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.  It is dark and 33 degrees in Townsend this morning.  This will be a nice day, with a high of around 52 degrees.

Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains.  Good Monday morning to you.  It is 40 degrees outside right now.  We are expecting rain today and maybe some snow showers this afternoon.  The snow is not expected to accumulate in the valleys.

Predictions differ in the mountains.  Expect snow up there with up to 2 inches possible according to the National Weather Service.  Newfound Gap Road is currently closed to all traffic.  We may see more roads close in the Park today.  The chance for snow in the Smokies is 80%.

Little River is flowing at 276 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.11 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 360 cfs.  The water temperature at 6:05 am is 42.44 degrees.

The Smokies streams are on the cold side.  Trout will be sluggish.  If you go into the Park, I would stay in the low elevations.  Up high, with snow possible, and high temperatures right at freezing, that’s not a place I would want to be.  Try Tremont, or the West Prong of Little River.   Try another location near an entrance to the Park, in the lowlands. 

Fishing on a beautiful stream in the Smokies during a snowfall is a treat.  Coming down the mountain with snow and ice on the road is not. I’ve done it and I don’t like it.

The guys at the shop are re-arranging.  I think they are doing a great job.  At issue has always been, where to put the fly rods, so they can be seen by customers.  They’ve been moved again and I believe they will show up better. 

Right now, we maintain stock of fly tying materials.  Business is slow during the winter months.  Not many people buy tackle or flies unless we get a warm spell and fishing improves. 

Business picks up in mid-February.  Anglers get anxious.  Spring may be just around the corner.  Shipments of flies and tackle start coming in.  Most of what we get in the Spring was ordered last Fall.  The weather breaks, trout start feeding in the mountains and we’re off and running for another season.  Tailwater anglers become active when the weather gets better.  Those who fly fish in lakes and ponds start gearing up in February.  Fishing trips are planned.  I’ve already rented a house in Florida for next Fall.   

It seems Super Bowl Sunday is the turning point.  Though Spring fishing may be weeks away, to us, it’s time to prepare.  Or, maybe Spring is not weeks away.  That varies from year to year.

The guides start getting phone calls and e-mail.  Everyone is watching the water temperature.  We’re looking at the long-term weather forecasts.

The travel industry is predicting a good year.  Fuel prices are lower and employment is higher.  Great Smoky Mountains National Park had one of its best years for visitation in 2014.  We are seeing some large capital expenditures in the hospitality business in Townsend this year.

Hopefully, we’ll have good water conditions all over America in 2015.  Our fragile fly fishing industry could use a year like that.  Widespread droughts and floods have a devastating affect on the fly fishing business, nationally.  Fly shops can have bad years.  Guides can have bad years.  And that is because we are all depending on weather to survive, prosper or remain in the middle, with no growth or no loss.

We’ve been in business 20 years.  We’ve seen it all, I hope. At our store, we are all hoping for a good year.

We try to keep things interesting during the Winter, especially on Saturdays.  For as long as I can remember, we have held free fly tying demonstrations at the shop on those days.  We hold fly tying classes.  Anglers have a place to go to when they don’t go fishing.  Our store is one of those places.

This Saturday will be a good one.  Roger Lowe will be here, weather permitting.  Roger is a professional guide from North Carolina.  I think, every mountain fly fisherman around here has at least heard of Roger.  He is a Southern Appalachian legend.  Equipped with generations of mountain fly fishing knowledge, he always draws a crowd at our store and anywhere else he travels to.  Unless he is snowed in across the mountain, he will be here between 10 am and 2 pm.  His event is free.  Just show up.  You will be glad you did.

I want to remind everyone, if you need almost anything that has to do with fly fishing, call us at 865-448-9459.  If we don’t have what you want, we can most likely get it for you.  We ship orders every day during the week and on Saturdays too.  We do not charge for ground shipping.  If you need some fly tying material, and you don’t know exactly what it is called, let us help you figure it out.  We are open 7 days a week for you.  We are waiting for your call and we are anxious to fulfill your needs. 

I’m looking forward to the day, hopefully not far off, when I can write a fishing report about nothing but trout slurping flies from the surface, smallmouth bass doing the same, fish bending fly rods and happy anglers doing what they love most.  It’s hard to write a fishing report during the winter.  I probably talked too much about business today. 

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

Byron Begley
January 26, 2015

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