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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is overcast, soggy and 41 degrees in Townsend this morning. We got 1 1/3 inches of rain yesterday.  Rainfall totals are up 59% from normal this year so far at the Knoxville Airport.

Little River is flowing at 735 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 353 cfs.  The gauge reading is 3.11 feet.  The water was clear this morning.  It was muddy yesterday in town.  The water temperature is 45.7 degrees.

The gauge reading is the easiest for us to put into perspective.  At 2.5 feet or above on the Little River Gauge in Townsend, we do not take beginner fly fishing students to the on-stream class.  However, experienced anglers will go and do well at that level.  The water is swift at that reading and you should be careful wading. 

Evidently, Great Smoky Mountains National Park or at least the Little River watershed within did not get the heavy rain we had in Townsend.  The river did not rise as much as I would expect.  For instance, on April 1st the flow was around 1,400 cfs at the peak.  On than day we recorded .75” of rain here.  Now, the river is flowing at half that amount and dropping.  I looked at the radar yesterday a couple of times and it appeared the Park was not getting that much rain.   

So, what about fishing in the Smokies this weekend?  Well, the water is dropping but I think it will still be somewhat high tomorrow.  It will be lower on Sunday of course.  There is no chance for rain in the forecast. 

If you come here to fish you will consider the water to be high.  It will be fishable.  I think Sunday will be much better on all counts.  Not only will the water be lower, it will be warmer.  The high temperature on Saturday should be around 70 degrees with a low of 45 degrees that night. 

If you have a choice between Saturday or Sunday, take Sunday.  Monday through next weekend should be awesome.  The Weather Channel website is predicting a high of 78 degrees on Wednesday with a low of 61.  The other days next week will be warm, just not that warm.  You need to be here then if you can make it.

This weather has been tough for the outdoor sports business in our area.  I talked to a friend last night, who owns a golf course.  He said one course in Knoxville reported over 400 less tee times this year compared to last year since January 1st.  That sounded like a big number to me.  But, I know almost nothing about golf.  Cold temperatures and high water have affected our business negatively.  Apparently, that problem is over for now.  Next week should offer anglers the best fishing conditions we have had in the Smokies for months.

You would not believe how many people I’ve talked to who have not gone fishing this year or report only a few occasions on the water.  I hear that every day.  At times, those who went fishing did well or fairly well.  Now, it’s time for some serious fishing.

I’m going fishing whenever I get the opportunity starting next week.  I’m going after work and on my day off.  Like many of you, I’ve got some “making up” to do.

Whether you fish in freestone streams, tailwaters, lowland river or lakes, fishing is going to improve next week.

Joe called me yesterday.  He and Jack were fishing on a nearby lake.  They saw a bald eagle sitting in a tree near the water.  They stopped fishing and watched.  The eagle flew down to the ground and hid in the tall grass.  Two wild turkeys were walking in his direction.  When the turkeys got close to the eagle it showed himself in an aggressive manner.  The turkeys bristled up, moved toward the eagle and it flew off.

The same thing happened in our neighbor’s yard with a bobcat.  The cat was stalking some turkeys.  One of them moved toward the bobcat.  The cat left.  The only conclusion I can draw from these experiences is, “Don’t mess with a wild turkey unless you’ve got a shotgun.” 

There is a story about a young man who lived in what is now Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  I think he lived in the Cataloochee Valley.  He trapped wild turkeys.  He did so by building a room outside using branches, rocks and trees.  The trap or small room had only one entrance.  He sprinkled corn around the opening and into the trap.  Several birds entered his trap.  He crawled in to kill the birds with his bare hands.  It worked, he got them all.  But those turkeys beat the heck out of the guy.  He was bloody and bruised.  His reputation as a tough young man lived on, all because he killed those wild turkeys with his hands, a feat to be admired at a time when gunpowder was a luxury for wealthier people. 

Keep an eye on the water level today and tomorrow. You can click on the link to the left to see the flow rates.  I hope you can get out and fish soon.

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

Byron Begley
April 5, 2013

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