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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is 7:02 am.  The temperature is 67.1 degrees.  It is going to be hot and mostly dry this week through Friday.  It will cool some this weekend.  We have a decent chance for rain Saturday and Sunday.  Expect high temperatures near or at 90 degrees through Friday.

The long term weather forecast indicates cooler temperatures and a greater chance for rain through September 16, beginning this weekend.

The US Geological Survey flow gauge sites, or the website that reports the data, went down again around noon yesterday.  That happened last Friday, and service was restored Monday.  This is not a problem at the gauges themselves, but at the Nashville office where the information is loaded live on a website for us to see. 

I do know, it didn’t rain yesterday or last night, so the streams in Great Smoky Mountains are still flowing very low today.  They are flowing at half their normal flow.

Fishermen are still catching trout in the mid to high elevations.  I talked to a regular customer at closing time yesterday at the shop.  He did well.  He fished about 2 miles up, on Lynn Camp Prong.  There, he was catching only brook trout.

Generation schedules don’t look too promising today for wade fishermen.  Most of the day, there will be one or more generators in operation.  If you are fishing this morning on the Holston, you may have a break for a while, with no generation, depending on how far you are, downstream from the dam.  Check the TVA website, make a determination, then go if it works for you.

I’m only working 5 days this week, which is highly unusual.  I’m off today and tomorrow.  Paula and I plan to take our boat to one of the lakes tomorrow evening.  I’m going to clean and organize the boats and the boathouse today.  I’ll organize tackle and start the outboard.

Many people I talk to, assume, when I tell them we fish on a lake from a boat, we are using spinning rods.  That happened again yesterday.  It happens all the time.  We always use fly rods.  We never us spinning rods.  Yesterday, a man asked me why I only use fly rods on a lake.  I told him, “I don’t know, It’s just what I do”.  That is the only answer I can usually come up with. 

I don’t see anything wrong with using conventional tackle.  I bought two surf spinning rods to take to Florida this Fall.  If it is too windy to fly fish from our kayaks, we’ll go to the beach and fish the surf, maybe with bait.  That beats sitting in the home we rented and watching the wind blow. Heck, we might catch something good to eat.

The general public, who do not fly fish, associate fly fishing with a person wading in a trout stream, making long beautiful casts, like they saw in “A River Runs Through It”.  They see the commercials on television, of a male model, who can’t cast, go through the motions on a beautiful stream, to sell some product that has nothing to do with fly fishing.  Those commercials seem to be usually selling Part B, Medicare supplemental insurance to old people like me.  I’m not that old, but I will be in less than a year. 

Our sport and industry is too small and lacks funding, to educate non-flyfishers, what we are all about.  So, most people don’t understand.  When I tell a non-flyfisher we catch tarpon several feet long on a fly rod, I think they believe I’m lying. I tell them we use 12 weight fly rods.  That confuses them more.

Oh well. It doesn’t matter.  We are what we are and we do what we do. Our sport is small, and it will probably stay that way.

On the other hand, we are in the business of teaching people to fly fish.  We get excited about that at our store and school.  Introducing someone to our sport is a lot of fun.  We love it when a non-flyfisher, comes in the shop and starts asking questions.  We look at that as an opportunity, to meet a new person, build a relationship, and have a new customer.

I could not tell you, how many people have visited our store, with their brand new fly rod and reel in their hands.  They bought it somewhere and they don’t know how to take the next step.  Often, their new outfits are not rigged, or they are rigged wrong.  “Here comes an opportunity”.  We show them how to tie on leaders and flies.  Sometime we rig their new outfit for them.  We show them knots.  Sometimes, we take them outside for a quick casting lesson.  We try to explain, how to catch a trout in the Smoky Mountains. So, what do we charge for that?  Nothing. Zip. Zero.  This is a win/win opportunity for everyone involved.   

We now have a free 2-hour beginner fly fishing class, we offer a couple of times each month.  This is something Orvis started at their retail stores a few years ago.  We saw the success, learned how they do it, use their logos and support materials and it is working for us and more importantly, for the students.  It was Orvis, and particularly our closest Orivs Retail Store in Sevierville, who helped us get this going.  They are our friends, we share customers, and they share what they have learned, to help us.  It’s a great relationship.

At the boat ramps, I always walk around and talk to the fishermen.  That comes easy for me.  I’ve been doing it for a living for 20 years.  I learn a lot, meet some nice people and at some point, they learn I’m using fly rods. They are usually interested.  Here is yet another opportunity. 

I’m almost at the end of page 2 on my day off so I’m going to clock out.

Have and great day and thank you very much for being here with us, and for reading this daily fishing report.  I’ll be back tomorrow.

Byron Begley
September 2, 2015

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