First Snow of the Year Falls on the Smoky Mountains


It’s been a busy week of guiding here in the Smokies with another busy week coming at us fast – like less than 60 minutes, so no time to post photos.

It feels like late November or even December now as we’re seeing high temperatures in the 50’s and over night temperatures as low as the 20’s on the mountain tops. Yesterday the top half of Thunderhead mountain was frosted with about an inch of snow. That was the one we could see from our house, but essentially the entire crest of the Smokies saw snow and Newfound Gap Road was closed yesterday.

The water levels have been on the high side, yet fishable. We experienced fairly steady rains last week that never blew the streams out but brought them up  to exceptionally high levels for October. We sometimes see water levels like this in the fall if the remnants of a tropical storm pass over, but this is virtually unheard of during the Smoky Mountain “dry season”.

We’re fishing nymphs early and even breaking out the split shots on account of the high water and low temperatures. We’re seeing pretty good hatches of tiny Blue Wing Olives in the afternoons and have had some exceptional dry fly fishing. That has dropped off a bit since the cold temperatures set in on Saturday.

Expect to see some leaves in the water, but they’re not really a problem unless you strip a streamer.

We haven’t seen any brown trout out moving around yet but expect to once water levels subside a little more. They are eating well though. One of our anglers missed a brown trout that might have gone 13″ that rose to a dry fly on Friday. On Saturday Jerry Wester hooked something big that just up and left in a hurry before coming off. It was certainly larger than anything we usually hook on Little River and Jerry never had the fish under control. He hooked it on a #10 Prince Nymph fished deep at the head of a large pool.

We’re looking at sunny and cool weather this week. We’ll be in the Smokies and floating the Tuckaseegee and keep you posted.