Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee.  You won’t believe the weather.  It is overcast, windy and 67 degrees.  That’s right, 67 degrees.  The high temperature today is supposed to be 65.  We have already beat that.  Traffic is light and human activity is absent except for the local folks at the Parkway Grocery.  They are piled in there for breakfast.  I don’t blame them.  Steve and his people give great service, great food and it all comes at a fair price. 

I could not believe the water temperature at the swinging bridge.  It was 51 degrees.  Flow is a perfect 335 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date based on 46 years of datum is 205 cfs. 

So, we have overcast skies.  That is good for fishing.  We have a stable barometer for now.  That reading is low.  Maybe that’s not so good.  The water temperature is great right now and it may warm even further.  Rain is on the way and all indications are we will get 1 inch to 1.5 inches over the next couple of days.  We will see the river and creeks rise.  The low temperature tonight will be in the mid 40’s with a high tomorrow in the 60’s. 

Could you paint a better picture for trout fishing in East Tennessee or the Smokies?  There is one problem today.  It is the wind.  We will have gusts of 25 miles per hour.  The wind seems to be exceeding that now.  But, over the next few days, if we don’t get too much rain, this is going to be a fly fishing extravaganza in December, right during the Holidays.

With this wind, I would shy away from dry flies.  Though the water is perfect for blue wing olives, the wind will blow them away before the trout get a chance to gulp them down.  Also, you are going to have trouble casting a tiny fly using light tippet.  The wind may subside later, I don’t know.

Use nymphs.  Pick typical patterns like a Tellico, Bead Head Pheasant Tail, Copper John, or go larger with a rubber legged creature such as a Girdle Bug.  Try some big heavy flies like a Slump Buster.  You might hook a big brown on something like that.  Or, use some streamers.  Try a sculpin imitation. 

The wind is supposed to be in the 5 to 10 mile per hour range tomorrow.  Keep an eye on the Little River flow gauge by clicking on the “Stream Info” butt on the left.  We have a 100% chance for rain today, an 80% chance tomorrow and a 90% chance tomorrow night.  The temperatures will stay warm throughout this period.

If you are visiting Townsend for the Holidays, bring your fly fishing gear.  Opportunities like this don’t occur in December very often.  I know, the rain could mess things up but I don’t believe it will.  Time will tell.

Anglers are catching stocked trout in town.  There have been some nice trout brought to hand recently.  The further you go downstream in Little River the warmer the water will be.  Smallmouth bass might be feeding.  They shouldn’t be, but this warm spell is unusual so you never know until you try.

We are holding a Ad-Hoc committee meeting this afternoon to work on the concept plan for re-building Laurel Lake.  One of the engineers on our committee e-mailed a drawing to me yesterday.  I did not forward it to the committee.  They will see it this afternoon.  Basically, we are planning a 100 acre County Park with a 50 acre lake.  We discussed building a youth camp where the old one was located.  I thought we decided against that.  But, it ended up on the drawing.  There are over 2 miles of hiking trails which include a loop around the lake and through another public use area. 

There will be picnic sites throughout the park. 

I am hoping our County Mayor will be able to attend this afternoon.  We are getting to a point where we need his input.  He is not on the Ad-Hoc Committee.  He is on the larger committee.  I invited him to attend.

Someone lined up the United States Marines engineering unit from Knoxville to do the grading and repair the old dam.  Evidently, they will do the work on their weekend training sessions at no cost.  The trails will be built by volunteers.  That will be easy.  We will probably need to raise private funding for the picnic tables, parking area and canoe launch.  We will need rest room facilities.

We will make a lot of decisions today and prepare a proposal for public meetings to be held next year.

Try to go fishing this week.  This might be your best opportunity for a while.

The rain just started falling.

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

Byron Begley
December 21, 2011 

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