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 foggy and 27 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Traffic was very light on the morning commute.  I’m running a little late because of Frank, one of the Townsend Police Officers.  No, I didn’t get a speeding ticket. Frank says I’m the second slowest driver in town. 

Actually, he and I were in the parking lot, where the “do it yourself” car wash is located, and we were bouncing “Super Balls” on the pavement.  These things are incredible.  The city bought hundreds of these balls and threw them out to the kids in the Christmas parade yesterday.  Frank gave me a handful of them and we bid farewell for the day.

I’ll let you in on a secret.  Frank’s police cruiser is a brand new Chevy Tahoe.  The back windows are tinted.  The words “Caution K9” are graphically applied to the side windows in small white letters. We joke about it a lot.  He doesn’t have a dog in there.  He is to particular about his vehicle to do that.  But, if he has to, he uses the word “dog” when dealing with someone who is not being cooperative. 

He told me this morning, “I forgot and left my dog at home”.  He does have the ability and means to call in an officer who really does have a dog.

Little River is flowing at 479 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.68 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 273 cfs.  The water temperature at 8:10 am is 42 degrees.

The water levels are fairly high in the Smokies.  They are certainly fishable but you do need to be careful.  We don’t take beginner students on the river if the flow is 2.5 feet or above.  Little River is just barely above that.  The water is chilly.  I would tie on a nymph with weight and dredge the deeper water near the bottom.  Eventually, you will catch trout if you do that on a day like today.

This is going to be a beautiful week with plenty of sunshine through Thursday.  It is going to be warmer as we approach the weekend.  Friday’s high is supposed to be around 62 degrees.  Saturday should be even warmer.  Next week doesn’t look too bad either.  Christmas day should be nice, with a high in the low 50’s.  It may be cold at night.

The inflow of people, coming here for the holidays will begin this weekend.  Many will be fishermen, hoping to do a little of that while they are here.  Right now, it appears the conditions will be fair for fly fishing but don’t have expectations for catching trout hand over fist.  It is Winter.

I know you will enjoy your surroundings more than catching trout.  Winter is so different in the mountains than what most people experience.  There are less people.  There are no tubers.  You can see more because the leaves are off most of the trees.  The water levels are high and gushing over the round rocks.  It is a beautiful time of year.

You do have a shot at the trout of a lifetime.  The brown trout are active.  They spawned in October and early November.  They are hungry.  They don’t care how cold the water is, they will feed.

Clayton Gist will be tying at the shop Saturday.  He is a tailwater trout tying expert.  Clayton is a retired engineer.  He has done some guiding since retiring.  His favorite river is the San Juan.  He drives out there several times a year to fish.  I think he said he had already planned 5 trips to the San Juan in 2014.  He will be tying some awesome tailwater flies between 10 am and 2 pm and it’s free, just show up.  While you are here, register to win a $100 LRO Gift Card.

We have 3 winners who have yet to claim their prize.  Bill May won one.  His e-mail isn’t working for us.  His phone number in our computer must be an old one.  Glenn Claypool and Ron Wollard both have gift cards waiting for them.  Congratulations guys!

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

Byron Begley
December 16, 2013

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