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 6:45 am, dark and 26 degrees in Townsend this morning.  We’re having cold nights and nice warm days.  We’ll see a slight warming trend coming our way.  The Weather Service predicts a high of 54 today and tomorrow and 62 Monday.  Temperatures will drop to around freezing at night.

Little River is cold too.  Right now the temperature is 37.2 degrees.  Flow is 182 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.83 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 270 cfs.

Fishing will be slow in the Smokies.  If you catch trout today, you will probably do it using nymphs, tumbling along the streambed where the trout are hunkered down.  I know, people are telling me they have been using dry flies and catching trout but I would still start with nymphs, then switch to dry flies later just to see what happens.  For a dry fly, I would use a Blue Wing Olive.  Still, I think most trout will be inactive except for possibly the post spawn browns.

Some streams are warmer than others due to springs feeding the main flow.  One place we send people when the water is cold is Abrams Creek, the upper end, at the Falls Trailhead or above. 

It will be a nice day to be outside and going fishing is a good idea though catch rates will most likely be low.  Today will be similar to yesterday.  I was off from work and outside a lot during the day.  If you go fishing today wait a while.  Let the water warm some before you go. 

You might want to visit our store today.  We are holding our normal Free Saturday Fly Tying Demonstrations.  Tyers today will be Denise Jenkins and Stacy McDaniel.  They tie flies to be used for jewelry.  These ladies are good friends who took to fly fishing recently and started tying flies almost immediately.  They are both avid anglers and TU volunteers. 

I’m for anything that attracts women to fly fishing.  I would like to see more of that happen.  Don’t get me wrong, many women fly fish.  They are just outnumbered by men which is a shame.  Research shows that the growth in our sport is coming from women and young people.  That is good news and I hope that trend continues.

My wife Paula is a fly fisherman and we fish together often.  She is my best fishing partner.  When we go on vacation, we go on fly fishing vacations.  We enjoy taking our boat to the lake to fly fish for smallmouth bass, bluegill and other warmwater species.  We each have a fishing kayak.  We spent a week in Florida this Spring fishing out of those boats.  We both agree, it was our best vacation ever.  Fishing was good, the house we rented was right on a bay, the kayaks were parked on our private beach and we went fishing often, on a whim with no preparation necessary.

I can’t think of a better marriage situation.  Fly fishing makes us more compatible.  We enjoy our time off together, doing what we both enjoy. Neither of us get dragged on a vacation we don’t want to go on.  Not everyone can say that!  

So, maybe you ladies who don’t fly fish can visit our store today and learn how Stacy and Denise got involved in our sport.  If you ladies fly fish and your husbands don’t, bring them.  I know many women who fly fish, but their husbands do not. This is not a gender activity.  It can be a family activity, and should be.

I also know families, who all fly fish as a family, mom, dad and the kids.  They all do it.  What could be better than that?

I still go fishing with my male buddies.  Being married to a woman who fly fishes doesn’t stop that from happening. 

I have always loved boats dating back to when I was probably 4 years old.  I have some old photos of me, my mother, my father and my sister on our house boats and cruisers throughout my childhood.  My parents gave me a small jon boat with a 3.5 hp motor when I was very young.  By the time I turned 12 or 13, that boat was upgraded to a larger one, with a bigger engine.  Since me and my friends were small at that age, we could water ski behind that boat.  It had a 40 hp motor. 

Our family would go on camping trips to Lake Cumberland when I was very young.  My father would always rent a v-hull boat with a 9.9 motor, for me to go fishing in by myself. We camped in our travel trailer.  That boat was always tied up at our campsite and ready to go.  I stayed out in that boat, fishing all day long, every day. 

The boat Paula and I have now is nothing special to most people.  It is a 16 foot utility deep-V with a 20 hp Mercury motor, similar to the one my dad rented for me when I was a kid.  It’s just bigger and a little more powerful.  I guess that’s what I like so much about our boat.  It takes me back to my childhood.

Paula and I often spend hours just cruising around the lake when fishing is slow, during the middle of the day.  By cruising, I mean we are moving along at 2 or 3 miles per hour.  At that speed, you see everything.  The motor is a 4 stroke, so there is not obnoxious odor.  You can barely hear it running. 

A boat like that is not very expensive.  We bought this one new, in 2009 for under $7,000 including sales tax.  The only options we bought were electric start and electric tilt.  I can start it by pulling the rope any time.  It doesn’t take much of a jerk to start that motor.  I’m living proof of that.  Though I don’t know for sure, tests indicate the top speed on this boat is 20 miles per hour.  We hardly ever go that fast.

We have taken our boat to Dale Hollow Lake at least twice for a week-long vacation.  We rent a covered slip at the marina, which has power to charge the tolling motor battery and a locker to put our tackle in.  We stay in a small cabin.  It is a very inexpensive vacation at a beautiful place.  We can fish for a week and only use about 6 gallons of gasoline.  These small 4 stroke engines are amazingly fuel efficient.

Since the boat is a Deep-V design, should we encounter a storm with whitecaps, this boat does fine.  We’ve never had water come over the bow. I’ve had some bad experiences in storms on lakes.  I don’t worry about this boat at all.  The boat is a Lowe A 1667 if you want to look it up.  I installed comfortable swivel seats in ours, which was the best money I’ve ever spent.  Actually, those seats were free, sort of.  We bought them with Cabelas Club points.

I’m going to the shop this morning to hang out with customers, our staff, Stacy and Denise.  I hope to see you there.

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

Byron Begley
December 13, 2014

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