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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  This is my day off and I am at home.  It is 35 degrees outside at 8:29 am.  It will be partly sunny today and 53 degrees, approximately.

Little River is flowing at 465 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 355 cfs.  The water temperature is 45.5 degrees this morning.

Fishing in the Smokies and lowland rivers nearby has been strange lately.  I guess we are in the transitional period known to me as unpredictable.  We are all scratching our heads.

For instance, Bill fished Saturday and I think he said he caught 30 trout, mostly on wet flies.  He went fishing yesterday and caught one trout.  It was slow.  Pete fished Sunday and got skunked.  He fished yesterday and did pretty well, catching 6 brook trout on dry flies.  He also encountered a blue wing olive hatch, a huge one.  He also saw some blue quills and a couple of quill gordons but there were no fish rising. 

A couple of guys fished Abrams Creek yesterday and managed to catch two rainbows.  Josh fished Little River on Saturday for smallmouth bass and scored one big fish and several others.  He floated the same section yesterday with clients and the fishing was slow.  I have more similar stories of some people doing fairly well and very good anglers not doing so well or getting skunked this weekend.

Fishing conditions are not going to be very good for a few days.  It is going to be cold at night and the water temperature will drop.  However, many species of aquatic insects have begun mating.  Most seasoned anglers agree, once they start, they keep going despite the water temperature.  Also, when trout get accustomed to seeing adult insects on the water they tend to feed on them more, even if the water is cold.  So, fishing could be fair to good even if the water is cold. 

Paula and I planned to fish on one of the lakes today in our boat.  Wind gusts up to 25 miles per hour ruled that idea out. I’m going to tie flies instead.

In yesterday’s report, I discussed boating safety.  I mentioned that a inflatable personal floatation device (PFD) was not considered legal unless it was actually being worn.  If you take it off, you better have another non-inflatable in the boat to be legal.

My friend Leroy questioned that yesterday.  He’s a smart guy and I know he knew exactly what he was talking about.  Sure enough, I read the online TWRA handbook and checked the US Coast Guard regulations and he was right as far as I could tell.  I suggest you read both.  TWRA has a new online Boating Guide that contains some great information you should know about.  I couldn’t find anything that indicates a “Inflatable” PFD is not considered legal unless it is worn.

Did I make this up or have the rules changed since I read this 4 years ago when we bought this boat?  Maybe I made the whole thing up.  I did read that the Coast Guard is working closely with manufacturers of inflatable PFD’s and States regarding these devices recently.  Maybe the rules changed or maybe I was wrong.  Any input would be appreciated.  This is a serious topic.

Now, we will probably have one extra non-inflatable on our boat in case one of our inflatable devices becomes inoperable.  That can happen.  Ours have little green lights in the inflation mechanism that indicate the system is working.  If the light turns red, it’s time to re-arm your inflatable PFD.  Ours are hydrostatic and a replacement mechanism cost $70 the last time I looked.  Extra life jackets take up a lot of valuable space in our little 16’ boat.  Having just one extra would save a lot of space.

Josh pulled into our parking lot right at closing time yesterday with his raft in tow.  Pete went out to talk to him and his clients.  I did some unfinished work, loaded my truck to go home and went over to talk to them before leaving.

They told me a bald eagle just flew over the store.  I saw one from my office a couple of weeks ago while I was writing the fishing report.  It flew by close to the building at window level.  Josh mentioned they saw a beaver yesterday on the river.  As we talked, a woodchuck popped his head up in the lot across from the shop.

We discussed the bobcats that are hanging around our house and the mysterious disappearance of squirrels at our home which Paula and I both consider a blessing.  We used to practically trip over them but now they are gone.  I have to be careful backing out of our driveway.  The drive is often choked with wild turkeys.  We talked about golden eagles and the fact that they have been spotted occasionally around the area.  Discussions at our shop are often about wildlife sightings.  Everyone sees bears, that’s not a big deal. Bald eagles and golden eagles are something else. 

We all enthusiastically agreed, “We live in a wonderful place.”  I drove home thinking the same thing again as I looked out at those mountains.

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

Byron Begley
March 20, 2013

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