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 and rather cold, 29 degrees in Townsend this morning.  We have some beautiful days coming up with high temperatures in the 50’s through Saturday and in the 60’s Sunday and Monday.  Rain moves in Saturday night and Sunday.

Little River is flowing at 251 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.04 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 173 cfs.  The water temperature at 6:21 am is 39.9 degrees.

We should see the water heat up this weekend, at least to a point where the fishing is better than it has been.  I would start with nymphs fished deep and would choose fishing later in the days after the water has warmed.  You might catch trout on dry flies, especially in the smaller backcountry streams. 

The snow finished melting off the mountains that we see from our house yesterday.  It’s all gone.

As of yesterday morning, there was still plenty of snow at LeConte Lodge and the trails leading to the lodge were icy. 

If you visit LeConte Lodge, you know Chris and Allyson Virden.  They run the lodge and have for 12 years.  We’ve known Allyson a lot longer than that.  After they married, they came in the shop one day and told us they were taking the job of running LeConte Lodge.  They are the on-site managers.  It’s a tough job, preparing the meals, taking care of guests and maintaining the premises.  What makes it especially tough. there are no roads to LeConte.  Supplies, food and clean laundry are packed in by llamas.  When the trails are impassible using the llama train, they use a helicopter.

After the lodge closes for the Winter, a caretaker will remain.  I bet that is a lonely job.  It’s a cold job too.   

Allyson and Chris have decided to pursue a new career and will be leaving LeConte Lodge after Thanksgiving.  You can read the daily posts that Allyson has made on the “High On LeConte website by CLICKING HERE.  Her words and the photography are beautiful.  I’ve been following her online for years.  I hate to see them go. She will announce this weekend, what their new endeavor will be.  I’m anxiously waiting.

The guys at the shop are holding a sale to liquidate merchandise that will be replaced by new models or changed items for the 2015 selling season.  You can see the list by clicking on the “Learn More” button on the ad above.  As items sell, they will update the list.  You can also see everything that is on sale by visiting our store.  Don’t wait too long.

I was talking to Dan Munger, my old friend and our new guy at the shop yesterday.  He fly fishes for just about everything that swims.  He is a former guide in Colorado and here.  Yesterday, he showed me a picture of a boat he is looking at.  It is a Ghenoe.  He thinks this would be the perfect carp boat.  Dan has a passion for fly fishing to carp and he actually catches them.  I love fly fishing for carp too.  Unlike Dan, I don’t catch many.  But, I am always willing to cast to cruising carp for hours.  Where I fish, the carp are big, like 25 pounds big.  They didn’t get that big by being stupid. 

Dan goes to places on the lake I’m afraid to go, shallow flats, littered with stumps.  He told me yesterday he would take me. 

I also talked to Kenny Myers yesterday.  I’ve known Kenny or years.  He runs our Ace Hardware store and he served as Townsend’s Mayor for 16 years.  He told me about a place he fishes on Tellico Lake, that has so many stumps, you have to get your boat on a plane to get through.  Otherwise, your motor will hit the stumps.  I know where he is talking about and I stay away from there. 

In six years of owning our boat and fishing regularly, I have never hit a stump while underway.  I bought an extra prop and it has never been used.  The reason for this is, I’m too careful.  That’s probably why I don’t catch many carp on a fly.  I’m too chicken to go where they feed.

Fly fishing for carp is not easy but the rewards are huge.  There are experts out there.  Dan reads what they write.  He knows which flies they use.  He has his own designed flies. 

Stan caught a nice carp once, one that was not too large but the perfect size to eat.  Stan assumed this smaller fish had lower concentrations of PCB’s and Mercury. He knows a professional chef.  They cleaned the carp and the chef cooked it somehow.  Stan said it tasted very good.  Evidently, the carp species that have been in America for a long time, were actually brought here to be raised for food. 

The silver carp and asian carp that were introduced by accident, are a delicacy in Asia.  Here, they have practically taken over large rivers and impoundments, spreading South to the Tennessee River.  I’m talking about the fish that jump out of the water and hit you in the face doing 50 miles per hour in your boat.  Those carp!

I read a while back that carp processing plants have been built to promote commercial fishing for these species to get rid of them.  I assume there won’t be a creel limit.  These plants will process, then flash freeze the carcasses to be shipped back to China where they came from. Good riddance!  If you think hitting a stump while running wide open in a boat is bad, try getting hit in the face with a 15 pound carp.  I’ll take the stump any day.

Walter Babb made and donated a beautiful bamboo fly rod to one of his favorite charities that provide assistance to people in need in his community of Sweetwater Tennessee.  He also tied and donated 7 dozen of his coveted flies to be auctioned at the event.  The auction will be held on December 6th at the Sweetwater Primary School at 6 pm.  This may be an opportunity of a lifetime for you to own one of Walter’s rods or a collection of his flies.

The rod is a 6’ 9” 2/3 weight made using the Francis Degere taper know as the Digger’s Ice Cream Parlor Special.  Francis’ nickname was Digger.  This man made some excellent fly rods and developed his own tapers.  This is one of them, one of his best.  Before his death “Digger” asked that his tapers never be used to make a rod to be sold.  Walter is honoring that request.  This rod is donated for charity. 

Walter’s fly selection is called the “Adams Family”.  There are many Adams related flies.  You won’t see a collection like this one unless you attend this fundraiser.

Walter and I are hoping to have some serious fly fishermen attend so these rare items are not auctioned at a cheap price.  So, I’m trying to do my part to avoid that by mentioning it here.  Below is a photo I took of that rod last weekend.  It is beautiful.

Bamboo Rod made by Walter Babb.

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

Byron Begley
November 21, 2014

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