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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains. At 5:44 am, the temperature is 30.7 degrees. Today’s high temperature will reach 51 degrees. Tonight will be fairly cold, 34 degrees.

Then, the warm air arrives. We will have high temperatures in the low 60’s through the weekend with lows at night in the mid to high 40’s.

Will this warmth, raise the water temperatures and give us great fishing this weekend? I don’t know. The water will be warmer, maybe approaching 50 degrees. We have snow in the mountains but probably not much. That will have to melt, which may slow the water temperature rise. I saw some new snow, clinging to the trees, on Scott Mountain last night from our house.

I got excited when I saw the updated forecast yesterday. Maybe I was overly optimistic at the time. Maybe fishing will be very good this weekend. Maybe it will just be fair. It all depends what happens with the water temperature and I don’t know for sure, how warm the water will get. What we are looking for is 50 degree water.

The flows will be very good. Little River is flowing at 567 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.59 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 333 cfs. The water temperature is 41.9 degrees this morning, cooler than it was yesterday morning.

Flows are on the high side of good. The levels should continue to drop today and tomorrow. But, there is snow in the mountains. I don’t think there is very much.

I think the trout will be very active this weekend and we may even see some hatches. I just can’t say right now, how good the fishing will be. It all depends on the water temperature.

We’ll see plenty of local anglers fishing this weekend. No doubt about that. If you are planning a long trip to get here, you may want to wait.

The one thing I don’t want, is a fisherman or group of fishermen, driving here to fish, and be disappointed. And I don’t want to be the cause of that. So, I think I’m being conservative for that reason.

We should know more tomorrow.

I do know this and I’m positive, I’m looking forward to this warm weekend. The warm temperatures will last through Tuesday. I will be working every day, but I’ll get outside at some point. I suppose I’ll be working 7 days a week for a while. We are trying to get our new online store launched. I hope we get that done sometime in March.

Tradd Little and Dan Moneymaker will be tying at the shop Saturday between 10 am and 2 pm. This event is free. Just show up. You will enjoy and learn from both of these guys.

We are holding a beginner fly tying class Saturday. It is full, with 8 students. They will be in the classroom all day.

Bill Reed and Park Burson from Orvis will be here next Thursday. I am really looking forward to that. Parks is our sales representative, someone we have worked with for about 15 years. He’s a great guy and good friend.

Bill is the Sales Manager of Orvis Wholesale. I’ve always considered him my "Orvis Boss", but more than that, a very good friend. If I have a fly shop related issue, something that is very important, I have sometimes called Bill for advice.

When he hired Park, Bill knew I had worked with him for a long time. He called me for advice. I told him he should hire Park.

There are a few people in our industry, I contact if I need advice.

One is Frank Bryant, President of Chota. He is a friend I can count on for an honest and good answer or solution to a problem. We are very personal friends too. We enjoy being together. We laugh a lot.

Another is Rick Pope. Rick owns Temple Fork. Rick has guided and mentored me for a long time. I really appreciate our friendship. He is working on a branding and marketing project and hired a firm to figure it out and implement. He had that firm call me two weeks ago. We talked for an hour. I gave them my honest opinion and followed up with some e-mail containing ideas that might help.

I’ve always relied on Lefty Kreh for advice. He sees our industry from a different perspective than most of us. He is very bright, he likes me and Paula, and he has always been helpful. When Lefty talks about business, I’m listening and taking notes. Lefty does not have to take notes. He remembers everything. I have always been amazed at that.

Lefty, Rick Pope and I have spent a lot of time together, just the three of us. If you have those two guys at the dinner table, you are going to learn about the fly fishing business.

Looking back at the times I’ve spent with Bill, Frank, Rick and Lefty, we almost never talk about fishing. We talk about business. Well, Frank and I do talk about fishing. We go fishing together, and talk about business.

Joe Humphreys is a very helpful friend. He has given me a lot of good advice. Now, when I’m with Joe, we do talk about fly fishing.

I suppose I’m in an odd situation. My business and my favorite pastime are the same. Both are about fly fishing. Then, I look at Bill, Frank, Rick, Lefty and Joe, they are in the same situation I am. Their work, sport and passion revolve around fly fishing.

I get and act on advice from my friends Jack Gregory and Frank Brown. They are not in the fly fishing business. They are just smart and willing to help me. We are very close friends.

The best advice you can get, when you are in business, comes from your customers. What customers see, and relate, is on the highest level. What really matters is business, is what your customers think. I get plenty of advice from customers. I do listen to customers and try to react to what they say.

And then there are the people who work in the business. They meet and talk to customers all day long. They know more about our business than I do.

Maybe the lesson here is, if you run a business, keep your mouth shut and listen. I should do more of that. In fact, now, I am doing more of that.

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

Byron Begley
February 18, 2016 

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