March Comes in Like a Lion

Trout Fishing Snowman

Everyone shows up on the stream in spring. And we mean everyone!

The calendar says spring, but a quick glance around the streams in the Smokies and you just don’t see it. Unless you can spot a few of the daffodils at Elkmont buried under about 6″ of fresh snow from the weekend.

Weather be damned, we went fishing, and let me tell you how it was. You’ve all probably read about those cold, miserable days when the snow is falling and the bugs are hatching. Fish are rising faster than you cast at them and you don’t mind that cold trickle running down the back of your neck. We’ve been there before and couldn’t wait for it  this time.

Snowy Day in the Smokies

It was almost exactly like that… Just take away the bugs and rising fish. Just miserable, wet, cold, snowy weather. We drummed up about 3 fish in two hours on heavy nymphs with split shot. Rather modest sized fish at that, so when we looked around and noticed there was absolutely no one else out on the stream we didn’t smile smugly. We thought about how smart everyone else was.

It was truly impressive just how much snow there fell in the Smokies and how localized it was. Here in Townsend you could find some snowy patches by midday. Perhaps a dusting of snow at Meigs Falls on Little River and the Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont. Get up to Metcalf Bottoms and you saw some real snow. Move up to the trailhead at Tremont or Elkmont campground and you saw about 6″ – 7″ of snow. The rivers and streams will be very cold this week as all of this melts. (We hope. The weather forecast is calling for more mountain snow this week.)

A Tale of Two Rivers

The tailwater situation is in the middle of a terrific turnaround. We came within a hair of heading over to the Clinch this weekend, but the personal scheduling wouldn’t allow for that much time.


Sounds like it was good. At least that’s what our reliable informants tell us.

To be honest, it probably wasn’t a phenomenal day to be wading if only because of the rising and falling water. Anyone in a drift boat wouldn’t have to be quite so paranoid about watching the clock and the water level.

That’s on our “to do” list for the week. We’ll keep you posted when we make it.

Hope to see you hiking past the daffodils instead of tromping through more snow.



  1. Doesn’t make for great casting if there’s minimal biting and it’s cold and wet! That’s a fine snowman though!

  2. Saw your snowman on Monday. Pretty sure the same one, up above Tremont. Nice job. Didn’t last long though. Rains on Tues morning pretty much did it in. Don’t think we are the only ones that the weather is confusing though. Saw a bat working the water nearby and roosting on a nearby tree. Probably, hopefully not, has something to do with white nose syndrome. Also saw bear tracks up along thunderhead prong. Just an odd couple days. Thanks for sharing the posts.

    • You probably did. It was a little snowman but he was “naked” after the pic. We’ve seen bats on and off through the winter on warm days. Saw some feeding on mayflies over the river about a week ago. A little early for a bear, but not really. I think March 15 is the earliest we’ve ever set eyes on one, but they seem pretty common by April 1. Looking at the weather forecast it seems like spring is about to explode!

  3. Hmmm…a quiet peaceful day in the wilderness, could be worse….

    Like being chained to a desk…eyes glued on a bright (blurry) screen for hours.

    I’ll trade ya….really.

    Spring is just around the corner…Look for me in them thar woods..
    You’ll recognize me…the fella with the toothy grin under the Austrian Hiking hat.