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Townsend, Tennessee 37882
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Beautiful River in the Great Smoky Mountains

The Fishing Report 12/15/17 Great Smoky Mountains National Park and East Tennessee
Time of Readings 5:45 am Eastern Time Zone : CFS=Cubic Feet Per Second
Fishing Gauge Indicating Fishing is Slow

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


37.6 Fahrenheit
1.73 Feet 119 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 5:45 am, the temperature outside is 26.2 degrees.

Today will be partly sunny with a high temperature only reaching 40 degrees. The temps will dip to the mid 20’s tonight. Tomorrow will be warmer, with a high in the 50’s. Rain is predicted to move in Sunday and last until Tuesday. It will be much warmer during that period, with highs reaching near 60 degrees.

Little River is flowing at 119 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.73 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 255 cfs. The water temperature is 37.6 degrees this morning.

Fly fishing is slow in the Smoky Mountains due to the cold water temperatures. If you go, use nymphs. Get them down, tickling the stream bottom. The trout will be lethargic for the most part. They won’t waste a lot of energy moving to eat your fly. You may find some actively feeding post spawn brown trout.

The streams will warm beginning Sunday. How much? I don’t know. I could not guess. But, they will be warmer, especially Monday and Tuesday. Fishing should improve some.

I found a great article this morning on the Fly Fisherman Magazine website, about nymphing. You can read it by CLICKING HERE, and you should. This article explains the problems and solutions to “getting a good drift” while nymph fishing.

We have always heard, the water flows slower near the bottom of the stream. We know that the friction of the water moving over the streambed slows it down. There is an illustration of this in the article. A spike was driven into the streambed. Attached at different depths are bright plastic strips. You can see in the photograph, the flag near the bottom is not moving at all with the current. Further toward the surface, they move more, in the direction of the current. The top two are definitely moving with the surface current.

If you use a strike indicator, and you control your leader, it is moving along with the flow you see on the surface. The problem is, your flies that are tethered to the indicator, are moving faster than the current below. That appears unusual to trout, and you may be missing opportunities.

So, what do you do?

You can mend your strike indicator upstream, so your flies drift naturally. Or, you can eliminate the strike indicator altogether. When I started nymph fishing years ago, nobody used strike indicators. I had never heard of them.

I fished using nymphs, weighted, and kept my leader tight, so I could feel the strikes. That works well if you are fishing close. At longer distances, getting a drag free drift with nymphs is difficult. You can’t see what is going on below the surface. You fly line is dragging your nymphs too fast. It is harder to detect strikes without an indicator.

This article offers many ideas to improve your nymph fishing success. I fished Monday with some friends. Fishing was good. We caught a lot of trout. I know, if I had been more attentive to my nymphs, and reduced drag, I would have done better. After reading this article, I am making some changes, next time I go. You should read it too, and you may decide to make changes in your nymph fishing technique.

I know many of you have mastered nymph fishing. I bet there are others who have not.

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

Byron Begley
December 15, 2017

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