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 raining and 41 degrees in Townsend at 6:17 am.  The rain should stop soon and the air will warm to around 46 degrees today.  It will be cloudy and the wind will be light.  Yesterday was warm and very windy.  The Park Service closed their headquarters and visitors centers, expecting winds up to 70 miles per hour. 

Some roads are open and some are closed in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Their Twitter page keeps changing and it is hard to tell what roads are actually closed.  The tweets are sequential.  You have to read back in time to figure it out.  You can check their roads Twitter page to get updates as they occur.

Little River is flowing strong at 717 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.79 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 364 cfs.  The water temperature is 35.2 degrees at this reading.

I don’t know how much rain we got here yesterday.  The rivers are rising partly due to rain and also because the snow and ice in the mountains is melting.  The Knoxville Airport reported 1.04 inches of precipitation and a trace of snow yesterday.

Fishing in the Smoky Mountains will be slow.  The water is swift and very cold. Wading anywhere will be dangerous. If you go, be careful.

The roofs of several boat docks collapsed due to ice and snow, at marinas on Norrris Lake.  Boats underneath, sank.  You can see the story on WBIR’s website by CLICKING HERE.  This is a sad situation for marina owners, boat owners and the tourism segment of the economy in Campbell County.  With spring approaching, getting these facilities up and running will be problematic.

I had a boat sink at a marina once due to a direct hit from a tornado.  I was one of the lucky ones that day.  The covered dock where my boat was docked didn’t sink.  My boat was easily recovered and put back into service.  Waves must have filled the boat and it was suspended, below the surface, held by ropes.  It was that day I learned, my boat did not have adequate floatation.   

Many boat owners and the marina suffered huge losses. Boats and docks were actually lifted and thrown up on the ground, in the parking area, upside down.  Other boats and docks sank in the lake.  This happened in the 1970’s at Hermitage Landing on Percy Priest Lake, near Nashville.

I lived ¼ mile from the marina and had just come home when the tornado hit.  It blew the roof off the apartment building next to mine.  Except for one employee, working at the marina, I was the first on the scene.  The devastation was incredible.  The man working there ran up to me when I arrived and his eyes were as big as saucers.  He was scared to death.  He was lucky to be alive.  I will never forget that day.

The extended weather forecast shows promise.  They predict, the high temperature March 1st will be 54 degrees with a low of 40.  On the 2nd, it looks to be about the same.  Will this be the beginning of Angler’s Spring?  I hope so.

The dates for Fly Tyers Weekend have been set.  They are November 6th and 7th.  The event will be held again at Tremont Lodge and Resort.  Our shop partnered with the lodge and held Fly Tyers Weekend in November last year.  It was a huge success.

We have a new partner this year.  They are the Southeast Council of the Fly Fishing Federation.  I’ve been working with Marvin Cash, President of the Council.  Actually, some of the leaders of the Southeast Region tied last year at the event.  They enjoyed it so much, they encouraged their board to join in.

One event will be a fundraiser banquet, held at the lodge.  Money raised from the event will benefit the new Fly Fishing Museum in Cherokee, North Carolina.  Like last year, many other non-profit organizations will be involved, including Trout Unlimited, Casting for Recovery and Project Healing Waters. 

We had about 40 different fly tyers, tying in shifts for two days at last year’s event.  This year’s event will require more planning.  We will need much more parking.  More conference space will be required.  We’ll need more of everything.  This year, we have more time to plan.

My little fly tying project at home has taken a turn for the “I don’t know what”.  I decided to tie 60 dozen Knuckleheads to start selling them at the shop.  With a back stock of 60 dozen, I felt comfortable, that I would not get behind through the year.  I could simply tie a few every day to replenish what sells.  Instead of waiting until the 60 dozen were completed, we put them on our website to sell with only 42 dozen in back stock. 

I took 6 dozen to the shop.  They started selling immediately.  Three days later, Daniel told me they need 3 more dozen.  I took them in yesterday.  Now, I’m 9 dozen behind.  And, to get to the original goal of 60 dozen, I’m seriously behind.  I’m also tying Bass Buggers, which will go on sale soon.  So, there will be more fly tying going on here and less of other kinds of work.

I’m doing this because I want you to have these flies for your enjoyment.  Also, I really enjoy making things that make people happy.  To me, this is a small cottage industry, where I’m making something and the shop is selling them.  It’s not work to me.  It is low key enjoyment. 

It is fun to market this little product.  I like watching the orders come in on the internet. I get an e-mail every time someone buys them.  The little ad below kicked it off.  If we run out, we’ll just disable the items on the online store.  I don’t plan on running out unless they sell faster then expected and I go fishing as much as I plan to.  I’ll try my best to keep them in stock all year, something I’ve never been able to do.

I can easily tie 1 dozen per day or about 4,400 during the year.  I’m averaging that now and have been for weeks.  I think I can keep it up.  I takes me about 2 hours per day, spread out from early morning into the evening.  I won’t just sit here all day and tie.  I know that won’t happen. 

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

Byron Begley
February 22, 2015
 

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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