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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is foggy and 29 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Is it really fog?  There was absolutely no fog at our house.  When I drove into Townsend, visibility was near zero.  I saw a television news truck at the Parkway Grocery.  I started smelling smoke.

A fire broke out near Cherokee Saturday night.  Firefighters had the 50 acre blaze mostly under control.  I don’t know what’s going on.  The Park Service has been doing some prescribed burns this month.  I haven’t heard of any that were scheduled this week. 

Little River is flowing at 125 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 142 cfs.  The water temperature was 41.5 degrees at 8:00 am.

Fishing in the Smokies is pretty slow.  It’s the water temperature.  Joel was in here yesterday afternoon.  He said he caught 4 trout on Nymphs.  Other anglers reported slow fishing.  You can catch them.  Use nymphs early.  Pinch on some weight a few inches above the fly.  Make sure you are getting them down near the bottom of the stream. 

When the water warms you might catch some trout on dry flies.  Try a blue wing olive or maybe a parachute blue wing olive.  You can see those better.  The water is very clear.  I would use fine tippet, maybe even 6X.

Fishing has been fairly good in the stocked water here in town.  I would try that, especially if you are going fishing early today.  Fish for stockers here first, then go to the Park for the wild trout. 

This is going to be a beautiful week.  We are expecting lows in the high 30’s and highs in the mid-60’s through Thursday.  The high temperature Friday will be in the low 60’s.  That’s what they are saying now.  It will be mostly sunny through Thursday.  Fishing should improve.  The water will warm some.  The trout will become more active.  Best fishing now is later in the day.

I walked out to my truck just before dark last night at home.  I saw a large bird flying through the woods along our lower driveway about 50 feet from where it was standing.  The bird landed in a tree.  I watched him for a minute.  It was too large to be a hawk I thought.  Finally he turned his head to look at me.  The bird was a Barred Owl.  I walked to the truck then back to the house.  The owl was still perched in the tree, watching my every move.  I went into the house to get my glasses then walked back out.  The owl was still there.  Now, I could see it well.  What a beautiful bird.  Paula came out with me the third time to see it and the owl was gone. 

I’ll never forget the time Frank and I were cleaning out the wood duck boxes back on the creek behind our house.  We built these houses on posts that were hinged below the predator barriers.  We lowered one box down to the ground and opened the lid.  There was something in there we didn’t like and it scared the heck out of us.  We ran about 20 feet and stopped, staring at the wooden bird house.  Nothing came out.  We both crept up to the box to look inside.  The critters we saw were a screech owl and a dead rat that the owl had captured.  He looked a scared as us.  We closed the top and raised the box back into the upright position and left that one alone.

A great horned owl landed in a tree behind our house, about 20 feet from the window just before dark years ago.  I had never seen one of those.  I watched the bird for a minute or so through the window, then it flew off.

A peregrine falcon flew into the glass door at the back of our house once.  I don’t know what he was doing down here.  That was when the Park Service was relocating them to the Smokies.  Our home is located at 1,200 feet elevation.  I would have expected them to be in the higher elevations.  I called the Park to let the wildlife people know about it.  The bird was on the steps and alive but it appeared to be stunned.  The guy at the Park I talked to told me to wait a while and see what happened.  Finally, the falcon flew off.  I called the Park back to let the guy know the bird survived.

The leaves have fallen and people are seeing more birds of prey.  A bald eagle took up residency in town a few weeks ago.  I finally got to see him.  We all think he showed up when the fall trout stocking began.  Apparently, the eagle is gone.  I haven’t heard anything about him in a couple of weeks.

A Park Service wildlife biologist showed up at our house a few years back.  He was looking for a red wolf using a radio controlled tracking device.  Evidently, the wolf was down at our barn.  He planned on shooting the animal with a dart to temporarily put it into a drug induced sleep so he could take it back to the Park.  I told him to go ahead.  He drove down the road and stopped.  I assume he got his wolf.  I saw him driving away shortly after.   

This is an interesting place to live if you are a fan of wildlife viewing.  You never know what you are going to see next.  I’m hoping for an elk.

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

Byron Begley
November 19, 2012

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