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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is foggy, frosty and 28 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Traffic was very light at 7:45 am.  I might have seen 5 vehicles on my way to work.  You can tell the holidays are over.  You know almost everyone you see these days in Townsend.

Little River’s water level is dropping.  Flow right now is 455 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 323 cfs.  The water temperature is 40.3 degrees this morning.

Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains is slow right now.  It’s the water temperature.  Though we will see a slight rise in the temperature today, cold nights are in our future for a while with lows in the 20’s.  The daytime highs are not going to be very warm either.  Expect that number to be in the 40’s for a few days.

If you go fishing, plan on using nymphs.  Add extra weight and get them down.  The trout will be hugging the bottom.  Put a fly right in front of their nose and they might eat, or they may not.  Trout do not need much food when the water is cold. 

You might get some action at Abrams Creek, below the Falls Trailhead.  The water is warmer there due to the springs draining the valley of Cades Cove. 

Be on the lookout for blue wing olives.  They could hatch where you are fishing if you’re lucky.  The trout may or may not pay attention to them. 

Anglers are catching trout in the stocked water through town.  The stockers don’t mind the cold water as much.  They grew up eating regular meals.  They are large fish, overstocked in a stream that lacks an abundance of food this time of year.  Try a Wooly Bugger.  Make it an olive Wooly Bugger.  You might have a good day of fishing.

We have a full beginner fly tying class tomorrow.  Additionally, Jack Gregory and Roger Lowe will be tying here as part of our winter Free Fly Tying Demonstration program.  We will have fly tyers here every Saturday through February.  All you have to do is show up.  They will be tying between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.

You will see me downstairs ordering fly tying materials.  I’ll be re-stocking that department and the job will take two days just to place the orders.  During the Winter we will be doing that weekly or every other week depending on demand.

Next week I plan to start the huge task of re-designing and updating our online fly store.  Daniel is working on the worksheets and labels for the fly bins.  Photography for the new patterns will have to wait until Spring when the flies arrive.  Spring is early here, February.  Shipments of flies begin to arrive in February. 

Knowing when the actual hatches will start is only a guess.  We do know it happens when the water temperature reaches a sustained 50 degrees.  It could be early February like it was in 2012.  That is not likely.  It could be late February like is has been in several previous years.  Or, it could happen in early March or even later.  We’ve been in this business 18 years.  We still never know. There is a trend that can’t be denied.  The hatches are coming earlier in the year than they used to.  

Our first fly shipments will be heavy in Quill Gordon and Blue Quill patterns.  March Browns will be light at first then more will come later.  We will have some late Spring patterns and some Summer patterns for those who want to stock their boxes.  The late Spring flies will start arriving in big numbers in late March and early April.  The Summer flies, especially the Yellow Sally Stonefly patterns will be arriving in big numbers during the late Spring.  Basically, we schedule the fly orders at least a month before we think we’ll need them.  During the fishing season we will be filling the bins weekly as needed. 

The warmwater flies will begin to trickle in during the month of March and April.  Smallmouth bass fishing with a fly rod is getting to be very popular.  We have some excellent smallie fishing in Tennessee and anglers know it.

Since we placed large fly orders to be shipped in the Spring last Fall, we don’t have to pay for the flies quickly.  We could delay payment for up to 120 days.  However, we get deep discounts for paying early.  We always pay those bills early and take the discount. 

All we think about around here during the next two months is getting ready for Spring.  Right now I have 50 pounds of ice melt in the back of my truck.  We have several hundred pounds in the shop.  I hope we don’t have to use it.

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

Byron Begley
January 4, 2013

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