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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is cloudy and 47 degrees in Townsend the morning.  What an awesome day to go fishing!  Traffic in town is picking up.  Restaurants that closed for the winter are preparing to open or opening.  I noticed Smokin Joe’s opened yesterday.  They had a big crowd last night when I drove home.

Little River is flowing slightly higher than it was yesterday morning.  We must have had rain somewhere in the watershed around midnight or before.  Flow right now is 205 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.84 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 323 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:55 am is 45.8 degrees.  Last night the water level increased a few inches.

Fishing this weekend will be good.  The water will warm.  The high today should be around 68 degrees.  The cold spell is over.  And, listen to this, it may be mostly cloudy all weekend according to the National Weather Service. 

It will rain tomorrow.  One prediction calls for ½ inch of rain.  The wind will be out of the west.  I like the way that sounds.  I have visions of mayflies trying to get out of the water but struggling.  I see trout slurping down an easy meal.  I would go today and tomorrow.

This is how it has been for the past week or so.  Some aquatic insects are hatching.  Anglers saw quill gordons, blue quills and black caddis on the water.  Dry fly fishing was great at times and slow at times.  But, during those slow surface feeding periods, nymphs and wet flies worked well.  Fishing has been very good.  The guides are telling me they are fishing the East Prong, Middle Prong and Abrams Creek with great results.

Then this cold air moved in Thursday.  But it quickly warmed yesterday afternoon.  The water was cold yesterday morning, just under 41 degrees.  It gradually warmed throughout the day.  That will continue this weekend.

Here’s what guide Josh Pfeiffer of Frontier Anglers told me in an e-mail he sent Tuesday: 

The fishing in the park has been great and even the even though the hatches haven't been great the fish are still eating nymphs really good. We are still getting some dry fly action but not like you'd think for mid March. There haven't been too many quill gordons hatching the last couple of days, just the sporadic ones here and there and the same with the blue quills. The rainbows are definitely spawning in the park though and that is pretty awesome to watch. I'd say when this weather straightens up it will be GAME ON! Take care and I'll try to keep you posted best as possible.”

Well, it seems the weather has straightened out.  What I’ve heard from the other guides is similar to what Josh had to say.  A couple of weeks ago the hatches were heavier and lasted longer.  Before the cold front arrived, the hatches slowed down some. 

In your fly arsenal you should have:  Quill Gordon #12, Blue Quill #16, Blue Wing Olives and #16 Black Caddis for dry flies.

I would use a Bead Head Pheasant Tail as a dropper.  If swinging wet flies is what you like, use a Quill Gordon wet.  If you want to fish with a pair of nymphs, choose a favorite and drop the little Pheasant Tail off of that. 

Fishermen are telling us they are catching trout on a varied assortment of nymphs including, Tellico, Prince, Hare’s Ear, Copper John and about anything you can think of that works in the Smokies.  The bottom line is, the trout are hungry and active when the water is warmer, around 50 degrees.  I think we’ll see that number today and tomorrow.

My new project arrived yesterday in 7 boxes weighing 275 pounds.  FedX delivered the new kayak trailer.  Paula and I are going to use it to take the yaks to Port St. Joe, Florida in May and October.  I don’t know where and when I’ll put this thing together. 

So, I opened each box and put all the contents in my Suburban, filling the back and all seats except mine.  I’ll need a day, a flat surface, a few tools and knee pads to get this done.  The trailer is a Malone. My day off is Wednesday.  I may do it in the parking lot here.  I ordered it Monday and got it Friday. 

I’ll need to pay the sales tax on it at the courthouse so I can be an honest citizen and get a tag for the trailer.  Honesty and a tag go a long way when you are driving through other states with a trailer.  Some states require trailers to be tagged.  All states require honesty.

While I’m at it, I think I’ll get a tag for our boat’s trailer.  I bought the boat new in Tennessee so the taxes were paid.  I just have to show proof and pay a fee to get a tag for that. 

There will be four of us working here today.  I expect business to be good.  We will be open until 6 pm, which is usual for Saturday.  Remember, we are open on Sunday’s from 9:00 am until 5 pm all year long.  Sometimes people forget we are open on Sundays.  We always have three people working here on Sundays, yours truly being one of them.

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

Byron Begley
March 15, 2014

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