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. At 5:46 am, the temperature is 44.8 degrees, much cooler than yesterday morning. The warm weather is not over yet. Expect a high today near 68 and a high of 72 tomorrow. Then, it will cool some, until Christmas week, when it will be very warm again.

Little River is flowing at 187 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.81 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 257 cfs. The water temperature is 53.4 degrees.

Fishing is good in the Smoky Mountains. With the water temperature hovering above 50 degrees, and a likelihood it will continue to do so for several days, we are enjoying good fishing and will for a while. This may continue until January. The long term forecast through December 29th indicates it will.  This is amazing.

More rain is expected this month, along with warm temperatures.

One weather website tells us, the average temperatures at the end of December is 48 degrees for the high and 26 degrees as the normal low. It will be way above that.

We’ve had great November and December fishing in the mountains, much better than I can remember. Will it continue into January? Your guess is as good as mine. It may, due to this strong El Nino. What if Spring hatches begin in February? It has done it before, not long ago.

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) continues to generate aggressively at the secondary dams, trying to draw down the lakes to their normal Winter levels. TVA held back generation at many dams, to control water levels in the Tennessee River, when we got heavy and continuous rain earlier this month. Now, they are letting the water flow, while making cheap power, and it is keeping wade fishermen off the tailwaters. Hopefully that will not last too long.

Rainfall, as recorded at the Knoxville Airport is currently about 1” above normal for the year.  We saw most of this year, in a rainfall deficit.

We have some very aggressive plans, things we want to get done at the shop this Winter when business is slow. Now, I’m beginning to wonder if we will have a Winter.

I’ve been working on a large website project, off and on, for three months. I hope to finally finish this week. Then, we will be removing pages from our remote server and launching new pages on the web. Since the new pages can’t be launched as they are finished, I worry about losing everything I’ve done due to some disaster. For that reason, I have everything backed up to several hard drives. A thunderstorm and lightning strike fried several computers and other devices at the store this Summer. Believe me, I’m taking every precaution.

We have a brand new 27” iMac, at the shop, in it’s delivery box. That computer will be fired up and loaded with software after I finish this project. That may get done next week.

My job, for the next few months will be, writing this report and shooting product photography.

Thanks to the hard work and accomplishments made by everyone at our store, we have had a great business year. The store is up double digits from 2014. The guys have set a lofty goal for 2016. It’s going to take a lot of work to get there.

You can’t just sit back and wait for business to improve. If you do, it won’t. Growth and success requires driving many miles and pushing the accelerator to the floor. I’ve owned and run businesses for over 40 years. I have learned that.

Townsend is about to get another positive tourism shot in the arm. Christmas week and New Years week are about here. A lot of people spend those holidays in the mountains. This wonderful weather we have right now helps too. We have had great hiking, fishing, camping and other outdoor activities weather. I’ve seen people riding bicycles wearing shorts. I’ve seen fly fishermen in the store wearing shorts and t-shirts, and this is December.

Our town has a tourism based economy. Weather is a determining factor that drives our economy. We’re all waiting to see what January brings. We pretty much know what to expect during the last half of December. That looks very good if we don’t get too much rain.

It can go the other way. Snow storms, ice storms, floods and droughts can change the whole business dynamic. In our business, we have to plan for that too. The tourism and outdoor business is dependent upon weather, something that is out of our control. Businesses here have to plan for the long term and the short term, and by short term, I’m talking about a period of a week or two. Most of us are used to it.

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

Byron Begley
December 15, 2015

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