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 overcast and 41 degrees in Townsend this morning.  The Smoky Mountains really are pretty.  My view is of landforms with dense tree cover.  The leaves are still hanging on.  The colors are dark gold and rust.  Some folks may view my view as dismal.  Not me.

The wrath of Sandy will bring strong winds to the Southern Appalachians.  The trees will eventually be stripped of their leaves and that will probably happen quickly.  On top of that, we are expecting more rain today, then snow.  Snow accumulation is not expected in the valley unless the forecast is changed.  The mountains should get plenty of snow.  The National Weather Service is saying we should expect between 6” and 17” in the higher elevations above 3500 feet.  If that plays out as indicated right now, we will have visitors driving here to see the snow covered mountains without having to drive in the stuff.

We live in a warning area for possible power outages due to Sandy.  This storm may be the most extraordinary weather event in the history of our Country.  My heart and prayers go out to you who will be most affected in the Northeast.  Be careful up there.  Hang in!

We have observed and appreciated almost constant rainfall here for 24 hours.  The rain was light.  Our gauge indicated .70” of precipitation had fallen since yesterday morning.  The Knoxville Airport reported .50” of rain.  Little River is flowing at 214 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 84 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:55 was 50.5 degrees.  I drove by the river on my way to work.  The water was clear.  I did not see the bald eagle but I was looking.

Fishing was pretty good yesterday.  Fishing was slower on Saturday based on the reports I heard.  It’s anyone’s guess what today will bring other than wind, rain and snow.  I would fish the lower elevations, maybe the Middle Prong of the Little River.  If the wind gets really strong, you won’t chance a huge inconvenience by being trapped in the Park miles from civilation.  You could always walk out from Tremont.  They say the wind will gust to 25 and 30 miles per hour in the valley today and tomorrow.  The higher elevations may be dangerous.  Up there the wind may gust to 45 miles per hour.  Don’t be in the forest when that is happening.

I can’t believe I was fishing Thursday, on the lake, on a sunny day and it was hot, 78 degrees.  Now, only 4 days later, we are expecting freezing temperatures and snow. That defines “a stark contrast”.  That means we better bundle up.  That may also slow the fishing temporarily.  Fish seem to hate drastic change in temperatures and barometric pressure. 

Dark skies and more water flow seem to step up the progress of mating brown trout.  None of us know if it is the lower water temperature or the decrease in sunlight, or both that spurs the spawning urges of brown trout.  It’s not the calendar.  The spawning stages for these fish must be triggered by something less obvious to humans.  My guess is, it is the shorter days.  That is predictable.  Maybe the moon has something to do with it.  Over the next month or so, anglers will be watching this interesting occurrence.  After it’s over, some anglers will begin fishing with excitement and vigor.  That is a tradition here though participation is limited to a few skilled and hardy folks.

In Tennessee, old timers who fish for shellcrackers say, “They will spawn during the first full moon in May”.  In Alabama, that happens during the first full moon in April, or that’s what I hear.  I often ask customers who visit here from further South. Temperature must have something to do with that difference.

I was reading websites last night, trying to learn more about Threadfin Shad.  I know they are filter feeders and they eat plankton exclusively.  What I didn’t know is, plankton is light sensitive and rises to the lake surface in the evenings after the sun goes down.  I need to look into this further before I say too much. 

It dawned on me, some of the best fishing for smallmouth bass, that are feeding on the surface, eating shad, happens late in the evenings.  I know that.  I didn’t know that plankton rose to the surface in the evenings.  If what I read is true, I finally figured out something very important.  Correct me if I’m wrong.  I am quoting one scientist on one website.  Maybe I’m the only person who does not know this.

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

Byron Begley
October 29, 2012 

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