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 overcast and 24 degrees this morning.  We have a light covering of snow on the ground and ice in the trees.  The big ice storm, everyone was talking about yesterday online, missed us.  We got rain though.  It rained all day and into the night.  There was some sleet mixed in and it did stick to the trees. 

I checked our concrete drive last night at 8:30 and it was wet, not frozen.  I checked this morning and it was dry, not slick.

What lies ahead is very cold air starting tomorrow night and lasting through Friday.  We’ll see low temperatures in single digits tomorrow night and Thursday night. One weather website predicts a low of -7 tomorrow night. I don’t know who to believe.  The National Weather Service and the other weather sites don’t agree.  We may get some snow this week.

Little River is flowing at 479 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.37 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 350 cfs.  The water temperature at 6:45 am is 36 degrees.

Most of the roads in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are closed.  The Park Service Twitter page does not include the Foothills Parkway in that closing list.  That road is near us so maybe it just rained there. I don’t know for sure.  Maybe they forgot to post it on Twitter.

Fishing will be slow in the Smoky Mountains.  It appears, fishing will be slow at least until February 25th due to cold water.

I just got a call from Daniel and they won’t be opening the store today.  He said they are frozen in and the power is out.  He also said the temperature at his house is 16 degrees, 9 degrees colder than it is here.  It is supposed to be sunny today so maybe they will open later.

We closed the store due to bad weather one time before, in the 90’s.  Last year, we closed early one day.  The guys were leaving because of snow, so I left too. I think they closed early yesterday.  Paula and I used to run the shop when we had bad weather and other people could not come to work.  We’ve always had 4-wheel drive trucks. Also, snow and ice always seems to be worse elsewhere than in Townsend.  Maybe our valley is protected from colder temperatures, resulting in less snow and ice.

I’ll be working on our website today and tying Bass Buggers to sell in the shop.  The first thing I’m going to do is design a new page for a new product, our Early Spring Fly Selection.  This will be a dozen of the best flies to use here when the Spring hatches begin. 

We have another new fly selection that will be available this week, a Knucklehead 6-pack.  I’ll probably go the store today and photograph the selection, in a box, at our studio.  The Knucklehead 6-pack includes two each in three colors, Black, Chartreuse and Yellow.  It will sell for $19.95.  For a little more, you can buy the 6 pack with a cool fly box that is perfect for holding Knuckleheads.  It will sell for $24.95.

That fly is the only one I’ve actually come up with on my own and I’ve been tying flies over 50 years.  That shows you I’m not much of an innovator.  I always tied other people’s flies.

I had a need for this one because of the huge amount of time I used to spend making poppers.  Another reason I decided to make a new fly is, I loved fishing with Stealth Bombers but sometimes I could not see them in the riffles when I was wading in Little River, fishing for smallmouth bass. I wanted a similar foam fly, that floated higher.

You may be wondering why I’m tying Wooly Buggers to sell.  Every fly company sells Wooly Buggers.  It is one of the most popular streamers ever made.  Maybe a Clouser comes close, but Wooly Buggers have been around a lot longer.

I’m tying these because, we could not find any fly companies offering that pattern tied on a bass stinger hook.  Additionally, most of those we could buy are not weighted.  I tied them for me, so I started tying them for you.  We call it a Bass Bugger.

It is black and tied on a #4 Gamakatsu B10 S hook.  It is weighted with 12 wraps of .020 lead free wire.  The hackle is the best, Whiting Farms Bugger Hackle.  The head is coated with epoxy because I like that. They will also be for sale this week or next.  I’ve tied a bunch of them already.

This is not a large Wooly Bugger, it’s just tied on a hook with a very wide gap.  And, the hook is sharp.  It is shorter than many Wooly Buggers we sell.  I think smallmouth bass like smaller flies.  Many experts agree with me.

I’m just anxious for Spring to arrive so I can start using all this stuff. 

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

Byron Begley
February 17, 2015

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