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, breezy and 61 degrees outside.  The sky behind the mountains, surrounding Cades Cove is light.  I can see the outline of the mountains far away, but almost nothing in the valley.  It is dawn.  The wind was fierce late yesterday afternoon and into the night. 

The water temperature in Little River is warm, 50.2 degrees.  Flow is much higher than yesterday.  It rained sometime during the night.  Flow is currently 340 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.27 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 196 cfs.

If you can deal with the wind, today would be a good day to fish in the Smokies mainly due to the water temperature.  Fishing should be good.  The high temperature today is supposed to be 67 degrees.  That will feel like Summer compared to what we’ve had lately.  We might even get some sun today, but it will be mostly cloudy.  Perfect.

I always fish on weekdays and have for the past 25 years.  I can’t think of a day I fished on a weekend.  I always work on weekends so I can fish during the week.  I have no idea what it is like on the streams or lakes on weekends, other than what I have heard.  People tell me it can be crowded on weekends.

It makes sense.  Our busiest days in the store are on weekends, Saturday and Sunday.  Our slowest days are Monday through Thursday.

That is different when the fishing is really good and people are on fishing vacations.  When fishing is good in America, we are busy.  When fishing is slow, during the Winter, business is slow.

It is exactly the opposite in the mail order business.  We are busy Monday through Friday.  Mail order is very slow on weekends.  I know, because I do the bookkeeping and I see all the mail orders.  They require special treatment in the bookkeeping department because most are sales tax free and others are not.

When we bought the lot where our store is now located, one of the determining factors was the close proximity to the Post Office.  It is right next door.  We package the shipments, measure and weigh the boxes, print our own mailing labels with postage and just drop the orders off next door.  We are billed for the shipping on a credit card.

We started our Free Ground Shipping policy about 16 years ago.  We know you like it.  So we keep doing it.  We like it too.  It took a long time to build our mail order business. It can’t be done quickly.  I recognize many of our mail order customers by name though we have never met.  Many are repeat customers who have been doing business with us for years.  We still get a large percentage of our customers who call in orders instead of buying online.

We ship to some towns and countries that you would not expect.  We know, those cities have lots of fly shops like Bozeman.  For some reason, we ship orders to New Zealand and Australia.  I don’t know why.  We ship to other countries too.  It’s not that often that we have international orders.  I think the most we have had is three in one week this year. 

I look at every mail order ticket, every day, to make sure those that are exempt from tax don’t pay taxes.  When I get the tickets, they are probably 99.9% correct.  I hardly ever find a shipment that is taxed wrong.  They know what they are doing downstairs.  I check the orders anyway, mainly because I want our sales tax returns to be correct.

We get a lot of call in mail orders for fly tying materials.  It’s always been that way.  We have a good selection of materials, I guess.  I don’t visit many fly shops these days.  When Paula and I go on a vacation, we like to fish where fly fishing is not popular and there are no fly shops in those places.  So, I’ve lost my perspective of what fly shops look like.  From what I hear, most are not carrying a lot of fly tying materials.

We also sell a large number of Gift Cards, online and over the phone.  That part of our business is already picking up for the Holidays. 

This week, many people will be off.  We have lots of customers we see during Thanksgiving week, every year.  They are arriving now.  A surprising number of them are camping.  It is going to be colder after today, more like what people expect Thanksgiving week.  We have a slight chance for snow Wednesday and Thursday.

I’ll be at the store part of the day today doing administrative stuff.  Then, I’ll be home for the next few days working on our online store.

We have a couple of people who will be working at the house finishing the trim and ceiling on the carport.  We have a little concrete to pour, wiring to do and putting pegboard on the walls in the boat house.  The garage door will be installed on the boat house this week.  That project is about over.  I hate to see it end.  It has been enjoyable.  I say that, because I get to see Jack often and work with him.  Jack, Paula and I have had a lot of fun.  I’ve done more physical work during this time than I have in years.

We are open 7 days a week.  We close only 4 days per year.  Thursday is one of them.

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

Byron Begley
November 24, 2014

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