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P.O. Box 505
Townsend, Tennessee 37882
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Beautiful River in the Great Smoky Mountains

The Fishing Report 03/04/18 Great Smoky Mountains National Park and East Tennessee
Time of Readings 5:38 am Eastern Time Zone : CFS=Cubic Feet Per Second
Fishing Gauge Indicating Fishing is Slow

Water Temperature Little River
Stream Flow
Rainfall 2018 YTD Knoxville Apt
Rainfall Normal YTD Knoxville Apt


43.5 Fahrenheit
3.03 Feet 753 CFS

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

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Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains. At 5:38 am, the temperature outside is 27.0 degrees.

Today will be beautiful, sunny and 60 degrees. Tonight’s low will fall to the low 30’s. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny, with a high in the upper 50’s. We have a good chance for rain tomorrow night and Tuesday.

Little River is flowing at 753 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 3.03 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 338 cfs. The water temperature is 43.5 degrees this morning.

The streams are flowing on the high side. They are receding. You will find swift water in many areas. If you go, be careful wading.

The streams are chilly too. Trout will be somewhat inactive. These are certainly not ideal fishing conditions.

I would start the day, fishing with nymphs, heavily weighted. I would probably use larger nymphs, maybe #10. Look for slower runs or eddies. Get your nymphs down near the stream bottom, ticking along at the same speed as the current.

High sticking is a good way to do that. Fish close, mend your line, or keep you fly line off the water entirely. Fish upstream and raise your rod as the flies move back to you, then finish the drift by lowering your rod, trying to maintain contact with your flies, with a tight leader.

You could use a big nymph, a Girdle Bug for instance, and a strike indicator. You might catch a nice brown trout.

I guess it is possible you will see aquatic insects on the water. Quill Gordon and Blue Quills were hatching and active on the water a few days ago. Once they start hatching, they often continue, even if the water turns cold again, like it has. If you see trout rising, switch to a dry fly or a wet fly.

You could try using a dry fly with a wet fly as a dropper. I would use a Quill Gordon dry and wet fly.

Streamers may work. Try a Wooly Bugger, weighted. Try a Muddler Minnow, with extra weight.

We are going to have more warm days, Monday and Tuesday. It will be warmer Monday night. I don’t know how much rain we’ll get Monday night and Tuesday. We do not need any more rain for a while. The ground is saturated. Additional rain will cause the streams to rise again.

Today will be beautiful. It’s a good day to go. I prefer cloudy days, which we will not have today. But, it is going to be nice and fishermen will be fishing in the Smokies. Stream levels are falling and we may see the water temperatures rise slightly later today.

I worked yesterday morning, then went to the shop to watch Walter Babb tie flies. That is an experience. First, he is a master fly tyer. He makes it look easy. Every fly he ties is perfect. After he finished tying a fly, it was passed around for us to see “up close”. Every fly I saw, reminded me of the fact, “I can’t make one look that pretty”. I’ve been tying flies over 50 years. Walter has tied many thousands more than I have.

Listening to him discuss fly fishing while tying, is always a learning experience for me, though I’ve spent a lot of time with Walter and I have listened to his wisdom for two decades.

When we began our serious fly tying classes, probably 20 years ago, Walter and I taught them. He was the instructor. I was his helper.

I sat next to Jack Gregory while Walter tied. He is another of the best fly fishermen I know. We are close friends too. We have done a lot of traveling together, fishing in fresh and saltwater. Jack always catches more fish than I do. That does not bother me at all. I love watching him fly fish. I always learn from the experience.

I talked to a lot of old friends and customers yesterday. It was a great day for me.

Tradd Little was there, with his parents, Rusty and Ronda. They live in Greenville, South Carolina. They drove over, spent the night at Dock’s Motel, and were there to see Walter tie and listen to what he had to say. Tradd is also a master fly tyer in my opinion, and he has only been tying a little over 4 years. I have watched Tradd progress quickly. Like Walter and Jack, Tradd is a much better fly tyer than I am. I think Tradd is 15 years old now. He is also a very good fly fisherman.

Will Davis sat right in front of me yesterday. He is a young man who demonstrated his skills February 17th. He is an avid fly fisherman and fly tyer. His flies are beautiful.

Yesterday was the last Free Winter Fly Tying Demonstration this season. Jack tied at the first one this year on January 6th. Many other excellent tyers followed, including Tradd and Will. And, we finished the season with Walter.

Regretfully, I missed a lot of the demonstrations this year. I was either working at my home office, or out of town. This Winter has flown by.

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

Byron Begley
March 4, 2018

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