Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  The air is crystal clear in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The mountains are strikingly sharp.  The sky is blue and I can see light rising over the hills to the east.  The sun is rising in East Tennessee.  It feels and sounds like Spring.  I could hear birds chirping over the rumble of Little River at the swinging bridge.  The temperature is 41 degrees and it is early.  We will see the temperature rise to the mid to high 50’s today.  It is going to be beautiful.

All the streams in the Smokies are at perfect levels. Little River is flowing at 365 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 297 cfs.  The water temperature was 46 degrees at 8:00 am.  The water will get warmer today.

Fishing in the Smokies is good.  I mean, it’s very good for this time of year.  Tomorrow is January.  Rob had some clients on the river for a half day.  They missed a lot of trout using nymphs and caught 10.  That is a good day this time of year.  I talked to a guy from Idaho yesterday.  He is a good angler.  He caught several trout on the Middle Prong the day before on dry flies.  He was using Blue Wing Olive patterns.  He thought the fishing was great.  Fishing should be good today and tomorrow.  A cold front is moving in Monday.  The low temperature that night will be in the teens.  That will bring the water temperature back down and the fishing will get slower.

Today and tomorrow I would start with nymphs then switch to Blue Wing Olive dries later.  If you see a hatch, switch right then.  I would use larger nymphs, maybe #12 or larger.  We have plenty of water, the trout have not been fished over much and a larger fly might coax a big brown into striking.  Try a Tellico, Prince or Pheasant Tail.  The Blue Wing Olives should be small, #16, #18 or #20.  Those #14’s people saw early this Winter may be gone.

The Holston and South Holston have decent generation schedules today.  Check before you go.  You could find a window of opportunity.  Unfortunately, Norris Dam will be generating all day.

You might also fish Little River in town.  It has been fishing very well.  The warmer water will make the fishing even better.  All the freestone streams in the Park, in the lower elevations should be good or at least good for December 31st.  I would consider Abrams Creek at the upper end if the traffic was not so bad.  I believe I would shy away from there this weekend.  There are a lot of visitors here for the holiday. 

Next weekend we begin our Free Saturday Fly Tying Seminars.  I know Rob Fightmaster will be tying bass flies.  I don’t know who else is tying.  These demonstrations begin at 10:00 and run through 2:00.  All you have to do is show up.  Paula is off today so I don’t have the schedule.  I will put that up on the site Tuesday.

The website reached the 1.3 million visitors for the year.  This report was opened over 200,000 times in 2011.  Our new website should launch in February.  I will be devoting all of my time to that effort until it is done.  I seriously doubt if I will take a day off until it is finished.  I can work on the website from home too.  I am excited about the new look and the new pages.  The new menu is cool too.

Tonight we bid farewell to 2011 and hello to 2012.  I think the United States will enjoy a good new year.  The news is positive on the economic front. Business is picking up in some sectors.  The Consumer Confidence Index, Employment Trend Index and Leading Economic Indicators are rising.  The Consumer Confidence Index stood at 64.5 in December, up nearly 10 points from November according to the Los Angeles Times.  That number is near the post-recession peak.  The markets are doing well despite the problems in Europe.  I’ve got a feeling we are going to see some real growth in 2012.

I have owned a business without a break since 1973.  Believe me, I have endured some recessions.  This one has been the worst.

Soldiers are coming home right now from Iraq. Now that really pleases me, and evidently a lot of other people.  I am most thankful for that.

So, when we celebrate tonight like most people will, I will be celebrating my belief that we are going to have a great year.

We will be closed tomorrow and I will not be writing a fishing report.  Be careful tonight. 

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

Byron Begley
December 31, 2011


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