. If the trout are larger right now it has to be that we are still feeling the effects of the terrible drought years when a substantial amount of the rainbow trout population died.

I do tend to think the anglers are getting better. I wish I could say it is because of some new fly fishing tackle advancements that are only available here at our store.  “Buy this and you will catch more and bigger trout”.  I don’t think that is the case.  I think anglers are becoming better fishermen because of the internet.  And we are gaining a leg up on the trout because we have access to the internet, and they don’t. 

Forums are brimming with excellent information that was not available to us a few years ago.  I sometimes see 250 people or spiders on our Message Board at one time.  I also see the number of different people who visit that board on our reporting software that you don’t see.

I remember driving 4 hours to get here only to find the streams were blown out and un-fishable.  I have lived here 20 years so I am referring to the old days.  Now you can click and get accurate information about the river conditions in seconds.  You can even get the water temperature in Little River as long as I am able to take it every day.

The internet has made me a more diverse fly fisherman.  I have read what other people are doing and think, “I’ll try that”.  A good example is smallmouth bass fishing.  I kept reading about the smallmouth fishing in our area (which is excellent) written by guys like Gary Troutman and Lynn Hayes.  They got me interested 3 or 4 years ago.  Now I’m writing about it and other people are getting interested. 

Our industry tells us that fly fishing participation has been in a decline for a few years.  There are certainly a lot less fly shops then there used to be.  A decline in participation  may or may not be true.  I do believe that we are spreading out our realm of interest though.  And one reason we are doing that is because of the internet.

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

Byron Begley
March 4, 2012 

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