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.  At 5:45 am, the temperature is 33 degrees, warmer than was predicted.  We should see some sun today and a high temperature of 44 degrees.  Tonight will be cold, as low as 23 degrees.

Little River is flowing at 291 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.16 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 332 cfs.

The water temperature dropped all day yesterday and last night.  This morning, that number is 46.6 degrees.  24 hours ago, the water temperature was 54.3 degrees.  That’s quite a drop.

I worked at home yesterday and didn’t talk to any returning fishermen.  I think, fishing has slowed due to the quick drop in the water temperature.  At it’s current temperature, which we saw just 3 weeks ago, fishing was pretty good.  Maybe it will be today.

We may see the water warm today, some, but tonight will be cold.  Expect colder water tomorrow morning.  Next week, it will be warm again.  Tomorrow, the high is expected to be around 60 degrees.  We should reach the 70’s by Tuesday. 

If you go fishing today, try nymphs first.  You may see bugs on the water.  If you do, switch to dry flies.  Even better, try a dry fly and a small bead head dropper.  A bead head Pheasant Tail makes a good dropper this time of year.

The generation schedule at both Norris and Cherokee Dams does not look promising for wade fishing today.  Right now, TVA is reporting their intent to generate all day.  I hate to keep giving you this news.  I’m hoping for a change soon.  I know you are too.

Our Nymphing Tactics Class is coming up Sunday April 19th.  This class will be taught by two experts, Rob Fightmaster and Bill Bolinger.  The first half of the class will be taught in our classroom, teaching rigging and discussion about nymph fishing.  After lunch, you will go to a stream in the Smokies, for on-stream instruction. 

This class could change your life.  You don’t have to be an expert to take it.  You can be a new fly fishing angler.  You will learn tactics, that will allow you to be more successful, probably a lot more successful.  The cost is $125 for the day which includes lunch.  Call the shop at 865-448-9459 to enroll.  We have a few openings at this time.

The Troutfest fundraiser/banquet will be held Friday, April 24th at the Hilton Knoxville Airport at 6:00 pm.  You can purchase tickets from the Troutfest website by CLICKING HERE.  We are also selling tickets at our store.  I just found that out yesterday. 

Troutfest is an event held by the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited, which supports the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s fisheries projects, Trout in the Classroom, the Kids Fishing Camp and other educational programs. 

We are holding a beginner fly fishing class today.  It is full, with 8 students.  This is our first beginner fly fishing class of the year.  I think the next class if full too.  Check our schedule on this website and pick a future date if you or someone you know wants to get started in this incredible sport.  We have started hundreds of people, in this sport, since we began teaching this class 18 years ago.  We have a day one primer, and a second day on-stream class available, twice monthly, through October.  We don’t hold the classes in August.

Of all things, this Winter, I developed a rotator cuff problem in my casting arm. It has been persistent for two months.  Sometimes, I can’t sleep at night.  It’s been awful.  I’ve been hoping that surgery is not necessary, until after the fishing season this year.  What terrible timing this is.  I saw my doctor Monday.  I didn’t mention it.  My plan is to get through the fishing season, then mention it.

All Winter, I’ve been tying Byron’s Knucleheads to sell in the shop.  I tie a dozen per day, 7 days a week.  It takes 2 hours to tie a dozen.  Because one step requires glue to set, I use two vises.  This is an elaborate setup, with both vises mounted on swing arms, so I can push one out of the way, and work on the other.  The vises hang off the tying table, over the floor. 

These flies sell well.  They catch fish well. We sell most of them online, in the Southeast.  You can buy a 6-pack for $19.95.  We expect to sell about 4,000 this year.  I came up with this fly and I don’t want them tied overseas.  So, I do it myself.

I got tied up at the shop for a couple of days this week and didn’t tie any.  All of a sudden, my shoulder pain went away.  Yesterday, I tied two dozen, and had to quit because the pain returned.  It finally occurred to me, tying these flies, two hours each day, was causing the problem.  Moving my shoulder, exactly the same, 14 hours a week, could cause something like that.

So, I rearranged my setup, lowering the vise supports.  I lowered the vises, with the heads just 4” above the table.  I tried tying another dozen using this new position.  I didn’t need to use my shoulder, only my right hand to wind thread on the fly.  The pain slowly went away.  I think the problem is solved, unless I develop carpal tunnel syndrome or something else.  I think we’re back in business.  I plan to tie all day today.

It would be hard to tie this fly using a rotary technique.  There are no more than four turns per step, and each turn has to get tighter as you go, so you don’t cut the foam on the first, but have a tight hold on the last.  I’m sure I could motorize two rotary vises and make it work if I had to.  I hope it doesn’t come to that.  I’m not a machinist, so I’d have to have them designed and made.  The motor would have to turn off and on immediately with a foot switch.  I need two hands on the fly.  A variable speed rheostat wouldn’t work.  Well, maybe it would.  I think you would need to tap your foot on a switch, and get only one complete turn.  I’ll worry about that if my wrist gives out.

I hope you have a great weekend and I hope the fishing if good for you.

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

Byron Begley
March 28, 2015

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