Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is overcast and 50 degrees in Townsend, Tennessee this morning.  Can you believe that?  I am so glad that we are not in the snow skiing business.  Our country had one of the hottest and wettest years on record in 2011.  This year is starting out unusual too.  Traffic was fairly heavy this morning on my commute.  It was still dark when I drove to work. Steve’s Parkway Grocery and Restaurant was busy.  AJ’s had a few cars.  Every other business I saw was closed.  It is winter on the Peaceful Side of the Smokies.  This is a good time to be here.

I couldn’t see much of the river but it looked good to me.  The water was clear next to the bank where I took the water temperature.  My thermometer indicated 50 degrees, same as the air temperature.  The water level is up, about 2 inches where I was standing.  Flow is 575 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 306 cfs.

I guess you wonder like I did why there is a discrepancy in the water level changes I report and those that I also report from the gauge complex just inside the Park.  For instance, I just said the water was up about 2” from yesterday morning.  But the USGS numbers are quite different.  The gauge reading yesterday was 2.18 feet.  Today it is 2.84 feet.  That is a difference of .66 feet or about 8 inches. 

I look at the same flat rock every morning about 350 days a year.  Sometimes I stand on that rock.  Sometimes I can’t.  I guess the difference is the width of the river.  Where I’m standing the river is wide and flat.  At the gauge the river is narrow and constricted.  That is my only explanation and until proven otherwise, I’m sticking with it. 

Fishing should be good.  You do need to be careful wading.  Anthony told me he fell the other day next to the river.  He was standing or moving on some rocks.  He hit is head on a rock.  He also injured his hand and shoulder.  That, my friend was a close call.  So, be careful.

I would use nymphs at first.  Get them down.  Try a Tellico, Prince, Hare’s Ear, Copper John, Girdle Bug or any other Stonefly imitation.  Pinch on some extra weight.  Add several split shot if you need to.  These trout should be fairly active.  This warm front and rain should provide excellent conditions, though today the water is high and wading might be a problem in some areas.  It is going to be warmer tomorrow, 60 degrees.  More rain is approaching.  And Thursday the temperature is going to crash.  We may even get some snow.  The sun will return but the nights are going to be very cold, in the low 20’s.  Of course the water temperature will drop and the fishing will slow. 

Yesterday about 8 folks from the Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited were here most of the day.  They were getting ready for their annual beginner fly tying class.  We donate the materials and they assemble them here.  They were also using our binding equipment.  I got the first bound Clinch River Chapter Fly Tying Book.  You folks won’t believe this book.  I got to help with it so I can’t help but be proud.  We did the photography and graphic design here using our equipment and software.  That part alone took 2 ½ days.  There is no telling how much time Buzz and Dick spent on the planning, writing and editing.  They should be very proud.  The books were printed by Hart Graphics on coated paper.  This is a professional quality publication.  They can be bought for $20.  In fact we are selling them.  We pay $20 per book and sell them to you for $20.  I negotiated that deal with Buzz.  We bought 5 yesterday for $100.  We’ll buy more as they sell.

The Clinch River Chapter is an amazing group of people.  At this point, the Chapter devotes a lot of attention to education.  They educate kids about the environment, aquatic species, fly fishing and fly tying. They educate adults too. 

This beginner fly tying class is like no other fly tying class I have ever seen.  Each pattern is taught by a different instructor.  There is a large group of helpers standing by to give personal attention to the students.  And now, they have a book, their very own.  That is another outstanding component of the total. 

The Chapter is not huge, they just do big things.  For the first time, a Clinch River Chapter member is our Troutfest Chairman.  He is on top of the job too.  We are way ahead of schedule compared to previous years.

But what I notice more than anything about this group of women and men is, they have fun doing what they do.  Several of them tie here for our winter free fly tying demonstrations.  They enjoy helping others.  Maybe that is one reason they have been so successful.

Walter Babb will be tying here Saturday morning until 2:00 pm.  His demonstration is free.  Walter is a legend in East Tennessee and I’m not just saying that because we are friends.  Plan on being here Saturday morning at 10:00.  To see our Free Fly Tying Demonstration Schedule CLICK HERE.  I have not entered a couple of the tyers yet. When the store opens and I get the updated list I will.  This year we are offering our largest selection of fly tyers at our Winter Saturday events. 

I will also design a e-mail to send out to our subscribers.  If you have not subscribed you can join the thousands who have.  Just type your e-mail address in the box below.  Then, you will get updates about things like Walter tying on Saturday.

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

Byron Begley
January 10, 2011 

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