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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny and 27 degrees in Townsend this morning.  It appears most of the snow on the lower elevation slopes has melted.  Some of the shaded slopes above 2,500 feet still have some snow left.  That should be gone today.

Little River’s level is dropping but there is still plenty of water.  Flow is currently 604 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 417 cfs.  The gauge reading is 2.89 feet.  To put that into perspective, we do not take beginner students to the stream to wade when the gauge is at 2.4 feet or higher.  The rivers and streams are certainly fishable but care should be taken when wading.  Don’t over-do it.  Don’t fall in a get swept to the other side.  The water is 40 degrees right now.  You will be cold and weak.  Getting back across might be dangerous.  You don’t want to get into that situation.

The water will begin to warm today.  Over the next 10 days, temperatures will be above normal or at normal.  Expect highs in the 50’s and mid 60’s.  Lows will be in the high 30’s to high 40’s.  Spring-like weather is here and fishing is going to be good.

We have one looming problem.  The higher elevation mountains still have snow on the ground.  The Park Service weather stations report after I finish this report so I don’t know what is up there right now.  Yesterday morning, Mt. LeConte had 15” and Newfound Gap reported 12” of snow on the ground. 

So, over the next couple of days we are going to have some ice cold water flowing into the streams from these high elevation mountains.  We are waiting for the water temperature to reach 50 degrees or better before the really great fishing begins.  I don’t know exactly when that will happen.  Certainly, it will happen next week.  I think fishing will be good this weekend.  But that water temperature may surprise all of us because of the snow melt.

Get ready with Quill Gordons and Blue Quills.  We’ll be seeing them over the next few days.  Trout will be feeding.  You might see Blue Wing Olives too, maybe more of them at first.  The high temperature Sunday will reach the mid 60’s in the valley.  Surely, the water will be warm Sunday afternoon.  But, fishing may be good tomorrow.  It will certainly be much better than it has been.  Next week should be awesome.  I can’t wait.

Kent Edmonds was here this week. We spent most of the day together.  Kent invented the Stealth Bomber bass fly.  That fly has been a huge hit in the Southeast United States and probably in other parts of the world too.

Kent tied one and I photographed every step.  We are working on some marketing together.  His fly is tied by Rainy’s Flies.  We sell them on our online store.

I was off yesterday and preparing for the Spring smallmouth bass fishing.  I tied 19 Stealth Bombers for me, Paula and Jack.  I was using the new body style that can be cut from foam using a cutter made specifically for this fly.

I tie ours different.  The only flash on ours is the wing so you can see the fly.  The tail and legs are shorter.  The fly is solid black.  Just about every fly we use for smallmouth bass in the lakes during the early Spring are black.  These bass here seem to like non-flashy, solid black flies in the Spring, at least in the lakes we fish.  I will also tie some black Bass Buggers with no flash. And, I’ll tie some Knuckleheads without flash and use solid black rubber for the legs.  The tails will be black deer hair with no flash.

Everywhere else, the bass will eat the flashy flies.  Maybe it’s just us.  We feel like solid black flies with no flash work better on the Little Tennessee River.

 I am hoping the generation schedule at Norris and Cherokee dams will be light this weekend giving our local anglers a shot at some good fishing.  It looks like TVA will be generating at Norris all day today.  Cherokee appears to have a generation break today between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm.  Check before you go.  These schedules are subject to change.

It would be nice of all our TVA dams would cut off the flow at all of our dams this weekend with a little pulsing to keep some water flowing.  This is going to be a great weekend to go fishing and I hope all anglers get that opportunity.  Get out there and have fun.  It’s about time.

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

Byron Begley
March 8, 2013

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