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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is extremely foggy and 31 degrees in Townsend this morning.  When I walked out of the house I noticed a definite lack of noise.  It was perfectly quiet in the forest.  We live quite a distance from a road.  We seldom hear road noise.  But we do hear the critters in the forest outside our house.  Not this morning.  There was a thick coat of frost on my windshield.  Traffic in town was almost non-existent.  It is a very peaceful morning on the “Peaceful Side of the Smokies”. 

Little River is flowing fairly low again, about 1/3 of normal for this date.  Flow is 89 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 260 cfs.  The water temperature is a chilly 40.5 degrees.

It is going to warm up.  High temperatures will be near or above 60 degrees until Tuesday.  We will probably get some rain Saturday night.  We will very likely get rain on Sunday.  The low Sunday night is predicted to be 52 degrees. 

Fishing must be slow in the mountains.  I was off yesterday so I didn’t talk to any fishermen in the shop.  When the water temperature reaches 40 degrees, trout don’t need much food to survive.  They sulk on the river bottoms trying not to expend energy.  The post spawn brown trout will be eating.  But, the water is very clear and low for now.  They will be very hard to catch.

If you decide to go fishing today, definitely start with nymphs and weight them with split shot.  Get those flies down deep in the runs and pockets. Be on the lookout for surface activity.  There is not much food in the streams right now.  The biomass is practically dormant.  But, blue wing olives could hatch and you might see some action.

The streams will become warmer this weekend.  Fishing will improve some in the Smokies.  I would fish in the lower elevations.  

I know for sure I would be fishing the Middle Prong of the Little River and not expecting much.  Tremont is and always has been one of my favorite places to be during the Winter.  It is beautiful. I hardly see anyone.  I just find that stream to be peaceful and being there always brings back memories from decades ago.  My friend Frank and I would meet here in the Winters and fish that stream.  We got skunked some days.  We caught a few trout on others.  We have been friends for 55 years.  Catching trout is not our main mission when we are together.  Having a good time is our mission.

I remember one Winter trip we made to Townsend in the 80’s.  We decided to camp at Little River Village which is now the KOA.  We got out the first morning and the temperature was in the 20’s.  My contacts had frozen in the case.  After building a fire and getting warm we decided to go the a restaurant near the campground for breakfast.  We sat down and were waited on by a nice young lady.  We told her we were camping and fishing.  She said, “I bet you snuggled last night”.  Frank told her, with a straight face, “No, we slept in separate tents.”

He and I laugh about that incident often.  Frank and his wife will be here for the New Year holiday, a 20 year tradition.  I’m looking forward to being with them.

Even though I was off yesterday, I did come by the shop for a while.  Bill told me he had a slow day on the Clinch Wednesday.  He waited for the water to recede then waded in.  He said he caught 3 small trout early on, then nothing.  He fished for two hours and went home. 

I tied a bunch of Knuckleheads yesterday.  My goal is to tie 1,000 this Winter and sell them online.  That equates to 11 per day or less if I tie into the Spring months which I know I’ll have to do.  I tied less than half that last Winter but did not have enough to offer them on our website.  Tying these flies to sell is really not work.  I am at home and the workday is over.  I have the television or music on for background noise.  There might be a beer or glass of wine sitting on my tying bench.  Yesterday I got tired of the Washington news and slid a Rolling Stones concert DVD in the player. This concert was recorded over 10 years ago I think.  It is called “Live at the Max”.  The Stones are one of my favorite bands along with Pink Floyd, Tom Petty and The Eagles. 

I hope the 12/12/12 concert becomes available to us.  I saw a few cuts on TV news.  You can watch some of them on YouTube.  Some of my favorite musicians were playing in that concert to help victims of hurricane Sandy.  Evidently, one of the most re-played song on TV and online was Comfortably Numb.  I’m not surprised.  It is my favorite song ever written and for me, the hardest to play on guitar or piano.  There are a lot of cords in that song.  And I could never learn to play the lead guitar the way Gilmour does it, even if I practiced that song every day for the rest of my life.

Well, the store is opening and the phone is ringing.  Time to go.

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

Byron Begley
December 14, 2012

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