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.  At 6:11 am, rain is falling and the temperature is 48.7 degrees.  I slept in this morning.  It feels like Fall again outside.  Fly Tyers Weekend is over.  I will eventually recover, I think.

Little River is flowing at 159 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.68 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 134 cfs.  The water temperature is 55.2 degrees.

Fishing was good this weekend.  Some big browns were caught.  Some other big browns were lost.  Brook and rainbow trout were happy and feeding.  Many anglers were fishing the streams in the Park.  We had our best fly fishing conditions possible for early November.  It was like Spring for several days.  Now, we are still going to enjoy pretty good fishing for a few days.  Then, we’ll probably wake up one morning soon, with snow on the ground. That is not in the forecast, not even for the long term.  We just know it’s coming.

We will have some rain today, which is good.  It will be overcast.  That’s good too.  The water temperature is still warm enough for trout feeding activity.  I don’t know for sure, but his seems like a nymph fishing day to me.

This has been a wonderful fly fishing year in East Tennessee and probably in other areas in America.  I talked to many guides this weekend.  Most said this has been their busiest year in a long time. 

Guides make hay when the sun shines.  They work when their clients ask them to work.  Evidently, they got asked a lot this year.  And still, they were willing to give their time, during prime fishing weather, without pay, to tie flies for people at this weekend’s event.  That speaks volumes of their willingness to share their knowledge, with other anglers.

Fly fishing is a culture that is difficult to define or explain.  I am very close to this culture, part of it, but I still don’t have it completely figured out. None of us do. 

What I saw this weekend, and I’ve seen the same thing over and over is, a willingness to share.  That could not be more obvious than it was this weekend.  The people who tied flies and shared their knowledge, and the people who worked hard to make Fly Tyers Weekend happen, are all about sharing.  The fly tyers paid their travel expenses, some coming from long distances, to share what they have learned. They were all there for the right reasons. 

The non-profits, like the International Federation of Fly Fishers, Trout Unlimited, The Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians, Casting for Recovery, Project Healing Waters and others were there for the right reasons.  Think about what they do.  Why do they do it?  They are large, organized, groups of people, who do what they do, to help people learn about our sport, make people’s lives better, and protect our resources.

Tremont Lodge and Resort has the only commercial indoor facility in Townsend, big enough to hold an event this large.  They didn’t charge us a penny for the conference center or the room where FFF held the movie showing.  They discounted their rooms for us.  Their staff worked hard for us, to make this happen.  I know the owners well, and I am positive, this was not a windfall for them.  They like fly fishing.  They like fly anglers. They do it for the right reasons.

Marvin Cash and Anthony Hipps did most of the work, putting this event on.  Why?  The Fly Fishing Federation is all about sharing knowledge.  A large part of the FFF mission, is to train instructors to train others.  Several of the fly tyers you saw this weekend, are board members of the Southeastern Council of FFF.  They are people who have a lot of knowledge to share.  They were all there for the right reasons.

What about us?  The people at Little River Outfitters, including me, put a lot of time into this event.  We made a cash donation of $1,500 to FFF.  We paid for some other event related costs.  We probably got that back in extra profits generated this weekend.  Maybe we did and maybe we didn’t.  I don’t know. Personally, I don’t care. We did it for the right reasons. 

I do know this, the culture at Little River Outfitters, and our MO is helping people who are interested in this sport.  You know that.  Most of you know us. That is why we have lasted 20 years.  We also want to help our local tourism based economy, at a time, when the leaves have fallen.  Our restaurants, motels and cabin rental companies, campgrounds and retail stores, benefited from Fly Tyers Weekend, when the tourist season is pretty much over.  Nobody can deny that.

I feel very good about what all of us did this weekend.  I know how hard the people from Casting For Recovery worked, preparing and selling food to those who attended.  They made about $1,400, enough to sponsor one lady, who is recovering from breast cancer, find a way to further enjoy her life.  To me, that is a big deal. They did it for the right reasons.

The Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians made a few thousand dollars to support this wonderful new facility in Cherokee, North Carolina.  Why do they do what they do?  They do it to share.  They do it for the right reasons.

Marvin, Anthony and Mike, you guys did great.  Anthony is ill and could not attend.  He organized the fly tyers and that is a huge job. I took over his job at the event and it was easy for me.  That is because Anthony Hipps is very organized and he is on top of the details.  He put in the time for all the right reasons. I assure you, Anthony was looking forward to this event, more than anyone else. 

I want to thank everyone involved, those who shared and those who benefited, for making this event what it is.  We all did good!

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

Byron Begley
November 9, 2015

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