Wednesday marked the official first day of spring for 2013, which can mean many things to the outdoor enthusiast. It could mean spring cleaning – not the carpets and bathrooms, mind you, but the gear shed and the tents. It could mean breaking out the mountain bike and making sure the brakes still work – recommended before your first ride. Or it could mean the beginning of another fly fishing season if you don’t have the stomach for winter fishing – it’s ok, few do. The weather has been up and down in March and the fishing has been spotty with high flows and blown out streams. Just when you thought it was safe to get on the water, another winter storm blew in and ruined everything. Late March and early April is the prime window for early season trout hunting, so the time for excuses is over. The time to fish is now.

If you have spent the past couple of weeks opening rod tubes and taking fly inventory, head down to your local river this weekend and wet a line. Even if the water conditions are not ideal, you’ll still have the chance to whip the rod around and make sure you still have what it takes when the hatch comes. Who knows, you may even see some dry fly action once you settle in.

We recommend you hit the Little River outside Townsend, TN and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Roadside river access and an abundance of species – including big browns, rainbows and smallmouth on the lower sections – means it’s a near can’t-miss fishing opportunity. Obviously, that’s an overstatement, but you’ll have fun either way.

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