Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It was a lonely drive to work this morning.  I guess everyone forgot to change their alarm clocks.  I probably saw 5 vehicles.  It is a little chilly, 31 degrees at 8:00 am.  But the sun is shining now and we should hit a high of 66 degrees today. 

Little River is still flowing strong.  Flow is currently 633 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 360 cfs.  The river has dropped and fishing in the Smoky Mountains will be easier today.  The water is chilly right now, 46 degrees in town, cooler in the Park.  The water will warm up some today then start climbing to the warmest temperatures all year by the end of the week. 

The National Weather Service is predicting rain tonight and tomorrow and warm temperatures for a week.  Lows at night will be in the 50’s.  High temperatures during the day will be in the high 60’s to near 80 degrees on Thursday.  This will be the warmest week of the year so far and the fishing is going to be excellent, everywhere that is fishable from a water level point of view.

We will have perfect conditions for dry fly fishing in the Park unless that rain tomorrow blows out the streams.  The Quill Gordons are tapering off in the low elevations.  Blue Quills are still around.  Plenty of other aquatic insects are on the water and trout are taking them now and will be more aggressive as the week continues.

Everyone is talking about the size of the trout in the Park.  On average, without scientific data to back it up, the trout are larger.  I saw a photo of the largest rainbow I have ever seen caught in Anthony Creek yesterday.  It looked to be 10 to 12 inches long.  Larger rainbows have been caught everywhere.  And the browns were off the charts this winter.  Most people think this is due to the droughts that killed a lot of rainbow trout a couple of years ago.  The fish that survived have more food.  So, they are larger.  A very good brood of young rainbow trout would have a positive effect on the size of the brown trout.  Browns love to eat rainbows.  I guess we are in a large trout cycle.  Droughts and floods affect the trout populations much more than anglers do.  And, if we have less trout in the streams, we don’t notice.  In many years the Smokies streams are overpopulated and the trout are smaller or stunted.  Not this year.

Smallmouth bass are feeding in the rivers flowing out of the Park.  They are active in all the river right now.  And, smallmouth bass fishing in the lakes is good.  They are staging to spawn and are being caught in 3’ to 15’ of water.

The lakes are full of water.  Every lake in our area is at full pool.  The surface temperature of the lakes is hovering around 50 degrees.  I know this by reading the Fishing Report on the website.  This report is buried in the Sports Section under Outdoors.  Seven lakes close to us here are mentioned.  Jack and Joe went fishing late yesterday on one of the lakes.  Jack is going to let me know today what they found out.

I bought my fishing license, some 9’ 3X leaders and 3X tippet yesterday.  I’m going after smallmouth bass this week.  I have about a million bass flies in boxes laying out on my fly tying bench.  I’ll narrow that down by a few hundred thousand and pack my boat box and vest.  Right now I will be using Wooly Buggers, Tequeely streamers and Slump Busters.  I might try a Stealth Bomber just to see what happens.  I have another new fly that I’m planning to try.  It’s a floater.  It is probably too early.

I’m working on the Wading Boot section of our Online Store.  I hope to finish that by tomorrow night.  Simms started making felt soled boots again.  I’m glad of that.  Felt is much safer on these freestone streams in the Smokies.  We will still carry the rubber soles and the boots with changeable soles.  But with Simms back in the felt business, I think we’ll have a better Simms year.  Chota was smart.  They stuck with the felt.  Chota is a local company.  The folks there fish in the Smokies.  They offer felt alternatives but we still sold more felt soled boots here.  Remember, dry them well or treat your boots before using them in a different river.  If you fish in a river that is infested with Didymo, you might infest another river. 

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

Byron Begley
March 11, 2012

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