Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is overcast, foggy, raining lightly and 38 degrees in Townsend this morning.  It’s kind of nasty out there. I came to work before dawn and I maybe saw 4 or 5 vehicles on the roads.  The weather will be better this afternoon.  Look for partly sunny skies and 46 degrees, not bad for a Sunday in January.

Little River is back to normal.  Flow is 323 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 303 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:30 am was 41.5 degrees.

You might get some fly fishing action today.  Fishing will not be good but you should be able to catch some trout.  Use nymphs and get them down or try a blue wing olive dry fly.  I would take a Tellico Nymph, Prince Nymph, Bead Head Pheasant Tail and a #16 Blue Wing Olive Parachute fly, probably two of each and that’s it.  Let me add a #6 Girdle Bug to that list.  Now, that’s it.

There have been some nice trout caught lately in the Little River.  I saw Ethan in here yesterday.  His brother Joe caught a 27” and a 22” brown trout during the past few days.  Ethan said he caught a 15” or16” rainbow, (I think) above the Sinks which would make it a wild trout.  He said it was skinny.  That is a huge rainbow in the Smokies. 

I saw some pictures yesterday of two big fat rainbows caught by a youngster in Gatlinburg.  I guess he was fishing in the Kids Only Section but I could be wrong.

We were hopping here yesterday.  At one point our 50 car parking lot was full.  Lots of people were here for the fly tying class and the free fly tying demonstrations. What makes Saturdays during the Winter fun for me is, I know just about everyone in the store and when you see that many people you know, how much better can it be?  Everyone was having fun and learning new fly fishing stuff.  Walter Babb and Brian Courtney were teaching a beginner fly tying class.  Roger Lowe and Jack Gregory were demonstrating to everyone who attended, how to tie some very important flies for the Smokies.  It was a great day to be here.

I know what will happen next.  Everyone in town forgets.  I’ll hear it several times tomorrow.  How did you get all those customers in your store?  Business is slow in Townsend this time of year.  When our parking lot is full in January, other business people take note.

I think, one reason business is slow in Townsend during the Winter months is, stores and restaurants are closed for the season.  We have a chicken or egg scenario.

If your store is closed, you won’t do business.  We all know that. 

If your business is open, and there is not a reason for people to come to town, your business will be slow. 

If every business in town, gave customers a reason to visit every Saturday during the Winter, business would be good.

We do not have a large selection of retail stores in town.  This is a tough place to prosper in the retail business.  But, we could do better.  Maybe we all need to work together.  One business feeds other businesses.  Maybe a fishing spouse would spend time here while the non-fishing spouse shopped somewhere else, took a hike or horseback ride.  After that, everyone would go out to eat.

I talked to several people yesterday who commented on the great food and service at the Firefly Café, which is located very close to our store.  Deborah does a great job.  Her restaurant is always busy.  On New Years Day, 11 of us had breakfast there and we had to wait outside the door until some other customers cleared out.  I bet Janice and Steve were open.  They own Miss Lily’s Restaurant.  Some of the other restaurants in town were closed for the season.  What does that tell you?

I can understand why business owners close for the Winter, sort of.  To make a living here you have to work long, hard hours during the tourist season.  Nobody in the restaurant or retail business is really going gangbusters in Townsend.  This is a hard place to make a living.  We live here because we like it and we don’t mind hard work as long as we can call Townsend our home.  After months of going wide open, 7 days a week, business owners get tired.  They want their time off.

Operating a seasonal business is a tough row to hoe.  I think we can all do better if we put our heads together.  If I get a chance, and I can find some stores open, I think I’ll try to get something going today.  I bet the Firefly Café will be open.  I’ll start by talking to Deborah.  I bet Miss Lily’s is open.  I’ll talk to Janice.

Steve has good ideas.  One Thursday per month, they have “Beer Club” at Miss Lily’s.  For $20 you can eat some great food and enjoy some local brews provided by micro breweries in the area.  I wonder what would happen if Steve had “Beer Club” every Saturday during the Winter?

I bet Laurel Valley Resort would be open to pooling our efforts.  I’ll send Chad an e-mail.

I like getting here early and doing some thinking out loud on this page.  I hope you don’t mind.

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

Byron Begley
January 6, 2013

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