Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee.  The sun is shining on Great Smoky Mountains National Park and from here I can see noticeably less snow on the hills.  Warm temperatures and sunshine yesterday turned much of the white stuff to water.  People are getting out, something that was nearly impossible for days due to the ice and snow.  I saw quite a bit of traffic on my way to work, more than normal for a Sunday morning in January.  The temperature is 27 degrees right now.  It will be sunny today with a high of 45 degrees.  Rain will arrive tomorrow.

Little River is still low.  Flow is currently 179 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 260 cfs.

A surprising number of anglers fished in the park yesterday.  I don’t know how well they did.  The water is cold.  The trout are sluggish.  Large brown trout are the target right now.  Nymphs and streamers are the preferred flies.  You need to get them down.  The trout are hunkered down.  Cold water causes their metabolism to slow down and they don’t need as much food as they do in warmer weather.  But, they will still eat if you get the fly in front of them.  Cold water also causes clear water.  Dissolved solids do not suspend well in cold water.  But, dissolved oxygen does suspend well in cold water. 

Yesterday was busy here.  We had a fly tying class going on and Hugh Hartesell was tying for those who came in to watch.  Walter Babb and Brian Courtney taught the Intermediate Fly Tying Class.  Our parking lot was close to being full a couple of times when I looked out.  Anglers showed up to get charged up about fly fishing.  Customers not only showed up, they stayed.  I spent the whole day downstairs talking to friends and customers.  It was nice.  During the ice and snow I almost forgot what a customer looked like.  Paula and I were here Monday when the roads were horrible and not one customer came in.  I’m glad that is over for a while.

At 2:00 today another crowd will show up.  We are holding our first Troutfest Committee meeting for the year.  This will be our third meeting since August.  Without checking, I think we have about 15 people on the active committee.  The group has grown substantially since I first became involved in the 2009 event. 

This year, Troutfest will be held May 13th through the 15th.  We’ll have the banquet Friday night and the Great Smoky Mountains Fly Fishing Exposition will be held on Saturday and Sunday.  As usual there is no charge to attend the Expo. 

Like the past two years, Bob Clouser, Joe Humphreys and Lefty Kreh will be here all weekend.  To that celebrity lineup we have added Tom Rosenbauer and Zach Matthews for this year’s event.  We call these guys the headliners.  They will be on site and giving free seminars all weekend.  They will attend the banquet too so you can talk to them there.  We are hoping Stan Bogdan will be here again.  That is yet to be determined.

This year we are offering a full color Troutfest Journal, a printed magazine that will be for sale.  We are also selling ads in the magazine as a fundraiser. 

My buddy Jack Gregory will be tying here next Saturday between 10:00 and 2:00.  I’ve been fishing with Jack for probably 15 years.  We have fished for trout, tarpon, bass, redfish and all sorts of finned critters.  He is the best fly fisherman I have fished with.  He has a burning passion for fishing in Belize for permit.  He has fished all over that tiny country.  So, plan on being here next Saturday and meet Jack.  Watch him tie and ask questions.  You will be entertained and you will learn.  It’s free, just show up.

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

Byron Begley
January 16, 2011

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Our fly tying classes will be held in January and February.  To sign up just call the shop at 877-448-3474.  You can read more on our website in the Schools Section.  The fly tying class schedule follows:

Saturday January 8 – Beginner Fly Tying
Saturday January 15 – Intermediate Fly Tying
Saturday January 22 – Advanced Fly Tying
Saturday February 5 – Beginner Fly Tying
Saturday February 19 – Intermediate Fly Tying
Saturday February 26 – Advanced Fly Tying

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