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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is extremely foggy and 44 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Traffic was light on my way to work.  The restaurants are packed with visitors.  The streets were calm yesterday for an October day during the leaf season.  The people must have been here but they were likely spending the day in the Park.  I don’t blame them.  The mountains are stunning right now.  The weather is perfect.

Little River was flowing fairly strong yesterday after the storm blew through the night before.  I talked to a couple of guys yesterday we were backpacking.  They tried to sleep in waterproof hammocks.  One of them told me the rain was intermittent the night before but the pounding on the cover of his suspended bed made it hard to sleep.  I bet they had a good night.  They came in here to find out from us where they could buy the best hamburger in town.  That’s a tough question, there are three. 

Little River is flowing at 107 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 83 cfs.  The water temperature at 8:00 am was 55.5 degrees.

Fishing in the Smoky Mountains is very good.  The conditions are perfect.  Flows are good and the water temperature is right in the preferred trout range, especially in the lower elevations.  The temperature may be chilly up high early.  It should be fine later in the day. Wear waders or Hippies.  Wet wading season is over. 

Trout are taking dry flies and nymphs.  We are recommending Neversink Caddis, Stimulators and Elk Caddis for dry flies.  It’s hard to beat the Green Weenie as a dropper or a nymph.  Other nymphs will work fine too.  I would probably pick a Tellico.

Smallmouth bass are active and feeding well in the lowland rivers and tailwaters.  The fishing is excellent.  The smallies are taking top water flies, streamers and nymphs.  Again, the conditions are very good for those fish.  Trout fishing in the tailwaters is very good right now too.  This is just a good time to be fishing in East Tennessee and elsewhere in the Southeast. 

Mike and I are going to be smallmouth fishing on the Little Tennesse River on Thursday.  We’ll be in our boat.  We darned near got skunked week before last.  The water was crystal clear and 56 degrees below the dam.  We know we were spooking the bass.  Maybe we’ll get a better generation schedule tomorrow.

Our Winter fly tying class schedule is on our website.  The classes begin in November and run through February.  These are trout tying classes.  We have three, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.  They are taught by Walter Babb and Brian Courtney.  If you want to check out each class, you can click on the following links.


Paul Rouse who owns Holly Flies was here yesterday morning.  Holly is located in Mt. Holly Springs, Pennsylvania.  The flies are tied in Sri Lanka.  He showed us one fly that Daniel requested they tie and sell.  It is a rubber legged Tellico Nymph.  Holly ties the Neversink Caddis, one of our best selling flies and for sure the best selling dry fly during the Summer.  Holly is our second largest supplier of flies behind Umpqua.

I showed Paul a Knucklehead.  He said they could tie it perfectly.  I tie these flies for our shop.  They are only offered to in-store customers, not on our online catalog.  Frankly, if we sold them online, I could not keep up.  I tied a few hundred last Winter and as of a couple of weeks ago, they were gone. Now, I’m tying a few every night and will continue through the Fall and Winter.  I am working on a tutorial so you can see how they are tied.  They are very easy to tie.

The only way for us to sell them online is to contract with Paul to tie some for us.  He would also be selling them to other fly shops. 

One thing I do that makes these flies so durable is adding some Zap-A-Gap at critical spots throughout the tying process.  Paul’s folks would have to do that.  I have had Holly tie flies for us before and their professional tyers sent samples back to me to approve.  Theirs looked better than mine.  That kind of hurt my feelings but I got over it quickly.

To get this done I will need to send some samples, a printed tutorial and a video tape to Paul.  All the materials except the rubber legs come from Wapsi in Mountain Home, Arkansas.  Paul buys a lot of their materials from Wapsi.  He also buys from Hareline Dubbin who supply our barred rubber legs.  So, sourcing the raw materials will not be a problem.

If you buy Knuckleheads online from us next year, they are probably tied by Holly Flies.  If you buy them in the shop, they will probably be tied by me. I’ll still tie them because I enjoy doing it and my personal fly collection is sufficient to last me for years.  I’ll have to get in line for custom ties.  Right now the professional fly tyers are bulking up inventory for the Spring orders that have already been submitted.

We’ve got a beautiful week going right now.  You should plan to go fishing soon.  I’m going to.

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

Byron Begley
October 16, 2012

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