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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains.  At 5:40 am, the temperature is 48 degrees.  We had a brief shower roll over the house this morning earlier.  We will probably see more rain this morning, then the sun will pop out again.  The high today is predicted to be 51 degrees.

Little River is flowing at 221 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.95 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 294 cfs.  The water temperature is 40.82 degrees.

Little River’s water temperature is on the rise.  The water is still cold.  We should see some warmer water today.  I don’t think it will warm enough to perk the trout up but fishing will be certainly better than we’ve seen in the past couple of weeks.  Remember, the water temperature dropped to almost 32 degrees on some days during that period.

We are waiting for the water to rise into the high 40’s for fishing to really improve.  I don’t see that happening over the next 10 days after looking at the extended forecast.  Maybe it will happen in February.

If you go today, and you should, try nymphs.  It’s a good idea to fish with two.  Get the bottom fly on your tandem rig down to the bottom.  Add extra weight if needed.  A strike indicator may hamper your ability to do that.  You need to be able to adjust the depth of your flies depending on the depth of the water.  Don’t expect too much trout activity.  Though the water is warmer than it has been, it is still cold.

The sun yesterday brought people out in droves.  I was at the shop for about 4 hours.  At one point, our parking lot was almost full.  One customer told me it was full.  We can handle 50 cars.  It was one of those days, with beautiful weather, that pulled us out of the winter doldrums.  I don’t know how many days we had without sun but it was more than I care to see again this year. 

People came to see Tradd Little and Rob Fightmaster tie flies.  Both guys were busy the whole time I was there, talking to customers and sharing their skill-sets.  I watched them both but talked to customers most of the time I was there.  That’s my favorite thing to do in the fly shop.  Saturdays, during the winter, are my favorite days.  There is nothing quite as enjoyable to me, than seeing a fly shop full of people, especially ours.

Today may be similar. I’ll be upstairs doing bookkeeping chores, like every Sunday.  I won’t know what is going on downstairs.

I’m working on the website and tying Knuckleheads at home.  My goal is to tie 60 dozen of those flies before we put them on sale.  I started 2 weeks ago.  We now have 20 dozen, 1/3 of the goal.  With 60 dozen in back-stock, I’ll feel comfortable about staying caught up all year, even when the fishing picks up and keeps me away from the tying desk. 

Clayton Gist, Dick Geiger and I will be working Thursday and Friday on a new fly tying book for the Clinch River Chapter of TU.  Clayton will be tying each step of several flies.  Dick will be shooting the photos.  I’ll be putting the book together, digitally, using desktop publishing software.  By Friday evening, we hope to have a new book in full color, ready to go to the printer. 

Dick, Buzz Buffington and I did the same thing years ago.  We came up with the Chapter’s beginner fly tying book.  They use it every winter for their beginner class.  I think that class is going on right now. 

One very compelling component of the Clinch River Chapter’s mission is education.  It’s pretty much always been that way.  The leadership and members do everything I know of to promote fly fishing, fly tying and trout stewardship.  They have always included members from other Chapters to accomplish their goals.  They have also done an excellent job at building a new group of talented leaders.  And, the founding members are still involved, running projects, classes and community outreach.  I’ve always been a big fan of the Clinch River Chapter.  Our store has always done everything we could to help them accomplish those goals and forward the mission. 

All three TU chapters in our area are in high gear right now.  They are, Great Smoky Mountains Chapter, Little River Chapter and Clinch River Chapter.  By working together with the other two chapters, the each one has their specific goals clearly in sight and making the right decisions to reach them.  It’s a team effort, between all three, the way it should be and the way it was originally meant to be 20 years ago, when the later two were formed.   

Yesterday, I met three members of the Hiwassee Chapter.  They were a family, mom, dad and son.  I could tell, all three are directly involved and enthusiastic about the work and fun found in their own chapter.  TU is alive and very well in our area.

I should attend Tennessee Council meetings.  I think I will.  That way, I can see the big picture, beyond what I see in our smaller region of the State.

There is no news floating around in Townsend or Great Smoky Mountains National Park that I’m aware of today.

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

Byron Begley
January 18, 2015

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