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

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Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is a dark, dreary and damp Sunday morning in Townsend, Tennessee.  The temperature is 49 degrees.  It is dawn now, the peaceful time of twilight just before sunrise. Dawn in my favorite time of the day, especially in the woods, streams or on the water.  Dawn marks the beginning of a fun day under those circumstances.  It is kind of lonely here though.

I came to work early because I have plenty to do. I only saw 3 or 4 cars on the road during my 5 minute commute. Barely visible are the silhouettes of the mountains in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It would be nice to be there instead of looking at the dark mass from two miles away.

Dreary is a good word to describe the conditions we will enjoy for the next few days.  It will be dreary in a good way, especially if you are an angler.

Little River’s flow has not changed for two days.  Rainfall was not measurable in our gauge this morning.  But there must have been enough to at least sustain the flows in these streams.  The river is flowing at 63 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 88 cfs.  The water temperature was 55 degrees at 7:35 am.

We all love to fish when the skies are overcast and light rain is falling, don’t we?  We know the trout are more likely to be out and about and less likely to see you.  It seems though, that fishing has not been that great since this front moved in yesterday.  We had reports in the shop of people catching trout or dry flies and nymphs.  I didn’t hear anyone say they “got skunked”.  No, come to think of it one man did say he didn’t catch anything. 

I noticed the Fishing Gauge has dropped from good to “fairly good”.  UPDATE 1:30 pm: The Fishing Gauge is back to "Good". Anglers are having a good day.

If you are targeting big browns, the fishing is good, maybe excellent.  If you are in the backcountry fishing for brook trout I suspect the same would hold true. 

You might also encounter a blue wing olive hatch and all trout may be looking up for their next meal.  These small flies love dreary days. 

I would start with nymphs.  Pick something reasonable like a Tellico, Prince, Hare’s Ear or maybe a Green Weenie.  Weenies have saved the day for me in November before.  Have some blue wing olive patterns in your box.  An attractor like a Stimulator might work. 

The brown trout are actively seeking a bed and a qualified mate.  The females qualify by being healthy and of age to reproduce.  The males qualify by constantly having to kick another’s backside over and over until he wins. 

This is a good time to do some stream and brown trout watching.  I hate to bother them when they are trying reproduce.  Some rivers in the United States are closed to fishing during the brown trout spawn.  Not here.  Brown trout are not a native species.  They were introduced for sport and probably human consumption long ago.  To us though, they are special.

The brook trout or “specks” are native.  They were forced to move here during the ice age or something described by a Latin name that occurred long ago.  Our native trout is very special.  And, they are beautiful to behold.

Rainbow trout were introduced, like the browns and probably at about the same time.  Rainbow trout don’t live long in the Smokies.  A three year old is a lucky rainbow.  The conditions in the Smokies are not conducive to longevity for the rainbow trout.  That is why you seldom see or catch one over fifteen inches long. 

The browns, however adapt well to the lower to mid-elevation streams.  At some point in their life, they become predators.  They eat other fish.  And the browns grow to be twenty inches to thirty inches long.  By the way, they eat rainbow trout, another reason bows don’t live long.

Another customer told me yesterday he saw the bald eagle that has moved to Townsend.  This is the most talked about bird around town since I’ve lived here.  We talk about bears doing things that are annoying to us.  We had two bears try to break into our house in July.  Where we live, we see more bears than deer.  Now, this beautiful bird of prey is the talk of the town. 

We may get some snow in a couple of days.  I don’t think the chance for much measurable snow is high.  I do remember, one Halloween about 20 years ago, Paula and I went backpacking in the snow.  We hiked the short trail into Campsite 18.  It was one of those “sticky” snows that clung to the trees.  When my backpack touched those branches, the snow fell on my neck and down my back. I’ll never forget that trip.  We had the whole place to ourselves.

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

Byron Begley
October 28, 2012

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