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. As usual, I’m writing this report early, before dawn.  It is 26 degrees outside.  Yesterday was supposed to be fairly warm and beautiful outside.  I reported that yesterday morning.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  I worked at the store yesterday.  It was cold and cloudy all day. I hope you didn’t drive to Townsend expecting what I said would be true.  It wasn’t and I’m sorry.  I was quoting other sources which I won’t name here.

It looked like it was snowing in the mountains.  I guess that didn’t happen.  All the roads are open today in the Park. 

We live in the foothills of high mountains and what is considered a temperate rain forest.  Many weather forecasts don’t include us.  The weather is different here.  I like it here.

Moving here is one of the best decisions I ever made.  Of course, I always wanted to live next to this massive contiguous public wilderness area.  Connected to Great Smoky Mountains National Park are many National Forests, in Tennessee and North Carolina, even extending into Virginia.  Look at the map.  They are all connected.  Being public land, it will probably never be developed, for sure not in my lifetime.  The biological diversity is unbelievable.  Many species of trees, mammals, amphibians, insects and fish are found here and a few are not found in many if any other places on earth. 

Little River is flowing at 162 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.76 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 257 cfs.  The water temperature at 6:33 am is 38 degrees.

I believe fishing will be slow until the streams get warmer.  You can catch trout under these conditions, usually on nymphs fished deep.  It is going to be warmer over the next few days.  The high today will be near 60, “they say”.  We have an 80% chance for rain tonight.  Low temperatures will be in the 30’s through Sunday.  More rain is expected Saturday.

Fishing will improve if the water temperature rises to the higher 40’s.  I really don’t think that will happen.  We can hope.

Dan Munger said he is going musky fishing today.  Dan is one of the most enthusiastic fly fishermen I have met.  Maybe it’s his great personality along with his enthusiasm that causes an affect on people who fly fish.  Every time I talk to him I get more excited to go fishing.  That’s the kind of person you want to have working with fly fishing customers.  Now, I’m thinking about musky fishing.  I can’t wait to hear how he does.

Dan said he would take me carp fishing.  He has that figured out.  He uses some of his own carp flies and others developed by avid carp fly fishermen.  I’ve caught a few carp on a fly and loved it.  It’s sight fishing!  I love sight fishing.

The Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited began a “Trout in the Classroom” program this year.  We started with two schools, Townsend Elementary and Clayton-Bradley Academy.  The Chapter has been supporting Great Smoky Mountains National Park for over 22 years.  But this year, at the Troutfest Banquet, a special fund was set up for education.  I think that fund started out with $5,000, raised that night.  Much of that money will be used for the Trout in the Classroom project.  Aquariums with chillers are installed in the classroom.  Water quality is monitored and maintained.  Rainbow trout eggs are placed in the aquarium.  The second graders watch the trout hatch and grow to be fish.  Then, the trout are released in Little River right here in Townsend.  They did that Saturday.  It was a huge success.  You can read more about it on the Daily Times website by CLICKING HERE.  I’m proud to be a member of the Little River Chapter.  It’s been a fun 22 years.    

Dan and Daniel are running the shop these days.  I knew at one point I would have to let them take over.  Daniel has been working with us for about 17 years.  Dan hasn’t worked with us long.  Bringing him on board was part of a long-term plan.  I decided to do that now so they could be prepared for the time when I’m retired.  I don’t expect to completely retire, ever.  But, they need the experience of making decisions and being in charge.  I think they are doing a great job.

I’m the bookkeeper, website maintainer and on Saturdays, I go to the shop to talk to customers.  I think that is going to be my job for a long time.  It’s a lonely job.  It’s not like talking to customers.  But, that’s what I agreed to do and I’m sticking to it.

It’s getting close to Christmas.  Most of our business is mail order right now.  As we creep closer to the day, Gift Cards will be the big sales item.  We are selling a lot of gift cards right now.  People like our cards because they never expire and if you lose one, we can make a transaction without the card.  All the information is in our computer. 

I got an e-mail from a customer who found some Gift Certificates that were issued several years ago, before we actually had plastic cards.  We checked the computer and they were there.  He redeemed them for fly fishing tackle. 

So today, the “Gift of the Day Idea” is, you guessed it, the LRO Gift Card.  You can buy them online, buy them by calling us or come by the store to purchase one.  We can even e-mail a temporary gift card to you or whoever you want it to go to.  That happens, especially right before a holiday or special occasion. 

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

Byron Begley
December 15, 2014

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