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 cold, 22 degrees this morning.  Little River’s water temperature dropped last night to 35.8 degrees.  We are expecting frigid temperatures, into the mid-teens tomorrow night and Sunday night.  This is not a good time to be fishing in the Smoky Mountains. 

Little River’s flow is fine at 392 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.19 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 273 cfs.  The problem for anglers is, the water is just too cold.  Trout will not be active.

It snowed briefly yesterday.  In the valley it didn’t stick to the roads.  Higher in the mountains it must have.  Highway 441, Newfound Gap Road is closed due to snow and ice.

Tomorrow, (Saturday) will be warmer, but that won’t be sustained.  Temperatures will drop and there could be some serious bad weather heading our way.  One weather website, predicts snow on Monday, with a possible accumulation of 3 to 5 inches.  Another weather website suggests that chance is only 40% at this point.  I guess our short-term future is rather iffy right now.  There is no doubt, it is going to be cold and good fishing next week will not be in the forecast. It does not appear we can expect Spring fishing conditions until after February 22nd.

Tomorrow may not offer great fishing conditions, but you could visit our store and meet Bill Boyd Jr. and Bill Boyd Sr.  They will be conducting a free fly tying demonstration between 10 am and 2 pm.  Each will be set up in different locations at the shop.

The Boyd’s are talented and innovative tyers and fly fishermen.  They fish for just about everything that swims.  You will be entertained and go away with some new fly fishing and tying techniques. 

Yesterday I talked about Josh Pfeiffer’s smallmouth bass tying class that will be held March 7th.  My buddy Frank, from Kentucky, read the report, called the shop, and signed up.  Frank and I started the first grade together in 1957.  Since I will be helping Josh that day, something I have been looking forward to, now it will be even more fun for me.  I will be teaching one pattern, the Knucklehead.

This is a new class and we want to try it out and build from there.  I can see this developing into a smallmouth bass fishing class, along with some fly tying.  Josh is a smallmouth guide and knows his stuff.  We still have openings so call the shop and join us, March 7th.

Daniel asked me to get some ideas from you, about new fly tying materials, we should stock in the store.  I did that yesterday, and we already have great feedback from you.  We learned about one new tool, that is so impressive, we will be selling them in the shop and online very soon.

The fly fishing industry, as small as it is, offers new innovative ideas and products to the market every year.  We are always trying to find better ways to catch a fish on a fly rod. 

Fly rods keep getting lighter and crisper.  Reels improve with lighter weight to match lighter fly rods.  Anglers invent new flies and use new materials to tie them.  Fly lines get slicker.  Waders now breathe and they are lighter than the old rubberized canvas models I used decades ago.  Remember Ranger waders?

I will never forget when neoprene waders were introduced.  I bought a pair and can’t even remember the company’s name that made them.  The first neoprene waders were not lined with nylon.  We had to turn them inside out, and roll them over our feet and up our legs.  The bare neoprene would not slide on your clothing.  But, they were warmer, in fact too warm.  Later, another company came to market with lined neoprene waders that could easily be slid over your clothing, eliminating turning them inside out. 

Then, nylon, waterproof breathable waders came on the scene.  That changed everything.  That changed our lives.

Look at how far conventional bass fishing has come over the decades.  Now that is amazing.  I remember, in the 1950’s, Brack Maupin showed me how to fish using a rubber worm for bass.  Brack was my father’s age and they were friends.  Brack was a fisherman.  He influenced my fishing life from a very early age.

Brack came over to our house, sometime in the late 1950’s, with something I had never heard of.  It was a rubber worm, made by the Creme Lure Company. We walked back to one of the ponds on our farm with our spinning rods.  He showed me how to put the worm on a hook so it would be weedless.  He showed me how to crawl the worm along the bottom of the pond. I caught some big bass that day, and many more after that.  This fairly new method of fishing worked and still does today.  Actually, the Creme Worm was invented in 1949.  That alone changed the fishing world.  CLICK HERE to read the history of the Creme Plastic Worm.

These worms were not really made of rubber.  They were a mixture of polymers and oils.  Later we would call them “Plastic Worms”, their real name.  At some point, one or more companies introduced these worms in the color, “purple”.  The purple worm worked extremely well when crawled along the lake beds.  Purple was the hottest color for bass at one time, at least for me. 

Daniel special ordered some purple Whiting Bugger Packs for me and they arrived yesterday.  I have more purple tying materials ordered.  This year, I’m adding purple to my selection of warmwater flies.  Soon, I’ll have purple Wooly Buggers, Knuckleheads and Dragons, the top three flies I use for warmwater species.  I bet they work well.  That color was deadly in the 1950’s.  Why not now?

Purple is close to black.  Black is a very productive color for smallmouth bass. Maybe a few shades toward the magenta side will work better.  You don’t see many purple warmwater flies.  Purple is getting more popular in trout patterns.  You may not know that yet, but you will.  I’m betting it will become popular with warmwater fly fishermen.  I’ll let you know how it works this Spring.

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

Byron Begley
February 13, 2015 

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