Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee.  This morning it is foggy, frosty and cold, 26 degrees.  It is Winter again.  But tomorrow, it is going to feel like Spring again.  What a year this has been.  We’ve set plenty of records for heat and precipitation both on the high side.  It has not been easy being a fly fisherman.  For me, it seems like every time I can get a day off, it is either too hot, too cold or the water is too high to fish. 

Traffic is light in town.  It will pick up in a few days as we get closer to Christmas weekend.  Then, we will be busy until after New Years Day.  At that point, Townsend will be a quiet little town.  Then the bugs will start hatching and the anglers will be back.

Little River looks good.  The flow is right at 406 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date based on 46 years is 227 cfs.  The water temperature was a chilly 42 degrees at 7:45 am. 

I would not expect fishing to be great today in the Smokies or the lowland rivers in East Tennessee.  Trout will be snug on the bottom of the rivers.  If a piece of food drifts close by, they might eat it.  But for today I would not expect a lot of activity.  The brown trout are still feeding.  They are hungry.  The adults spawned and lost a lot of energy this Fall. 

If you go today, fish nymphs, heavily weighted.  Size and color is not as important as getting them down to the bottom.  I would not use strike indicators.  Often, they hold the fly off the bottom and in varying depths depending on the current.  You might see a blue wing olive hatch.  I wouldn’t count on that.  I would stick with nymphs or maybe streamers until you actually see a hatch.

Wednesday looks better unless the rain that is moving in with the warm front is significant.  We have a 80% chance for rain tomorrow night and a 60% chance on Wednesday.  Then there is a 50% chance Thursday night.  It look like we may get some rain.  But, it is going to be warm, especially at night.  So the water will warm up and the trout will become more active.

The tailwaters near us do not have good generations schedules for wading anglers today.  There may be a couple of breaks on the Holston but they will probably be brief.  The Hiwassee is going to be churning today.  A lot of water is being held in the impoundments, rain is fast approaching and TVA is going to let as much run through the generators as they can.  The dams on the Tennessee River are pushing the water through.  Fort Loudoun Dam is discharging 29,000 cfs.

I think I’ll work on the new website today and tie flies tonight. 

Tomorrow, David Ezell and I will begin the re-design and update of the Troutfest website.  I’m looking forward to that.

Then on Wednesday, I called a meeting of the Laurel Lake Concept Plan Committee.  I also invited our County Mayor, Ed Mitchell.  We will see the first draft of the plan being developed by Steve Fritts of the engineering firm, Barge, Wagonner, Sumner and Canon.  I can’t wait.  I am Chair of the committee to build this lake back and form a 100 acre County Park that will be located a few hundred feet from our house.  The lake should be about 50 acres in size and 20 feet deep.  The lake was drained 20 years ago.  The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation said the dam needed to be improved for safety reasons and the money was not available to do it.

A lot of powerful people here are very interested in this project including U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, State Senator Doug Overbey and State Representative Art Swann.  Doug and Art attended the first meeting we held in the classroom next to my office this Summer.  Also involved are four County Commissioners and our County Mayor.  So this little lake project is going to have some major support.  I’m sure our Governor, Bill Haslam will be interested.  His home is just 8 miles from here so we’ll give him the tour at some point.  I have not talked to him about the project yet.  He knows about it though.  Senator Alexander has a home close to Governor Haslam’s home. So as this progresses, the people who have the authority to get things done will be close by. We will be working with TDEC and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

I’m licking my chops thinking about paddling my kayak and fly fishing for bass and bluegill after work someday.  Here I sit in the middle of trout and smallmouth bass country and thinking about largemouth bass and bluegill.  The thought of it takes me back to my childhood, growing up in Kentucky.

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

Byron Begley
December 19, 2011

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