Townsend, Tennessee
June 5, 2009

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is cloudy, it rained all night and everything is drenched.  I’m off and at home but around 7:00 am I drove down and looked at the river.  It is rolling and somewhat stained in town.  I saw something I have seen many times but to me it is always remarkable.  A dead bluebird was laying in the road.  Obviously it flew into a car.  What is worth mentioning is the dead bird’s mate was in the road too, right next to the body.  I’ve seen this happen many times.  It seems bluebirds have a very close relationship with their mate.  I still believe animals are a lot more intelligent and have the ability to feel despair or joy, more than we humans give them credit for. 

I stopped at the Visitors Center.  Jeanie and another guy were getting ready for the Pottery Festival early in the morning.  I hope the rain is over.  Tomorrow is going to be beautiful.

Since I’ve been off I didn’t check the rain gauge at the shop yesterday.  But I did this morning.  It held 2.2” of rainfall which is the total for the past two days.  The Park streams are full to the brim.  You might do well with nymphs or streamers.  But, be careful.  The flow is currently 435 cubic feet per second at the “Y”.  Downstream in Maryville the discharge is running 652 cfs.  I’m sure the water is muddy downstream.

Again, Paula and I are not going to float Little River today.  We got “weathered out” two days straight.  Canoeing down Little River can be tricky when the water is high and if it is stained you can’t see the rocks underwater.  It would be easy to end up upside down with our gear and us in peril. 

This weekend is going to be sunny and warm.  The water will be high but fishing will be good.  Water levels will fall and conditions will be better than they are today. Evenings are still best.  Early morning is good too.  I would use Yellow Sally Stones and Light Cahills for dry flies.  Don’t forget about ants, beetles and Green Weenies.  Most normal nymphs will work like Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ear and Tellico’s.   

I am going to tie Stealth Bombers all day.  That is one of the best bass flies I have tried.  It was invented by Kent Edmonds.  Mine don’t look nearly as good as his but I hope to get to the point where they do. Kent is our Temple Fork sales rep.  I watched him tie at Troutfest and he is amazing.  Here is his website:

Kent is a very talented fly fisherman and a great guy to be around.  The bass anglers in our area consider him an expert.  I do too. He is also one of the best fly casters I know and I know a bunch of them.  I’m not one of them.  

Todd’s Wiggle Minnow is another fly I like and of course poppers made from foam cylinders are my favorite.  I usually fish a #8.  Bass like that size and bluegill don’t take them deep into their mouth.  I miss hooking small bluegill but that’s OK.  I really enjoy making poppers and fishing with them.

I am going through a fly fishing transition like I have many times before.  I started in the early 60’s fishing for bass and bluegill with a fly rod.  In 1980 I moved toward trout.  And I’ve done that for a long time.  Living in the Smokies means we live in trout country.  We even have a stream behind our house running through our property that I could walk down to anytime and catch one.

Then in the 90’s we started fishing for saltwater species and salmon.  Paula and I got into Tarpon fishing for about 10 years.  That was an expensive time in our lives. It was fun, we caught a lot of big fish and we spent a lot of money.  But, if you want to go tarpon fishing we know how to rig you up.  So, I guess it was an investment in our future.

Now, we are moving back to bass and bluegill.  We live in an area that is scattered with lakes and rivers.  Smallmouth bass are fun to catch and fish for.  The flies are interesting and fun to tie.  I ordered a boat the other day.  When it comes in we can be on a lake in 30 minutes and there are several others within a one hour drive.  Little River and Little Pigeon are two of many excellent smallmouth streams in our area.  There are others if we are willing to drive for an hour.  Dale Hollow Lake is one of the best smallmouth lakes in the world, or at least it used to be.  I guess we’ll find out if it still is. 

Moving to largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and bluegill could also prove to be a business strategy.  After all, we sell equipment to anglers all over the United States.  Many of our customers don’t live in trout country.  But most have a bass fishing nearby.  Let’s face it, people are traveling less.  We are doing the same thing. 

Instead of Florida I’m looking at vacation possibilities in Tennessee, Dale Hollow Lake for instance.  Right now Paula and I are on vacation in Townsend, Tennessee at our own home.  We have a lot of choices right now.  We could drive 10 minutes and be fishing in Smokies trout streams.  In 30 minutes we could be launching the boat on a lake.  And today, if conditions were better we would be paddling a canoe down the lower Little River.  If you look at a map of East Tennessee there is a lot of blue indicating rivers and lakes.  The choices are vast. 

If you look at the species of fish that you can catch on a fly rod within an hour from here the list is overwhelming.  There are 4 species of trout, brook, brown, rainbow and lakers.  Yes, lake trout are stocked in a couple of the lakes near here.  There are stripers and musky.  Musky in Tennessee?  Yep, I know people who catch them here on fly rods.  Stripers are everywhere, rockfish, white bass and hybrids.  Smallmouth and largemouth bass are abundant in this area.  I have a buddy who fishes for gar with a fly rod.  I know a lot of people who fish for carp with a fly.  Bluegill and shellcracker fishing is excellent.  Catching them makes me feel like a kid again.

So we are branching out and hopefully you will enjoy hearing about it here.

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

Byron Begley
June 5, 2009 


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