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 foggy and 36 degrees in Townsend this morning.  It is good to be back at the shop.  I spent 3 long days, on my feet all day, at Fly Tyers Weekend.  This weekend was ranked by me as one of most enjoyable times this year.  Now, it is bookkeeping time.  I’m behind. 

Little River is flowing at 214 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.93 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 149 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:50 am is 45.9 degrees.

This is going to be a beautiful day.  The weather forecast calls for sunny skies and 67 degrees.  The forecast is the same for tomorrow.  Then, it will get colder and we may have a little rain to dampen our spirits. My spirits won’t be dampened.  You could not wipe this smile off my face with a brick.

Fishing is probably fair.  I talked to a lot of fishermen this weekend, mostly very good fishermen at that.  Several fly tyers came from North Carolina and stopped to fish on their way here.  What they found was cold water up high.  They also saw snow on the ground.  Everybody told me the park was fishing a little slow but most of them caught at least a few trout.  The water is warmer in the lower elevations but it is still cool.

If you go today you should see the water warm further.  Go later today to give the streams a chance to warm.  I would use nymphs and fish in the lower elevations. 

I spent time with a lot of professional guides this weekend.  The tailwater guides have had a tough time with generation schedules lately.  All of them said they have had a good year.  People are traveling and fishing more in our region.  Fishing has been good.  The trout, smallmouth bass, striper, largemouth bass anglers, I spoke to this weekend all enjoyed good fishing.  There is a reason for that, actually two.  First, we had good weather this year.  Second, most of the fly tyers I talked to are excellent anglers or guides.  It was great to hear that good news.

Our store has had a very good year. 

I started in August and spent at least 100 hours organizing Fly Tyers Weekend.  Most of that work was web page design and communicating with potential fly tyers.  In the end, we had exactly 40 demonstrators.  I had some great help too.  James Locke and Mike Bryant got us through the weekend.

Wilson, Wendy and all the staff at Tremont Lodge and resort did an excellent job.  Wilson and Wendy did what they said they would do.  I know now, I can count on them.

The fly tyers were on time and ready to go, all weekend.  They were great.

Every time I organize a fly fishing event, I start worry about attendance.  I worry about letting people down.  I can’t help it. I guess I like being in charge of things, but when it gets down to crunch time, I sort of start falling apart.

At about opening time on Saturday, I had to walk to my truck to get something.  When I walked back to the event center, I saw vehicles, lined up and driving to the center.  I started feeling better.  More people arrived.  I greeted as many as I could.  Hey, this is going to be great. 

The event center has two floors.  There is another entrance upstairs.  The downstairs room was full of people.  I went upstairs and found the same thing.  I knew, early on, Fly Tyers weekend was a success.  I could start enjoying myself.

I talked to Wilson and Wendy all day Saturday and Sunday at times.  They were happy too.  Their lodge was full. 

The guys who ran shuttles from the Townsend Elementary School were on top of it all.  They were doing their job with a smile of their face. 

The fly tying demonstrators were outstanding.  I saw some of the best fly tying I’ve ever seen.  This weekend was the first time I had met some of them.  They came from several states.  Anthony Hipps helped me contact fly tyers.  He served as President of our Fly Fishing Federation region for three years.  He knows everybody.

I talked to all the fly tyers.  They were not let down at all.  Some commented on it being the best show they have done.   

We had less people attend Sunday, but it seemed to me, a large majority of those who attended were very intent on watching the tyers.  Maybe it is because the center was less crowded.

Casting For Recovery served food to raise money for the organizaton.  The Center has two kitchens and counters to sell and serve food.  We had tables set up so those eating had a place to sit down. Lindsay Long, who runs our Casting for Recovery Chapter was very pleased with the money they made.  She is another person, I didn’t want to let down.

What we had was a few hundred people, learning, talking, laughing and having a good time for two days.  Success!  It worked.  It was better than expected.  It ran smoothly. 

Our store staff did a super job.  We were busy as heck but the store looks great.  I had no idea how busy we were here until I walked in early this morning and looked at the numbers.  I was frankly shocked at how well the store did.

This all started when Wilson and Wendy bought the lodge from a bank.  This 18 acre, 132 room hotel was in foreclosure.  It was also in bad repair.  They started working on remodeling this Spring.  Wilson asked me to come up with some fly fishing events.  This was the first one.  All future events depended on how well this one turned out.  Of course, I didn’t want to let Wilson and Wendy down.  See how much pressure I’ve been under lately?

Wilson, Wendy and I finally discussed the future of Fly Tyers Weekend.  Wilson told us he wants to make it an annual event.  Wendy agreed.  I told them to count me in.  I asked some of the fly tyers who drove long distances from several States if they would be in favor of doing this next year.  They all said yes.

Now we have a year to plan, not 4 months like this year.  Wendy wants to hold a de-briefing with me later this week. 

I want to thank all of you who attended, demonstrated, worked the non-profit booths, served the food, worked at our store, helped me with the event, and the staff and owners of Tremont Lodge and Resort.  We pulled it off, it was a success and we should all be proud.  Thank you all very much.

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

Byron Begley
November 10, 2014

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