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Beautiful River in the Great Smoky Mountains

The Fishing Report 11/16/17 Great Smoky Mountains National Park and East Tennessee
Time of Readings 5:50 am Eastern Time Zone : CFS=Cubic Feet Per Second
Fishing Gauge indicating fishing is between slow and good.

Water Temperature Little River
Stream Flow
Rainfall 2017 YTD Knoxville Apt
Rainfall Normal YTD Knoxville Apt


49.1 Fahrenheit
1.93 Feet 167 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 5:50 am, the temperature is 49.6 degrees.

It will be warm today, through Saturday, with highs in the 60+ degree range during the day. Tonight will be chilly, but tomorrow night will be warm. Expect rain Saturday afternoon and evening. Then, cold air moves in Saturday night.

Snow is in the forecast at the highest elevations in the Park, Saturday night and Sunday morning. I am looking at Newfound Gap and Mount LeConte’s forecast. Most places in the Park, will get rain instead.

Little River is flowing at 167 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.93 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 138 cfs. The water temperature is 49.1 degrees this morning.

Water temperatures are improving, especially in the low elevations. Fish later in the day, after the water warms more. I think Saturday will be a good fishing day, due to the warm days and a very warm Friday night.

I would use nymphs, unless I see a hatch or aquatic insect activity on the surface. I am probably going to be writing this same recommendation, until Spring. Most anglers use nymphs during the late Fall and Winter.

You may see a blue wing olive hatch at any time. So, be ready for that with matching dry flies. You may see tiny black stoneflies or caddis.

Still, most days during the cold months, nymphs work best. They should be weighted, and fished deep during the colder months.

Some anglers use strike indicators in the Smokies. Others do not. Sure, strike indicators help us detect strikes. I have caught a lot of trout in the mountains, and elsewhere, using strike indicators. They allow you to fish, and get a drag free drift, from a longer distance.

One problem is, you can’t vary the depth downward, during a drift, using a strike indicator. Much of our nymph fishing here is done close, using a “high sticking” technique. Doing this, you can lower your rod tip to allow you nymph or nymphs to descend deep when you need to. And, you can pull the nymphs up, when they are approaching shallower water. You have more control.

But, you don’t detect the strikes easily without a strike indicator. It takes practice and developing a feel for what is going on below the water’s surface.

So, try both. I do. I prefer to not use a strike indicator, but sometimes I catch more trout, when I do. I suppose it depend on the mood you are in. Beginners usually do best using strike indicators.

It has been, and will be absolutely beautiful here. It is warm. I was outside last evening, wearing a short sleeve shirt, cutting logs with a chain saw, until dark. It is going to stay warm until Sunday. If you can get outside now, do it. This won’t last forever.

I started feeding the birds this week. I raked a path through the woods behind our house, and throw seed on the bare ground. I hung two bird feeders yesterday morning on steel shepherd poles. The birds are going crazy, eating sunflower seeds and white proso millet.

For a while, I will bring the feeders in the house at night. Bears are still active, or somewhat active. If a bear ambles by a bird feeder, you can consider that feeder “destroyed”. I know from experience. I have not seen a bear around our house since bear hunting season opened. I think the bears head to the Smokies for safety. When bear hunting season ends, it is usually cold, so they are likely denning, or at least, very inactive.

The turkeys have not found the bird seed I am throwing out. They will. I walked down toward the barn yesterday, and saw 6 turkeys. They didn’t seem to be bothered much by me. I walked fairly close to them, before they walked off. I see turkeys around our house every day. They just have not figured out I am feeding the other birds, not yet.

I think we will have some fairly good to good fishing through Saturday. A cold front will be moving in, and sometimes that slows the fishing. If you can, you should go.

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

Byron Begley
November 16, 2017

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