Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is cloudy and 34 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I noticed quite a bit of human activity on my way to work.  Businesses are getting ready for another holiday weekend.  Frank, one of our policemen and the Fire Chief were parked in front of a house about a block from the store.  They had their emergency lights flashing.  I didn’t stop.  Something serious was going on.

We got some snow in the mountains.  The higher ridge tops are pale white.  Kathy’s roof is white.  She owns Grace Hill B & B, the highest elevation building in our County.  I don’t think we got much snow.  Maybe higher up in Great Smoky Mountains National Park there could be a heavier layer of the white stuff.  We did collect .33 inches of rain in our gauge.  The Airport reported .80 inches there. 

The USGS site shows a upward rise in Little River.  It peaked about mid-day yesterday and started dropping.  Right now the flow is 485 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 293 cfs.  There is plenty of water and the temperature at 7:55 am this morning was 44 degrees.

Fishing will be fairly good today in the Park. I would fish in the lower elevations where the water is warmer.  Use nymphs, add some extra weight and get them down.  That will work.  You may not catch many trout but a few brought to hand in the Winter is doing well. This time of year you have to work for them.

Josh and Travis floated Little River yesterday through town.  They caught mostly rainbow trout.  But they also caught a brown trout.  That is happening more often lately.  There is a man who used to catch browns on the Clinch River and release them in the river here.  I don’t know if that has anything to do with the browns in the river.  He may not be doing it anymore.  Maybe TWRA stocked some browns this Fall when they released the larger rainbows.  Josh said they also caught one smallmouth bass.

I have read, when the water temperature dips to 50 degrees, smallmouth bass stop feeding. But, there are people who fish the lakes using a rig called a float-and-fly who catch these fish during the winter.  Now, those bass are deep, maybe 15 feet or more. 

Yesterday, I heard about a guy who caught some very large smallmouth bass using live minnows in Tellico Lake recently.  He was also fishing the lower end of the lake, not below Chilhowee Dam.  So, maybe that 50 degree rule I’ve thought to be true for a long time is in fact wrong.  And maybe these fish can be caught in the rivers during the winter.  Josh or Travis caught one yesterday.  That is something to think about.  How you fish with a fly rod for winter smallmouth bass might require entirely new techniques.  Most of the smallmouth bass forage is dormant during the cold months.  Baitfish patterns might be the ticket.    

The wind is still today.  The sun will be shining today in East Tennessee.  That will be a nice change. It is going to be cold tonight.  The National Weather Service is predicting the low to be 26 degrees in the valley, colder than that in the mountains.

Norris Dam continues to blow water into the Clinch River tailwater below.  I did talk to a fellow yesterday who fished the Clinch pretty much from the bank and caught a few small rainbows on flies.  We are going to see dry weather for several days.  That is good.  These reservoirs need to be drained down to winter pool.  After that, we’ll have more tailwater fishing opportunities. 

We reached a milestone on the website yesterday.  We surpassed 1.3 million visitors since January 1st.  And there are a few days left in the year.  Lately we have been averaging 4,000 to 5,000 unique visitors each day.  I think our visitation last year was 1.2 million visitors.  This report has been opened and hopefully read by 199,752 people this year.  We’ll top 200,000 for the year sometime today.

We will publish our Free Fly Tying Demonstration schedule this week I hope. If you sign up for our e-newsletter in the box below you will get a notice about the demos. Paula is lining up some great fly tyers. These events will begin the second weekend in January.

It is opening time.

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

Byron Begley
December 28, 2011

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