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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is overcast and 63 degrees in Townsend this morning.  It feels like Spring. Last night, I was grilling lamb chops outside and saw moths flying around the deck lights.  That is pretty unusual in December.  This has been an unusual year.

Little River is flowing at 224 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.07 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 218 cfs.  The water temperature at 8:05 am is 51.5 degrees. 

Fishing will probably be good today unless this front moving in has some affect on the trout.  The water temperatures and flows are great for fly fishing.  Also, it is overcast.

I would use nymphs of course.  The fly choices are wide and varied.  The patterns probably don’t matter much so long as they are typical for the Southern Appalachians.  A Pheasant Tail or Tellico would be typical.  If you see adult insects on the surface and trout rising to them, by all means, switch to a dry fly.  The trout are going to be active except for that barometer fluctuation and who knows what that will do to the fishing.  I haven’t figured that out yet. 

It is going to rain every day through Monday though the chance Saturday is low.  How much rain we will get is debatable.  The National Weather Service thinks we may get over 4 inches in some areas, especially on the Cumberland Plateau and Southeast Tennessee.  If that happens, there will be some high water and flooding. says we’ll get ¼” today and ½” tomorrow.  They also say we’ll have a 80% chance for light rain on Sunday.  They do not mention flooding.  So, we’ll have to wait and see.

So, fishing may be great this weekend or it may be slow depending of course, on the weather.

Rainfall at the Knoxville Airport is 17.26 inches above normal for the year.  Much of that increase came in the Spring.  From what I remember, it rained about every weekend during the Spring.  Tourism, fishing and recreational boating all suffered as industries throughout the Southeast United States.  It affected our business too.  This was a tough Spring for anyone in the fly fishing or conventional fishing business.  That is common knowledge throughout the angling industry.

We got hit with a double whammy!  Great Smoky Mountains National Park closed for over two weeks in October, one of our better business months.  We ended the month way down from October 2012.  It has been a strange year.

I was off yesterday.  I tied flies and serviced our boat’s motor.  I changed the oil and oil filter, changed the fuel filter, replaced the spark plugs and the gear case oil.  I ran the engine for a few minutes, then poured the gas from the boat’s tank into my truck.  She is ready for Spring, almost.  I’m going to have the dealer replace the impellers in the water pump.  Spring will be here before we know it. 

I also tied Game Changer flies yesterday.  I finished three except for coloring and gluing on the eyes. 

The Greenway in Maryville and Alcoa may connect to the Greenway in Townsend if somebody can come up with $24.5 million. The Greenway extension will be a paved pedestrian and bicycle trail.  Most of that money, $21.1 million would be spent through the curves on Highway 321 between Walland and Townsend.  There, the highway is 2 lanes and meanders between steep bluffs and Little River.  In places, this trail may need to be cantilevered over the river. Economic benefit is projected to be $65 million over 10 years. 

I would certainly use the Greenway though I doubt if I would ride my bicycle all the way to Maryville.  By the time this project is funded and completed, I bet electric bicycles will be affordable and capable of longer distances.  If I got tired of peddling, I could switch to the battery. 

You can read an article about the project in the Daily Times by CLICKING HERE.

You can paddle a canoe or raft from Townsend to Maryville in Little River.  That Greenway was built millions of years ago.  I think that distance is about 30 miles, maybe less or maybe more.  The full length of Little River is around 50 miles, from Elkmont to the Tennessee River.  It is downhill all the way.  You do have to portage 2 or 3 dams depending on where you start.  A trip like that would take me forever because I would be fishing. 

Somebody caught what appeared to be a 9 pound rainbow trout in Little River in Townsend.  I think he caught it the last week in November.  I saw the photograph in the Daily Times.  The trout measured 26 inches long and it was hefty.  It looked like a 9 pound rainbow to me.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency stocks trout in Little River through town in the early Winter, usually in December.  Many of these trout are brood stock from the hatchery, very old fish that don’t have many years left.  Those trout are in the river right now.  If you don’t believe me, ask the two bald eagles that are hanging around town right now.  I saw two at one time last week.  They were in trees next to the river.  I know what they are eating.

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

Byron Begley
December 5, 2013

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