Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
January 22, 2010

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is overcast and light rain is falling in Townsend, Tennessee this morning.  The rain is supposed to stop soon and tomorrow will be warm and sunny.  People are out and about in our small town.  Everyone is talking about the warm weather we are having.  People are happy about that.  We do have a slight chance for snow on Monday night and Tuesday.  And there will be more rain tomorrow night and Sunday.  This rainfall is getting us closer to normal for the first three weeks of the year.

Little River is flushing some water, quite a bit of it.  The flow rate is 778 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Normal for this date is 295 cfs.  We got an inch of rain over the past 24 hours so that explains the high flow.  If you are wading today be real careful.  There are areas where you should not be wading at all.  The rivers are swift.  The levels will drop today and tonight so the streams will be lower tomorrow.

If you go fishing try streamers and get them down.  Wooly Buggers and Clousers should work.  There is a little color to the water and you can use heavier tippet.  The water temperature in town at the swinging bridge is 47 degrees.  Fishing is improving.

Yesterday I hooked a water hose to the water inlets of our boat’s motor and started it up.  It is a good idea to do that every week or two during the winter.  A couple of months ago I mixed some Marine Sta-Bil in the gas tank.  That is a fuel stabilizer and ethanol treatment that is recommended also.  A lot of outboard problems occur when 10% ethanol gasoline is stored in your tank and fuel system.  I know a lot of people who had fuel systems problems because they didn’t take this precaution.  Our motor fired up right away and ran fine.  It kind of made me want to go fishing.

Come by the shop tomorrow morning at 10:00 am.  John Thurman and Clayton Gist will be giving you a FREE fly tying demonstration.  They are both excellent tyers.  John is an aquatic entomologist and Clayton is a guide.  They will be tying at the same time in two different locations in the store.  They will tie until 2:00 pm.  It will be a good day.

Last year our business was down over 6% but it was a very profitable year because we cut a lot of costs.  We were expecting business to be a lot worse.  Thankfully that didn’t happen.  That was the second year that we were down in 15 years.  I didn’t like it but it was a tough year for everyone.  One of my buddies who owns a fly shop told me the other day he was up 6% last year.  That was almost unheard of in our business in 2009.  He is a very good operator, one of the best in our business. For the first 3 weeks of January this year, we are up 6.26% over the same period last year.

There are a few of us fly shops who share that kind of information.  We also help each other.  In fact, when the store owner I spoke of above got into the online mail order business he call me to ask some specific questions.  I answered them honestly and saved him a lot of problems trying to figure some things out.  I met with the owner, manager and webmaster of another shop in North Carolina last year.  They drove over here to pick my brain.  They were planning to try some new stuff that we had done.  I told them what I knew.  The manager is planning to come back for more discussion.

I view fly shops as part of our team.  Fly shops are good at getting information to people, lots of information.  Look at this website.  There is a lot of information here.  Getting information to anglers helps them enjoy their sport more.  When they enjoy the sport they stay involved and get their friends involved. 

Yesterday I was talking to a customer specifically about fishing a tailwater and he is interested in a guide.  I gave him the names of two fly shops and who to talk to.  Those stores do the same for us. 

Most of the fly shops I know of in our region, who have made it through the past two years without folding are probably on firm ground.  The industry folks say many more will close this year.  But, those that I am close to and friends with seem to be in good shape.  I hope so.

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

Byron Begley
January 22, 2010 

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