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 30 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Frost covers the ground.  A large flock of wild turkeys was in our driveway this morning.  There were probably 15 to 20 birds. I didn’t see them until I backed around a curve.  There they were in my rear view mirror.  What a great way to start the day.  I drove within 20 feet of some of the birds.

I have been getting e-mails from anglers who want to know if they should visit the Smokies this weekend to fish.  One person in particular was driving from Ohio, 500 miles to be here tonight.  I sent him one e-mail yesterday describing the conditions.  I sent another this morning telling him I would postpone the fishing trip.  I don’t want anyone to be disappointed and I would rather be conservative.  I made plenty of trips to the Smokies 30+ years ago only to find the fishing conditions to be awful.  That was before we had the internet and all the information we have now.

I think fishing this weekend will be good.  I would wait until later today before going.  The water is 40.5 degrees right now.  The high temperature today and tomorrow will be in the mid 60’s, normally excellent for fishing.  The low tonight will be around 40 degrees.  The low tomorrow night will be 48 degrees.

We still have snow on the ground in the higher elevations and in some cases in the lower elevations.  There are some mountains we can see from our house that are still white.  They are shaded slopes and are always the last to melt.  The high point we can see is 2,900 feet above sea level.  Yesterday morning, the weather stations in the Park indicated there is still snow up high, particularly Mt. LeConte with 10 inches.  That melting snow is going to keep the streams cooler for a couple of days.  Some streams won’t be affected by this.  Some will.

The National Weather Service is predicting wind tomorrow and Monday.  They put the chance for rain at 100% on Monday.  The Weather Channel website gives us a more favorable forecast.  I don’t know what to think.  I do know, that I’m not going to recommend someone drive 500 miles to fish here tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday. 

If you live nearby, you should go fishing in the Smokies this afternoon and maybe tomorrow.  I don’t know how good the fishing will be.  It might be excellent.  I could be slow.  If you live nearby it’s worth a shot.  Today is going to be beautiful. 

Little River is flowing at 505 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 379 cfs.  So, the water is a little high.  I like the gauge reading to be 2.2 feet to 2.4 feet in Little River.  Right now the gauge reading is 2.71 feet.  That’s not much of a difference.  However, there is plenty of flow so be careful wading.  Don’t take any chances.  A dunking in 45 degree water is breathtaking.  I know, I’ve done it many times.

When the water temperature climbs toward 50 degrees you are going to see some action.  Blue Wing Olives may be hatching.  You may see Quill Gordons and Blue Quills.  Trout will become more active.  Exactly when that happens is a mystery to me.  Personally, I think tomorrow will offer better fishing.  Everything depends on the snow melt.

If we don’t get too much rain on Monday, next week should be awesome.  Later in the week it will cool off some, back to normal of daytime highs in the 50’s and lows in the low 30’s.  Fishing will be best in the afternoons.

This is definitely the transition time for fishing in the Smokies.  Things will go crazy soon.  I just don’t know exactly when. 

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

Byron Begley
March 9, 2013

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