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Townsend, Tennessee 37882
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Beautiful River in the Great Smoky Mountains

The Fishing Report 04/19/18 Great Smoky Mountains National Park and East Tennessee
Time of Readings 5:18 am Eastern Time Zone : CFS=Cubic Feet Per Second
Fishing Gauge Indicating Fishing is Good

Water Temperature Little River
Stream Flow
Rainfall 2018 YTD Knoxville Apt
Rainfall Normal YTD Knoxville Apt


56.3 Fahrenheit
2.43 Feet 387 CFS

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

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Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains. At 5:18 am, the temperature outside is 55.0 degrees.

Today will be partly sunny and cooler, with a high temperature in the upper 40’s. Tonight’s low will dip to the mid 30’s. It will be warmer tomorrow, in the low 60’s. The weekend will be warm with highs in the upper 60’s to 70 degrees. There is a slight chance for rain Sunday, then a greater chance Sunday night and Monday.

Little River is flowing at 387 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.43 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 262 cfs. The water temperature is 56.3 degrees this morning.

Stream flows are on the high side of good. They will continue to recede until Sunday night or Monday.

Stream temperatures are great right now, in the low to mid-elevations. They will dip some tonight and tomorrow night, then rise this weekend. I have always considered 58 degrees to be perfect for trout activity. The water temperature is very close to that this morning.

So, for now, fishing is good. I think it will remain good or fair through Friday, then improve more this weekend.

Nymphs are working, for sure. Dry flies are working at times. Trout are active and hungry. Aquatic insects are active.

I would start the day using nymphs. My old standards, Pheasant Tail, Tellico, Prince and Hare’s Ear nymph patterns always work well when fishing is good, like it is now. Though stream flows are fine, they are on the high side of good. We have plenty of water running through these streams. Nymphs work well under these conditions.

Dry flies seem to work best later in the day during the early Spring. We are recommending a Parachute Adams dry fly in sizes #14 or #16. Switch to dries at any time and you may do well. If they are not working, where you are or when you are there, go back to nymphs, or try swinging wet flies.
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has eased up on the generation at some of their dams. There are more wade fishing opportunities available, for now. Check Norris Dam’s schedule below. Make a decision. If that schedule does not suit you, look at Cherokee Dam. Both the Clinch and Holston Rivers, below these dams, offer excellent fly fishing for trout.

The Townsend City Council is struggling to write city ordinances, controlling tubing on Little River. Complaints from people who live on the river include, trespassing, noise and the number of tubes floating by during the warmest months. The council is considering many options. You can read the story on the Daily Times website by CLICKING HERE.

Camping is becoming more popular. The activity has been trending up for a few years. Research shows millennials are driving the surge. Camping provides economical accommodations in beautiful places, including Little River and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The WBIR website has a great story about this growth in participation, and the reasons behind the growth. You can read the story and watch the video by CLICKING HERE.

Townsend is a fantastic camping destination. The economy here is hugely dependent on tourism. Here, we have lodges, cabins for rent, motels, bed and breakfasts and campgrounds, something for everyone. Townsend is a major entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Anyone who loves mountain sports, water sports, fly fishing, nature viewing, photography, history, or just enjoying this beautiful area, are finding Townsend. But, it is not overbuilt or packed with people most of the year. Townsend remains the Peaceful Side of the Smokies.

Paula and I were eating lunch yesterday, in my home office. A mother black bear and two cubs walked right by the large window. I have a DSLR camera, mounted on a tripod, with a telephoto lens, perched right at that window. I fumbled around, trying to get the lens cap off and prepared to take some pictures. By the time I was shooting, the bears had moved back into the denser forest. I don’t think I got any good photos, like I have in the past.

The cubs were very small and cute. The mother was huge. We watched as the sow tried to teach the cubs to climb trees. She stood up and grabbed a large hemlock tree. One of the cubs actually climbed up the tree. The other cub was not interested.

I have seen this before. Black bear are at the top of the food chain here. The adults only have only one predator, humans. The small cubs can be subject to predation, even by other black bears.

So, the cubs are trained to climb trees when there is danger lurking near the animals. Their mother stands ready to fight for their life.

Over 25 years ago, two of our local Trout Unlimited Chapters worked with the Park’s Fisheries Department, building fences along the creeks that flow through Cades Cove. The fences were built to keep the cattle out of the creeks. Back then, a large herd of cattle grazed in the Cove. They are gone now.

I was alone one day, walking through the middle of the Cove, taking photos of the work we had done. I walked upon a black cow, or so I thought. I was not paying much attention to the cows. That cow turned out to be a mother bear and I was very close, way too close. She had two cubs.

The bear grunted, which I think was the signal to climb a tree. Both cubs climbed the nearest tree. Then, the bear grunted and jumped up and down on her front paws, which was a warning to me. I just kept walking. Once I was about 100 feet away, I looked back. The cubs came down out of the tree and the three ambled away as I watched. If I had not continued walking, the outcome could have been different.

Paula and I both have had close encounters with bears while we were outside our house, sometimes a close as 30 feet away. Of course, it happens in the Park often too. My advice, if that happens to you is, do not approach the bear. Walk, don’t run, away from the bear. I think it helps to swell up a bit, to look larger. So far, I have never felt threatened.

After seeing those bears yesterday, we both went outside often and later, walked down to our neighbor’s barn to bottle feed Jefferson, the orphaned calf we are raising. I was not nervous at all. I didn’t carry a pistol. Bear encounters are common in our lives.

I would be lying if I told you I didn’t think about it, walking down to the barn. I forgot about it by evening.

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

Byron Begley
April 19, 2018    

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USGS Stream Gauges

Abrams Creek Below Cades Cove    

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Lake Information and Tailwater Generation Schedules


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