Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains. At 5:06 am, the temperature is 53.8 degrees.

The weather websites are predicting very warm temperatures, in the high 60’s to high 70’s through Monday. Lows will be in the high 50’s to low 60’s. We have a good chance for thunderstorms through Christmas Day. Some may be severe, with high winds and possible heavy rain. None of the sites mention how much rain we should expect at this point.

Little River is flowing at 205 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.87 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 275 cfs. The water temperature is 52.2 degrees.

Fishing may be very good through Christmas Day due to the warm stream temperatures. If we don’t get heavy rain, you will enjoy great fly fishing for trout in the Smokies.

High winds are possible, causing dangerous conditions in the Park.

If we get heavy rain, the streams could be blown out.

Maybe it is too early in the morning and the weather forecasters are trying to make definitive forecasts without success. Or, possibly, it is just too early to tell, what is going to happen.

It appears the worst weather will occur tonight and tomorrow, but nobody seems to know for sure what will happen in East Tennessee. Be prepared for severe storms, with high winds and large hail. Watch for tornados.

I wish I could give you better information, but right now that is hard to do. I would not drive long distances to come here to fish. You may be disappointed. On the other hand, if you live here, watch the weather and make a decision to go or not to go. When weather forecasts are this vague, sometimes, nothing happens.

You should have been here yesterday! I hate to say that just about as much as I hate to hear it. We all have heard it before. Yesterday was perfect, no sun, no wind and warm temperatures in the streams. I wore a t-shirt when I went to the shop.

I just walked outside. It is pitch black at this time of the morning. I could hear a few drops of rain or dew falling. The wind is calm and the forest is totally quiet except for a few drops of water hitting the leaves.

The shop will be open today until 5 pm. Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, we will open at 9 am and close at noon.

20 years ago, we closed all day on Christmas Eve, one time. I will never forget it. I was at home and the phone rang. It was a woman, who was visiting Townsend with her husband. I don’t know how she even knew my name, but our phone number has always been listed, until we recently got rid of our land line. She was planning to buy some Christmas presents for her husband at our shop. Back then, our store was tiny, 600 square feet.

I met her at the shop, she bought some nice tackle, and she was very appreciative that I opened for her. I was appreciative too. From then until now, we have always opened for three hours, on Christmas Eve. Paula and I ran the shop on Christmas Eve most years. Tomorrow, it will be me and Dan Munger.

It’s kind of a festive time. All I do is talk to people. Dan will do the same and ring up sales if we have any. I don’t know how to use the computers for processing sales. I don’t want to know and won’t know. There are some things I just never wanted to learn to do, and that is one of them.

Sometimes, a customer will walk into the store and I always greet them if I am there. Then, I get the question from out-of-towners. How much is a fishing license?

I have no idea. Any guess would be far from the truth. I buy mine in February, and I think it is about $40, including the trout stamp. I think there may be 50 different licenses we can sell. I couldn’t for the life of me, print a fishing license. If somehow I did print one, I would not know how to ring it up.

I don’t tell anyone I am an owner of the shop unless they ask. I prefer to be known as, that guy who works at the fly shop and speaks to everyone. The local people and regular customers know who I am. I know them. We have a lot of people visiting our store, who I have never seen in my life. I love to talk to them and help them, until it gets to the point of “the fishing license”. Then, I defer to someone else, who knows what they are talking about.

This has been a fun 20 years. I have close friends I would have never met. The people I work with are all good friends. Customers are always in a good mood. Most are very friendly. We have one very common interest, fly fishing.

I love it when customers and friends bring their dogs in the shop. I could not guess at how many times, I’ve been on my hands and knees playing with someone’s dog. Sometimes, I see customers sitting on the front porch with their dog. When that happens, I go outside, get to know the dog, invite it into the shop, and ask if the dog would like some water if it is hot outside.

It’s been a fun job, for almost one third of my life, and I hope it continues for a long time. My role is changing and it is time. But I still love being involved with Little River Outfitters. This has been the best 20 years of my life. I am thankful, Paula and I decided to do this. I am thankful we met Daniel. He is like a son to me. I think he was 18 years old when he started working here. Now, he is running the business. I work for him. That is working out well so far, as long as I don’t have to sell fishing licenses and run the cash registers.

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

Byron Begley
December 23, 2015

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