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 partly cloudy and 66 degrees in Townsend on this typical Summer morning.  Wait a minute!  This is December 21st.  Some weather websites are reporting temperatures between 49 degrees and 52 degrees right now.  They are wrong.  I’m here.  I can read a thermometer.

Little River is warming along with the air.  The water temperature at 7:50 am is 49 degrees.  Flow in the river is good at 276 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.22 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 216 cfs.

I think fishing today is going to be good.  It’s been pretty good lately anyway.  This spike in the water temperature will improve the conditions.  Trout should be active.

There is a strong front moving our direction from the West.  Sometimes that has an effect on trout and other fishes feeding habits.  The effect could be good or bad.  I have not figured that out after 57 years pretty serious fishing. 

The three contributing factors to successful fishing according to my experience are: clouds are good, water temperatures are good and the flows are good.  I’m lost when it comes to the barometer.  Right now, the barometer is steady.

Nymphs will work.  Dry flies may work.  Try both.  I would choose a Tellico Nymph, Prince Nymph, Pheasant Tail Nymph or a small black Elk Hair Caddis, #16. 

We may get some rain today.  We will certainly get rain tonight and tomorrow.  It is going to be windy today.  I hate that.  We may have strong thunderstorms tomorrow.  It could be very windy and we may see heavy rain tonight through tomorrow.  If you have a choice, go today.  If it gets too windy, pack it up and go home. 

Fishing in the stocked water in Townsend has been very good.  Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency stocked a good number of large trout.  I saw a picture of one that was reported to weigh 9 pounds.  It looked like a 9 pounder to me.  I’ve seen photos of other large rainbows caught here lately.  The hatchery culls out older brood fish and release them in Townsend most years during December.  What we have now is fairly normal though I’ve never seen a 9 pound rainbow caught in Townsend.

I saw a local fellow heading out of town early this morning pulling his jon boat. You would not see me on the lake today with 30 mph wind gusts possible.  If he was planning to fish the Little Tennessee River, that could be worse.  That river is flanked on both sides by mountains.  Wind is funneled through those hills along the river.  My experience has been, if the expected wind speed is 10 mph, it will probably be more like 20 mph.  Wind direction on that river and the lakes is also impossible to predict.  Once the wind blows on that river, it follows the river’s path.  You can also be cruising in your boat on flat water, turn in a bend, and get blasted in your face by whitecaps. 

We should be busy today with mostly local shoppers and visitors alike.  There are plenty of visitors in Townsend for the holidays.  Our mail order business will come to a grinding halt at some point in the next day or so.  We do sell gift cards online and we can e-mail a temporary gift card if necessary to meet a deadline, which we do right before Christmas for last minute shoppers.

Clayton Gist will be tying today for your enjoyment.  This is the last of our Free Tying Demonstrations until after January 1st.  Then, we will start again, every Saturday.  Clayton is a lifelong fly fisherman with broad experience.  I think of him as a trout tailwater fisherman.  He fishes the tailwaters here and makes several trips to the San Jaun River in New Mexico each year.  The flies you will see him tie and talk about today are his favorite patterns.  Come by and watch Clayton.  Listen to what he has to say.  You will learn a lot about fishing rivers that see plenty of anglers and flies. 

This event is free.  Just show up.  Clayton will be demonstrating between 10 am and 2 pm today.

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

Byron Begley
December 21, 2013

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