Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is cloudy and raining in Townsend this morning.  It is a gloomy day.  The flock of crows that loiter near our store during the winter are all perched in a tree outside my office window.  I don’t know what those birds do here after the tourists are gone.  I guess they are not bothered anymore by people so they hang out near the shopping center and across the street at our store. 

Occasionally they are joined by a raven or two.  We don’t see ravens at this elevation often, only during the winter.  I’ve seen plenty of them in the mountains, mainly in the highest elevations. 

The raven has the largest brain of any bird including the ostrich.  Us wild turkey hunters hate to admit or refuse to believe that there is a bird smarter than those big birds we hunt.  A turkey is not smart.  They can just see and hear better than anything we hunt.  If they had a good sense of smell, we would never kill one. 

Ravens are intelligent.  Turkeys are scared to death that something is going to get them. Someone hit a turkey with their truck on Old Cades Cove Road this week.  I’ve never seen a dead raven on the road.  I have seen a few dead Yellerhammers on the road.  That seems to happen a lot in our neck of the woods.

Little River is rolling and stained.  Flow right now is 1,240 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date, based on 46 years of data is 185 cfs.  Today’s flow has set yet another record for this date.  That has been happening frequently lately.  The highest flow reading for this date before today was 825 cfs in 1983.  The lowest was 34 in 1988.  Precipitation at the airport is 8.55 inches above normal for the year.  The airport only got 1 inch during the past 24 hours. We have had 1.85 inches of rain during the past 24 hours at the shop.

More rain is falling and that will continue through tonight.  Then the rain may change to snow.  The low tonight will be around 26 degrees in the valley and it will be much colder in the mountains.  The skies will be clear tomorrow through Sunday but it will be cold.  Expect lows in the 20’s and highs in the 40’s for the next several days.  We should see some snow covered mountains tomorrow.  Accumulation in the valley is not expected to amount to much.

The water temperature in Little River is great right now at 52 degrees.  That won’t last long.  Fishing is going to be slow, it is slow.  You might entice a hungry brown with a nymph or streamer but that’s about it.  As the water temperature drops into the low 40’s and it will, the fishing will slow down even more.  I would choose a tailwater to fish for now.  Or go into the Park and blind cast a dark fly. 

Be careful wading in the Park rivers.  Visibility is low and the current is strong. If you are fishing in the Smokies stay near the bank.

I tied 6 black Knuckleheads last night and 5 the night before.  I’m going to tie 12 dozen of those before switching to another pattern.  These will be sold in the store and online.  I swore I would never tie flies to sell again.  Seventeen years ago I tied all winter.  That was before website overhauls were done in the off-season.  But I’m back to tying again.  The patterns I am tying are for smallmouth bass and you can’t buy them anywhere.  I also ordered around 50 more warmwater fly patterns to sell next year.  They will start arriving in March.  I have them coming in groups of about 15 different patterns.  That way I can photograph and put them on the website in a day or two.  After a break from that for 3 weeks, another batch will arrive.  Buying flies to sell online have to be scheduled or I’ll get overwhelmed.

Sometime during the night we had our 1.2 millionth visitor to the website for the year.  At the rate we are going we should end the year at around 1.3 million visitors.  You are only counted once during a day even though you may visit the site more often.

Ever heard of a Tequeely?  Neither had I.  Orvis came out with this pattern and smallmouth bass anglers took note.  I bought a couple downstairs and put them in my boat box.  Josh and I were drifting a tailwater this Fall and the bass fishing was slow.  I tied on a Tequeely and on the second cast I caught a nice smallie.  Then I caught another one.  I took the oars and Josh used my rod and Tequeely and had the same result.  We were excited.  Then we both looked at the fly and discussed how hard it would be to tie one.  It has several yellow rubber legs on a copper colored body with a black and yellow marabou tail.  The legs are lined up perfectly.  They sway in unison in the water, undulating up and down in the current.  I think I’ll just buy these instead of attempting to tie them.  But I won’t be without them, ever.  Orvis ran out of them temporarily recently.  We were out of the #6.  But I finally got a few in.  I’m going to order several dozen for Spring.  The Tequeely is a killer smallmouth bass fly.   

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

Byron Begley
December 7, 2011

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Our fly fishing classes will be offered from March to October 2011.   To sign up just call the shop at 877-448-3474.  You can read more on our website in the Schools Section.  The fly fishing class schedule follows:

Saturday October 8 – Beginner Day One
Saturday October 22 – Beginner Day One
Sunday October 23 – Beginner Onstream Day Two

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