Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee.  The rain started falling early this morning.  It was light at first but it is heavy now.  The sky is dark and the higher mountains are not visible from here.  Trees are sprouting leaves.  I saw a willow this morning that was fully covered with pale green leaves.  Spring is here, at least down here.  But yesterday afternoon, I saw plenty of snow on the higher peaks in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  That will be gone soon then it may be back on Wednesday and Thursday.  We even have a chance for snow in the valley that day.  The National Weather Service mentioned this morning that we might see a couple of inches of snow by Friday morning.

Little River is high.  Flow is 699 cubic feet per second compared to median flow for this date of 374 cfs.  If the weather forecasters are correct and they seem to be, we’ll see the river rising for a couple of days.  They are saying “flooding is expected”.  A flood watch is in effect.  The water temperature is warming.  This morning it was 48 degrees in town.  That trend will soon change too.

Fishing has been on the slow side.  Anglers are having trouble with the higher water in the Smokies.  The hatches are continuing with Blue Quills and Blue Wing Olives.  Fishermen are catching trout but not in the numbers they were last week.

If you go fishing today be careful.  Watch for rising water.  Be careful wading.  It is going to be windy too.  Look out for falling branches and trees.  Again, the foks at the NWS say the wind could gust to 55 miles per hour at times.  To tell you the truth, I believe I would just stay home or work today.  It is going to be nasty out there.

I’m going to spend my day off on Friday finishing every detail and preparing to go fishing next week.  I still have some small boat projects to take care of.  All the gear is ready to go except for cleaning some fly lines.  Then, when it warms up a little, all I’m going to think about is smallmouth bass.

Smallmouth bass fishing is a recent passion.  Maybe it’s just a short break from trout fishing but so far I’m over a year into it.  Paula is too.  I keep seeking information from people.  And sometimes people contact me about smallies. 

Yesterday I got a call from an angler in Virginia.  He is a serious smallmouth fisherman.  I think he will be here in April.  He is looking for a smallmouth guide.  He said it’s hard to find a guide who specializes in  smallmouth bass fishing around here.  He’s right.  I gave him Josh Pfeifer’s number.  At the time he’s the only guide I could think of at the time who really has a passion for smallies.  And he just bought a new raft that is perfect for the lower Little River.  I told him to call Kris Maurer at the Orvis Store in Sevierville.  Maybe Kris knows of a guide that specializes in these fish nearby.  I also told him to call Kevin Howell at Davidson River Outfitters in Brevard, N.C.  And then there is Eddie Wyatt at the Fly Shop of Tennessee.  Randy Ratliff specializes in smallmouth bass fishing.  So, he is one.   I don’t think he lives here but he could be here in a couple of hours. 

Then, Dick started telling me about some new flies he is using.  At that point I started writing down websites, tyers names and pattern names.  He said he found out about the Stealth Bomber on our site or from me.  That is my favorite right now and his too.  In fact, I’m ordering some more today.  We are out again. 

Later in the afternoon I started talking to a customer in the shop.  He has a weekend home on Tellico Lake.  He finally got dragged out of the shop by his buddies.  I learned what I could while he was here. 

I’ve read all the books about smallmouth bass fishing.  There are not that many, nothing even coming close to trout.  You could fill a room with trout fishing books and not duplicate one title.  Google “fly fishing for trout” and you’ll get almost 4 million pages to browse through. Google “fly fishing for smallmouth bass” and you will only get 171,000 pages. 

I’ve spent most of my life trout fishing.  I love trout fishing.  Most of our customers and most of my friends love trout fishing.  Catching a wild trout on a dry fly in a small Smokies stream is an experience beyond compare.  There is nothing like it.  I can only imagine that catching a 28” brown trout in Little River has to be a lifetime experience.  I don’t know because I’ve never done that. 

But, watching a 5 pound smallmouth bass sip your popper off the surface and trying to hang on to a fish that won’t give up on a 5 weight is still another moment in time not to be forgotten, ever.  I have done that.

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

Byron Begley
March 9,  2011

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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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