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 dark outside, 47 degrees and quiet.  I didn’t hear a sound outside.  In just 30 minutes, the forest will come alive. 

The scenery is beautiful in the Smoky Mountains right now.  Fall colors are coming on.  It’s not anywhere near peak in the valley.  In other areas, the colors are remarkable. 

This will be the perfect week to be fishing here.  We have great water flow in the streams and the water temperature is very good.  There is not one word about rain in the forecast.  We got enough of that recently to allow for a dry period with sustained higher water flows.  We can’t go too long without rain.  We don’t want that.  Highs this week will be in the 60’s with lows in the 30’s to 40’s. 

Little River is flowing at 269 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.09 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 76 cfs.  The water temperature at 6:52 am is 53.5 degrees.

Fishing conditions are about perfect in the low to mid elevations. It is cold in the mountains at night, in the 20’s way up high. LeConte Lodge reported a high of 44 Saturday and a low of 28 degrees.

I think dry flies will work.  I know nymphs will.  Try a Pheasant Tail, Tellico, Hare’s Ear or any other nymph.  Heck, try a Girdle Bug.  Terrestrials might work.  I’m seeing less land living insects lately.  I know Green Weenies will still produce.  They are an inchworm or sourwood worm imitation.  The actual insect seems to be gone too.  I still bet they work.

I’m doing a lot of writing about flies.  In fact, that’s about all I’m doing.  That includes many internet searches.  I want to see which of our flies are indexed on the first Google page and which ones are not.  Then, I can fix the problem.

One thing I’ve noticed is, I refer to a specific fly as a pattern.  To me, the word pattern helps define different flies.  What I don’t see is all other writers describing a fly as a pattern.  Will that confuse people or Google?  Is it just fly tyers who use the word pattern? 

Walter uses the word to describe flies many times during a conversation on the subject.  Maybe I got it from him.  I don’t know a better authority on flies than Walter.  There is no telling how many hundreds of hours I’ve spent with Walter and how many thousands of times we’ve used that word.  I can’t take the word pattern out of my vocabulary.  It’s like etched into stone.  On the other hand, I don’t want to confuse people and search engines.  Help!   

A family of six, including small children attempted to hike the Bullhead/Rainbow Falls loop Saturday.  They started too late on this 13.5 mile trek.  They ended up spending the night on the mountain.  They were only a mile from LeConte Lodge but nobody knew. 

Rangers searched and found the family at 7:15 am yesterday morning.  They hiked with the family to the Lodge to warm up and make sure they could get back to their vehicle.  The rangers hiked with them back to the trailhead.  This could have been a disaster.  They did not have proper clothing.  The temperature dropped into the 20’s. 

Some people do not understand the fact that you can die in the mountains simply by not being prepared and making mistakes.  The high elevations is no place for that this time of year.  Thankfully, this family survived.  If it had been a colder, the outcome could have been much worse.

Walter, Rob and Josh taught a 2-day beginner fly fishing class this weekend.  Dan Munger sat in on the first day to see how we do this.  We have been teaching these classes, twice a month during the Spring through the Fall for years.  I guess we’ve been doing this particular class for at least 15 years. 

Our school is a very important component of our business model.  It always has been.  We teach beginner fly fishing, nymph fishing, fly tying in three levels and aquatic entomology.  We have a dedicated 600 square foot classroom upstairs in our building. 

Dan Munger will be looking at ways to expand our curriculum.  I don’t know what he will come up with but there are many options to be evaluated and tried.  The instructors at our school are Walter Babb, Brian Courtney, Rob Fightmaster, Josh Pfeiffer, Chuck Kline and Dr. Brad Cook.

Additionally, we hold Saturday Free Fly Tying Demonstrations during the Winter.  I consider that to be part of our school activity.  Customers and friends learn from those Saturday events and they are popular.

By the way, we figured it out yesterday.  Daniel Drake will be Daniel.  Daniel Munger will be Dan.  Our computer, that does payroll, knows the difference.  I tried that yesterday.

I had the opportunity to meet Amanda, Dan’s girlfriend yesterday.  That girl is nice.  She is a student at UT working on her masters degree in Public Health.  She did her undergraduate studies at the University of Georgia in Athens. 

When I hear Athens, I don’t think about football.  I think about music.  We talked about that.  Some great bands came from Athens, like REM and Widespread Panic.  I listened to some Widespread Panic last night. 

Her dog, Wheezy, may become our new shop dog during the day.  I guess it’s not official until it happens.  It’s probably up to Wheezy.  I did see pictures of Wheezy.  She is a beagle. She is a good looking dog. 

Dogs like to sleep during the day.  They sleep at night.  A mature dog sleeps about all the time.  A fly shop dog has to be able to function with sleep interruption.  Everybody wants to pet the shop dog.  When I walk into a store that has a dog, I walk right by the people and go directly to the dog.  Kids pull on their ears and stuff like that.  It’s not easy being a shop dog.

And then there is another potential event I just thought of.  Customers bring their dogs into our store.  It’s always been that way.  It is normal to all of us.  We’ve had everything from a bloodhound to tiny hand held mixed breeds visit our store, usually, unexpected. 

I often see one spouse shopping in the store while the other sits on the front porch with their dog.  I always go out and invite the dog in.  I invite the other spouse in too.  I love dogs.

So, we’ll see what happens.  I’m hoping Wheezy likes working here and we can enjoy her.  If she prefers to stay home and sleep, I will understand.

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

Byron Begley
October 20, 2014

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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