Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is foggy, frosty and 27 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Traffic is light. There is not much going on in town or so it seems.  We are between holidays so visitor participation is very low.  But the holidays are coming and so will the visitors.  I stopped at the swinging bridge early to take the water temperature.  Little River looks great.  The water temperature was 43 degrees.  I didn’t see any tubers so the “Tuber Alert” stands at low.

The river gauge is reading 2.71 feet or 505 cubic feet per second.  That’s a lot of water but certainly it is fishable.  Median flow for this date is 203 cfs.  The highest recorded flow on this date was 3,220 in 1992.  The lowest flow on this date was 35 cfs in 1988. 

Fishing will be slow.  The sun is going to be warming the water some later today but at 43 degrees there won’t be much trout activity except for the brown trout that have spawned.  They will be hungry but still very hard to catch.  There is a warming trend in our future.  The weekend looks nice.  It will be warmer at night and around 60 degrees during the day.  Then on Monday, the rain will be back.  We have a 60% chance for showers Monday and Tuesday.  The National Weather Service reports “Showers Likely”. 

I would use nymphs early and maybe try some Blue Wing Olive dry fly patterns later today.  The nymphs should be weighted and fished deep.  You need to get your nymph close to the hunkerd down trout.  When the water temperature is close to 40 degrees and it is that cool right now in the higher elevations, the fish don’t eat much.  They don’t have to.  Their metabolism is slow.  Their energy level is low.  But, like I said, the brown trout that have spawned will be hungry, especially the females. 

I took the day off yesterday.  Early in the afternoon Jack came by the house.  We talked about fishing now and next Spring.  I tied a fly while he watched.  It is a new pattern I’m tying for smallmouth bass.  It is called a Knucklehead.  I’ve never seen anything exactly like it so maybe I finally did something innovative at the bench for the first time. 

We also browsed through the Rainy’s Fly Catalog looking at the Kelly Galloup flies.  Jack stayed until about 7:30.

Jack told me about his boat that I have never seen.  He has it stored at someone’s house. He said he was going to start using it again when he gets too old to wade the streams.  The boat is a 15’ Alumacraft that was made in 1954.  It is powered by a 10 hp 1954 Johnson engine.  He said it still runs great.  Now won’t that be cool, fishing from a vintage utility boat.  My Father used to rent a boat exactly like Jack’s for me to use when I was a kid and we camped at Conley Bottoms on Lake Cumberland.  When our family planned a camping trip to the lake I couldn’t wait.  I could run around and fish out of a 15’ Alumacraft with a 9.9 Johnson for a week. 

Paula and I have a utility boat.  It is 16 feet long and has a 20 hp motor.  The nice thing about these boats is the lack of anything on them that can rot or deteriorate.  Maybe the tires will eventually have to be replaced due to sun exposure.  I leave ours outside at the shop.  It just sits there.  All I have to do is wash it and keep the motor tuned, change the oil and filter and replace the fuel filter every once in a while. I drain the lower unit and replace the oil in it once a year, before the onset of Winter.  Next Spring, I will just wash it, start the engine and hopefully fish all season with very little maintenance.

That little boat is two years old and we have had a great time in it.  We can fish all day and only use 1.5 gallons of fuel.  There is a lot to be said about making life simple.  A utility boat makes life simple and they are inexpensive.

I talked to an customer recently.  He said he is giving up fly fishing.  He is having trouble tying on the tiny trout flies.  He is having trouble wading.  Hey, it’s going to happen to all of us.  I saw it coming a while ago.  So, we bought a utility boat and started fly fishing for smallmouth bass.  Lefty Kreh is 86 years old and he fishes for smallmouth bass out of a boat similar to ours.  It is even the same brand, Lowe.

I’m looking forward to Spring. 

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

Byron Begley
December 2, 2011 

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Our fly fishing classes will be offered from March to October 2011.   To sign up just call the shop at 877-448-3474.  You can read more on our website in the Schools Section.  The fly fishing class schedule follows:

Saturday October 8 – Beginner Day One
Saturday October 22 – Beginner Day One
Sunday October 23 – Beginner Onstream Day Two

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