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

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Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is overcast and 44 degrees this morning in Townsend.  I came to work at 7:30 am because it is Saturday, and there is a lot of activity going on early.  I can’t concentrate on writing this report with interruptions.  Actually, I come to work at least an hour before we open every day for that same reason.  At 7:30 on a Saturday morning, the human activity is very low in town.  It was today.

It has been unseasonably cold.  Leconte Lodge reported snow and ice yesterday.  The low temperature was 26 degrees up there Thursday.  They have a picture on their website of a llama with a snow covered head.  Leconte Lodge transports food and other necessities to the lodge using a llama train. 

Little River is in excellent shape for fly fishing.  Flow is 269 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.03 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 211 cfs.  The water temperature is 52 degrees this morning.

We have some very favorable fly fishing conditions.  The flows are perfect.  If we could find any reason or excuse for slower than expected fishing, let’s use the water temperature and forget about the full moon or barometer. 

Thursday morning the temperature was 59 degrees.  This morning it is 52 degrees.  I don’t know what affect that will have on the fishing.  I would go and expect it to be good.  But, that is a significant drop.  We’ll hear back from anglers today and we’ll know for sure.

I expect the tubers will encounter some breath taking cold water today.  The tuber alert should be moderate or low.  There’s no way I would jump into 52 degree water on purpose.  That would not be fun.  I’ll pass.  I might fall in accidentally which I’ve been known to do.

The colder water may prove to be beneficial for those who prefer to fish with nymphs.  That’s how I would start the day.  Try dry flies later.  I would use a Bead Head Pheasant Tail, Green Weenie or Pink Weenie.  If I decided to fish with dry flies I would choose a Parachute Adams, Yellow Neversink Caddis or Parachute Light Cahill.  I might be tempted to drop a Green Weenie off one of those if I felt like untangling occasionally or more often depending on the day.

I prefer less tangles and less fish over more tangles and more fish.  I’m out there to have fun, not get frustrated in the least. 

Hey, today is Child Safety Day in Townsend.  The event is held across the street from our store.  This is becoming a large event.  The head honcho is none other than our own policeman, Tony Rayburn.  Tony puts a lot of time into this event, a huge amount.  Many of us donate money.  The County, Maryville, Alcoa and Townsend police and fire departments all pitch in and show up.  Tony gets grants for the event. 

This year, a new feature will be a mobile zoo.  I’ve never seen a real live mobile in captivity so I’ll walk over and have a look today. 

My take on this event is, it gets children and parents more in touch with our emergency folks and learn about safety for the children.  But, the main goal and a very beneficial one  is, families can get free child seats for their vehicles if they need them.  Success is based on how many child seats are given away to those who can’t afford them. 

Those numbers are growing and I don’t have any current seat counts but from what I do remember, the numbers are staggering.  I think there is a good chance, Townsend Child Safety Day actually saves the life of a child or maybe more than one child.

So, when Tony comes in every year for a sponsorship check, he gets it from us.  He gets a lot of praise from me too.  Go Tony!

In a couple of weeks, Summer tourist season begins.  Younger couples with kids who are out of school show up.  We’ll see more campers.  Everybody is busy.  Our tourist season begins in early March when the bugs start hatching.  We have a little up-tick in our economy when that happens.  But the real activity starts when the kids get out of school.

We’ll hear more motorcycles without mufflers.  A few of them just drove by.  I don’t understand how that can be legal.  I can sit here in my office and only hear two things, church bells from Bethel Baptist Church and motorcycles without mufflers.  I like the church bells.  I don’t like loud vehicles. 

If I took the muffler off my truck, our local police would say something to me.  If I went to Maryville, I would get a ticket.  I might have my truck’s muffler removed temporarily, just to see what happens. I’ll put a sign on the back of my truck stating, “I’m Trying to Make a Point”.  

I talked to Bill Reed for a while yesterday.  He is the National Sales Manager at Orvis.  Of course, we talked about business.  We also talked about kayak and canoe fishing.  We discussed the fact that these boats can get you closer to fish than larger craft can.  There is no doubt about it, you can get closer.  He has a canoe, that he uses on the Battenkill River near Manchester, Vermont.  I think he said it weighs 17 pounds.  I know he said it was small and made from Kevlar.  I didn’t ask him how much something like that costs. 

When Paula and I first bought our fishing kayaks I hated fishing from mine.  First, you are sitting right at the level of the water.  It’s hard to make long casts.  And, they turn in the wind at the worst time.  I admit, I warmed up to the idea over time, as I learned how to fish from a kayak.  You can forget about long casts.  You don’t need to make long casts.  Last week, I had speckled trout, Spanish mackerel and jacks hitting my flies 10 feet away.  I could see fish swimming lazily under my boat. One of them was a very large shark.

I told Bill about our kayak/canoe trailer and sent him a photo.  He wrote back and said he would check out the Malone website where we bought ours.

Well, it’s 8:30 am and I better wrap this up.


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

Byron Begley
May 17, 2014 

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