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.  It is going to be sunny this morning though th sun has not risen.  The temperature is 32 degrees.  Traffic is light in Townsend as we would all expect on a Friday morning in January. 

Little River is flowing at 500 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.55 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 253 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:55 am is 40.3 degrees.

Well, not many people are fly fishing in the Smokies but there are a few.  Josh and Jules went fishing yesterday.  If anyone can catch them, they can.  Josh owns Frontier Anglers Guide Service.  He has been fishing a lot lately.  I don’t know how well they did.  I bet they caught a few trout.  They usually do.

John came by yesterday and we talked about Spring smallmouth fishing on the lakes.  He wants me to tie some black Knucklheads with a chartreuse or orange stripe down the middle of the belly.  Bill Bolinger suggested I tie the stripe in with Krystal Flash and make it permanent with a bead of epoxy.  That’s a great idea.  I’ll do that, give some flies to John and try a few myself.  It is amazing how innovative we can be on a cold winter day when there is not much else to do.  Bill Bolinger is a sharp guy. I was planning on using fluorescent fabric paint.  I might try that too.

Mike Bryant also dropped by.  He will be tying for you tomorrow as part of our Free Saturday Winter Events.  Mike has been doing all kinds of things with CDC, or the butt feathers from a duck.  These feathers impart a lot of action and he is using them in some new methods he came up with or learned from other fly tyers.  So, that is what Mike will be doing tomorrow.  His whole fly tying session will be devoted to CDC flies for trout.  That will be interesting.  Drop by between 10 am and 2 pm.

Mike and I also talked about tying saltwater flies.  We both have trips planned this year to fish in the salt.  Game Changers that look like finger mullet are definitely on that list for both of us.  I wouldn’t go down to Florida without Sand Shrimp and Copperhead patterns tied up.  Puglisi Pinfish in all sizes will always be in my box.  I would definitely have poppers and Crease Flies made for the trip. 

Tim Ivey is coming up from Georgia to tie for you tomorrow.  Tim ties all kinds of flies but I bet he will be tying warmwater imitations.  I don’t know for sure.  Tim is a professional fly tyer.  He ties flies for a living.  You should be here tomorrow to meet him.  Again, this is a free event that starts at 10 am.

In six weeks, our Spring merchandise will be pouring in.  In a way that is good.  We’ll have plenty of neat gear and flies to sell.  The bad part is, I have to pay for it.  Good planning and good weather solves that problem.  Often we sell the merchandise before we have to pay for it. 

Much of what we stock, especially during the first half of the year, was ordered last Fall.  By making that commitment, we get discounts and terms.  Terms can be as long as 90 days or more.  So, we get it in, sell it for a profit and then pay the cost to our vendors.  Sounds easy doesn’t it?

It’s not as easy as it sounds.  Luck is involved.  Marketing is involved. Weather is involved.  Merchandising is involved.  Adverse external factors beyond our control are involved.

Last spring, we had rain falling every weekend.  The rivers were blown out.  The TVA dams were generating around the clock.  Most anglers in the Eastern United States were affected by the weather.  Business was slow.  So, what did we do?  We implemented “Plan B”.  We simply delayed some of our shipments without losing discounts or terms.  We just pushed them out into the future.  When the weather eased up, we had those orders released.  Everything worked out and our cash flow was good.  The overhead does go on.  Since we own our building, the rent is going to Paula and I so we can cut the rent if needed for a time. 

Then, in October, the Park closed.  That had a devastating impact on business in our region and others.  Thing got really bad.  I bet every business in Townsend was hurt by this.  Hey, it’s time for “Plan B” again.

I prefer “Plan A”, order like there is no tomorrow because business is booming.  We have those times too.

In the fly fishing business, you have to be very careful.  If you make mistakes, you go out of business.  You need a Plan A and a Plan B because you never know what is coming.  Also, if you hire the wrong people, customers don’t offer good friendly service.  You go out of business. 

Right now, I hope Plan A is in effect all of 2014.

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

Byron Begley
January 17, 2014

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