Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is cloudy and the air is clear.  Large puffs of fog block the view of some mountains in the Smokies, while others are in plain view.  It really is pretty out there.  The view right now is exceptional.  I saw two vehicles on my way to work.  That was it.  You can tell the Christmas Holiday is over.  There were plenty of people in town yesterday though.  Monday must have been the official “Day Off” for most folks.  We were busy here and I thank you all.

Little River looks fine.  The rain that was predicted didn’t show up last night.  Great Smoky Mountains National Park probably didn’t have much.  Little River’s level has barely changed.  Flow right now is 440 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 264 cfs.  The water temperature was a little warmer this morning, 46 degrees.

I think we will get some rain today and maybe snow tonight.  It is going to be windy today. 

The overcast skies will be favorable for anglers.  But that wind might be a problem.  If you go fishing and the wind is strong, go home.  It’s not worth it.  You could get hurt.  If the wind does settle down, this might be a good day to fish in the Park.  Try nymphs, weighted and ticking the bottom.  I like the old favorite patterns that anglers used here over 30 years ago when I started fishing in the Park with a fly rod.  They still work.  They are the Tellico, Pheasant Tail and Prince Nymph.  These days many nymphs have beads, forming a nice round head and giving the fly some extra weight and flash.  They work well too. 

A lot of our customers fish the Clinch River below Norris Dam.  I hate the fact that the generation there is ongoing.  The fishermen who wade can’t get a break.  The Clinch River fishes well this time of year.  Today would be a good day if they would just turn those generators off.  I have heard the flood gates were open and they may still be.  I understand TVA has to let that water out and be ready for more rain.  I hope things get back to normal soon so these fishermen can get back on their favorite stream.  This unusually wet Fall has caused tailwater fishermen anxiety all around East Tennessee.  We all need a break. 

I go fly fishing to relax and enjoy the scenery.  When I catch a fish, that is great.  If I don’t I’m still happy.  I’m doing what I have loved to do since I was a child.  I got my first fly rod in 1962 on my 11th birthday.  I got a fly tying kit that day too.

I tried golf, baseball, bass fishing with conventional tackle (that was fun), water skiing and a few other sports.  I enjoy hunting and shooting but I don’t do much of that.  I stayed stuck on fly fishing, most of my life and that’s about my only activity these days.  Of course, I love work too.  I always have even before I got into this business.  Now I love work more than ever.   

Lynn was in yesterday supported by a couple of crutches.  I didn’t recognize him at first.  I didn’t have my glasses on and unless you are 20 feet away I probably won’t know who you are without them.  Lynn has a problem with his heel and it may require surgery.  He said his first thought, when the doctor told him he might need surgery, was “What will this do to my fishing?”   Lynn is one of my favorite people and my first thought was identical to his, what will this do to his fishing.  When will he be back in the water?  We talked about it.  I feel his pain.  If he doesn’t get back in the water by Spring, I’m going to change my day off and take him to the lake in our boat when he is off.  He can count on that.

Then Bill came in.  He had surgery on his arm.  He can’t fish either.  I really enjoy talking to Bill.  I like him a lot and I feel bad for him too. He is going to try fishing left handed with a Tenkara rod.  He can do that.  I bet he makes that work.

I am just like these guys.  If something else happens to me, I’m going to immediately consider two things.  One is, can I work? And the other is, What’s this going to do to my fly fishing?

We all need more time on the water no matter what kind of fishing we do.  We all share the same love of fishing, especially fly fishing.  Fishing is good for us.  Fishing makes us appreciate what God gave us to enjoy and protect. And we will do everything we can to protect our environment, our waters and our time spent here.

I hope Lynn, Bill and the people who love the Clinch get back on the water soon.

It is very windy right now.  Don’t go.

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

Byron Begley
December 27, 2011

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