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 6:03 am on Sunday morning.  The temperature is 72 degrees in Townsend.  We will be open today from 9 am until 5 pm.  There will be 5 of us working at the shop today and two instructors teaching a Beginner Fly Fishing Class.

It’s going to be hot, over 90 degrees.  Expect highs in the low 90’s for several days.  The chance for rain is very low until Wednesday. 


Little River is flowing at 71 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.33 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 156 cfs.  The water temperature is 69.3 degrees this morning.

Rainfall at the Knoxville Airport is 3.44 inches below normal for the year so far.


The steams are flowing low today.  The Park will be crowded.  The water will be warm in the low elevations.

Fish higher in the mountains, in the small shaded streams, off the road.  The water will be cooler, the air will be cooler, and you will see less people.  Trout will be hiding and feeding in the riffles and choppy water.  These are not great conditions but you can still catch trout.  Fishing will be best early and late.  Use Yellow Sally stonefly patterns for your dry fly.  Try Green or Pink Weenies for sub-surface fishing.  Blend in a stay hidden from the trout.


The area tailwaters are fishing well, as they should, for trout and smallmouth bass.  We are hearing reports of warmer water, further downstream from the dams.  Also, reports of low water have been heard.  Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is trying to keep the impoundments at a high level during the Summer boating and recreation season.  It has been abnormally dry in our area for the past few weeks.  The result is less generation and flow through some of the dams. 


All I can say is, go early and late.  Fishing is fine.  When this bright sun is beating down on you and the water, fly fishing in the shallows is tough.  Just go early and late and you should do well.  When the sun is off the water, plankton rises to the surface.  Baitfish filter feeders, (threadfin shad) follow the plankton.  Game fish follow the baitfish.  This increases the surface feeding activity.  When the sun is on the water, all participants, retreat to deeper water. 


It has started.  Great Smoky Mountains National Park is within a days drive of 1/3 of the population in America.  Families are here, many with young children.  This is an inexpensive family vacation area.  Though short lived, this burst of tourism is important to our town’s economy. As residents, we take it in stride and do whatever we can to make our visitor’s experience enjoyable.  Townsend is the friendliest town I’ve ever known.   

Our area is also a great place to introduce children to nature.  We need more of that kind of activity.  Camping in the Park and in our developed campgrounds is a very popular activity right now.  I remember camping with my parents and sister during the Summer when I was a kid.  What great times we had.  If we had camped in Townsend back then, I probably would have moved here when I was younger, instead of waiting until I was 40 years old. 

If you don’t want to camp, we have plenty of motels and rental cabins.  We have lodges and bed and breakfasts.  Here there is something for everyone and most businesses are family owned or family managed.  I was talking to someone yesterday about that.  Where else can you find so many establishments, as a percentage of the whole, that are mom and pop owned. There are not many.  Our busy season is short.  That keeps the big companies away.  They do better elsewhere.

In early August, the young families will be going home.  Kids will be back in school. 

We won’t miss the traffic, but we’ll probably wish the visitors were still here.


Dan and Daniel will be organizing our shipping department today.  This is long overdue.  They pack your orders to be shipped, then measure and/or weigh each box on a digital scale.  The information is entered into our account with the U.S. Post Office online.  The packages are delivered to the Post Office next door to the shop before it closes. There is always that looming deadline, when the Post Office will close. It closes early on Saturday.  UPS shipped orders are usually picked up at 2:00 pm.

We don’t charge for shipping so we chose the least expensive way to ship.  That charge depends on the size and weight of the box.  The Post Office usually wins.  When we bought this lot, and built our building, the Post Office located next door was a big determining factor. We can walk over, not drive over.  We could always buy a golf cart if we needed one.  We have the option to build a concrete walkway there if needed.

The orders have to be rung-up and credit card transactions are done online using a secure payment gateway.  They use the gateway for orders that are phoned in.  Online orders are automatically processed through the same gateway.

We have security protocols, equipment, software and audits to be sure credit card information is not available to hackers.  We had an audit about 2 weeks ago.  We don’t store credit card information on any of our LAN computers or on the remote server.  We are PCI Compliant.

This process can take hours every day.  They do it while making sure our in-store customers are taken care of and the phones are answered.

Daniel ordered some new computer equipment.  They will install a monitor and camera in the showroom of the shop, so they know if it is busy out there and if help is needed, while packaging and shipping is done behind closed doors.

It’s a balancing act, one I’m not familiar with on a personal basis.  I’ve never processed a mail order and we’ve been doing it for 18 years.  But, as a casual observer, I do see the dilemma they face every day.  I’ll be paying bills and photographing tackle for the website today and be a casual observer of what they are doing down stairs, re-organizing the shipping department.

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

Byron Begley
June 14, 2015

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