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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny and 44 degrees in Townsend this morning.  The trees and flowers are blooming in the valley.  Pollen is coating horizontal surfaces, noses are running and eyes are watering. This is still my favorite time of the year, despite the negatives.  It is beautiful out there today.

Little River is flowing slightly above normal at 311 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 243 cfs.  I drove for miles yesterday along the river.  Going to Sevierville then to the boat dealer in Morristown, I took the scenic route.  You can see several miles of the river by doing that.  I have not seen the river look this good in a long time. I saw a lot of fishermen in the lower sections.  Down there is smallmouth bass and redeye territory.  The flow was perfect for canoeing. 

Fishing conditions continue to improve in the Smoky Mountains.  The water temperature at 7:50 am is 52 degrees, warmer than it has been in the mornings for 3 days.  Conditions are not perfect quite yet but we’re getting there.

Trout are taking dry flies and nymphs.  The best fishing will be late afternoon until dark.  Fishing is sporadic though.  The water temperature has not been consistent.  We’ve had warm spells and cold spells.  Heck, we had frost on the ground two mornings in the valley.  It was very cold in the high elevations this past weekend.  Hikers reported ice on the trails.  Down here, the dogwoods are blooming.

Spring is slowly creeping up the mountains.  I have seen a remarkable difference over the past 3 days.

I talked to a fisherman who frequents Douglas Lake yesterday.  He works at the boat dealership in Morristown.  He said the smallmouth bass have spawned there and are already feeding on shad.  That leads me to believe the smallmouth bass are spawning now on the Little Tennessee River, which is colder than Douglas.  Jack fished there Saturday.  I have not heard from him.  I can’t go because the boat is in the shop. 

I’ve been longing for a new boat and looking at her daily on a website.  It is a Lowe, 17 foot semi-V jon with a tiller steered 40 horsepower on it.  I saw one live and in person yesterday.  The interior is so wide and open you could put three lawn chairs on the floor and have a party.  I like tiller steering because you don’t have a console taking up space.  This boat looked like a fishing barge, just what I want.  I won’t be pulling the trigger this year. 

I dropped off this weekend’s deposits at the bank yesterday with the boat in tow.  My banker is always trying to lend money.  That’s her job.  She said, “Why don’t you buy a new boat and finance it?”  I’m like, “Are you kidding?”  “Finance a boat?”  Hey, when you bring a new boat home it’s dropped in value at least by 1/3 and maybe more.  Pile interest on top of that and it doesn’t make sense to me. 

She knew better.  She knows how tight I am.  Once, she suggested I buy a new truck and borrow money for that.  My truck is only 12 years old.  It runs good and the body has not fallen off.  Why would I need a new one?  I’d rather spend my money on fishing tackle or a boat.  There was a time when I thought differently.  Something changed.

A boat should be something you buy and keep forever, or until you find one you like better. Our next boat will be my last.  I have said that before, many boats ago.  This time I mean it.

Rain is coming again tomorrow. It may rain this weekend too.  We are tired of rain.  Rainfall this year is up 52% over normal at the Knoxville Airport.  We should not complain.  Look to the west.  Much of the country is still in a severe to exceptional drought.  We don’t want that here.  Our neighbors to the west need a break, they need rain in the worst way.  I hope they get relief soon. You can see the U.S. Drought Monitor by CLICKING HERE.

So, get out your rain gear and go fishing.  I’ll be testing some new flies in Little River tomorrow.

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

Byron Begley
April 23, 2013

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