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 the 1st of April and this is going to be a beautiful day.  At 6:20 am, the temperature is 48 degrees.  The high today is supposed to be 73 degrees.

Little River is flowing at 323 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.24 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 393 cfs.  The water temperature is 50.9 degrees this morning.

High temperatures, through April 10th, are predicted to be in the 70’s to near 80 except for Saturday.  We have a chance for rain this week.  Rain is likely next week.

Fishing is excellent again.  Dan Munger caught 51 trout Monday.  That is a good day in anyone’s book of fishing adventures.  He said, at one point, he was getting a rise on almost every cast.  He caught most on a Parachute Adams.  I saw some of his cell phone photography.  He showed a measuring tape, next to a brook trout, that measured 9 inches.  He caught all three trout species, rainbow, brown and brook.

At this point, trout will take most reasonable offerings, nymphs or dry flies.  Nymphs will probably work best in the mornings.  Dry flies are what I would use in the afternoons.  A dry fly and a small nymph dropper will work.  Weenies will work. 

The key is, the temperature is rising to the trout’s preferred range during the day.  I think the perfect number is around 58 degrees.  That should happen this week.  The fish’s metabolism is in a high but normal range.  They are hungry.  They are looking for food. Also, stream flows are good for most angler’s tastes right now.

Our store ended the month last night, up 21% from the same month last year.  We’ve been growing for a while.  But, nothing like that.

The lakes are fishing very well.  Most of the fishermen I have talked to are not fly fishermen.  You don’t see many on the lakes.  Paula and I planned to fish today, but income taxes got in the way.  Preparation took longer than I thought it would yesterday.  I’ll be doing more of that today.

Tennessee Valley Authority is cutting back on their generation at Norris and Cherokee dams.  They are not perfect, but opportunities abound.  Check the TVA website this week and you might find a time period where you can get out there and catch some trout.  Boat drifting flows are much better on the tailwaters.  Wading may or may not be to your liking.  Since we are not expecting heavy rain, and the fact that TVA needs to think about filling the lakes for the boating season, we should see better tailwater fishing soon if not now.  The Holston River looks especially good today.

Paul was thumbing through our class schedule yesterday.  I walked up and heard he and Dan talking.  Our classes are filling faster than we can remember.  They discussed adding additional classes, later this year, if the trend continues.  There is no doubt, we are experiencing an increase in newcomers to our sport.  I don’t know why but it’s happening.  We need to be prepared.  Our class tuition dollars were up 600% in March, not including yesterday.  Future anglers are pre-booking early.  Paul asked me if I’m doing anything different in our school online marketing.  I’m not.

Paula and I plan to fish some lakes next week, probably two days.  Jack and I may fish one day or an evening next week too.  It’s time.  I finished re-rigging the boat last night after painting the interior and adding new floors.  We would be out there today, if it were not for getting the income taxes finished. 

One problem we encounter often when lake fishing is wind.  The perfect day to fly fish on a lake, includes clouds, a small chop on the water and no rain.  We go if the expected wind is up to 10 miles per hour.  You can usually find a way to get out of the wind under those conditions.  Above 10 miles per hour, we don’t go. 

We also don’t go on weekends.  We don’t like crowds.  I made my schedule permanently flexible this year, so I can live out my life, fly fishing more.  At almost 64 years old, and over 40 years of owning a business, my time has come. Nothing, except health issues will change that.

Another policy I added is, not scheduling anything but fishing, in April and May.  When people ask me to do something in the future, I decline.  If you say yes, you have eliminated an option for fishing.  That one “yes” can knock out a week of fishing because that commitment might be the only perfect day that week.  It’s happened many times before.  Not anymore!  I do have a dentist appointment April 27th.  I’m moving it to June, just in case.  That is the only date, during April and May, that I have made a commitment.  One phone call will take that off the list.

Maybe more people my age are doing the same thing.  I’m hearing that more often than I ever have.  There are a lot of us baby boomers out there.  It could be, that’s why our business is so good right now. Our fathers returned from World War II and started having kids.  My parents waited 6 years.  But, I’m in that age group.  I think I share my determination to do more of what I enjoy, for the rest of my life, with a lot of other Americans.  We are at retirement age, though, I don’t plan to retire, probably ever.

We are definitely seeing more young people enter our sport.  More women are taking up fly fishing.  Research from our industry verifies that notion.  I’m not making it up.  Younger people are attending our TU meetings.  Mike told me that yesterday.

Still, fly fishing is a very small group of fishermen.  I don’t think the general fishing community is moving to fly fishing.  But, after years of no growth in general fly fishing, the experts say all fishing is growing again.  I talked to a lady I know yesterday.  She said her husband fished in a bass tournament last weekend.  I don’t remember the exact number.  But, there were several hundred anglers participating in that tournament.

As we age, fly fishing from a boat is easier, safer and more comfortable.  Boat sales are hot right now.  Kayaks are the hottest.  A friend of mine owns a boat dealership.  He told me, “business is awesome”.  A huge portion of his boat sales, go to fishermen.  I can look at his inventory and tell.  He has a few pontoon boats and a few that would not be suitable for fishermen.  Everything else, are fishing boats.

I just heard a wild turkey gobble and I’m in the house, so he is close.  I turned around and looked out the windows behind me.  There are six hens in the woods, 50 feet from the house.  Two are walking right up to the house.  They are maybe 20 feet away.  I can’t see the gobbler.

We see them on and off all day long back there.  They are eating millet I throw out on the ground every day for the other birds.  Turkey hunting season opens Saturday.  When that happens, the turkeys go into hiding for a few weeks.  The hens nest.  Next month, we’ll be seeing hens with their young, running around.  Last year, two hens and 13 poults stayed together.  We saw all of them, almost every day.  I don’t know if the hens were sisters but I suspect they were. I’ve never seen that before.  Usually, you see one hen and 4 or 5 poults, roaming alone.

I am thankful Spring is here.

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

Byron Begley
April 1, 2015

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