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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is Thursday, my day off.  It is dark and 33 degrees in Dry Valley where we live, about 5 minutes from the shop.  I plan on staying home all day and tying Knuckleheads.  That was by far our best selling warmwater fly last year.  Now that they are for sale on our online store, I’m preparing to sell a lot more than last year.

Last night, when I came home from work, I noticed most of the mountains that surround Dry Valley still had snow on the ground.  Except for our brief span of several days when it felt like Spring, this Winter is turning out to be more like normal, which is good.

Little River has dropped to about normal flow at 365 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 314 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:20 am was 41 degrees, up 3 degrees from the low temperature yesterday.

I did not see one angler yesterday who was going fishing in the Park.  I doubt if anyone will go today.  The air is cold, the water is cold and fishing is slow.  If you go, use nymphs and get them down.  The trout will be sluggish and holding on the bottom of deep runs and pools. 

I just updated the TVA lake level information.  When I do that I also look at the generation schedules, every day.  It looks like TVA plans to generate at Cherokee, Douglas, Norris, Fort Loudoun, Watauga and Watts Bar all day.  The agency is lowering the lakes back to Winter pool. 

We are bracing for an ice storm tomorrow.  It could get bad here but maybe not.  The National Weather Service says we could expect 1/10th to ¼ inch of ice tomorrow before it turns to rain.  They warn of possible power outages. 

So, with that in mind, I’m wondering if our store will be open tomorrow.  We may not be open.  It is most likely we will have power because our store is located across the street from a major power station.  Out here in the forest, we could lose power.

If that happens, tomorrow’s Fishing Report may not get done.  This pages is updated every day except for 4 holidays per year and one misunderstanding we had last year.  For the most part though, you get an updated report about 360 days a year. 

Rob Fightmaster will be tying at the shop Saturday.  He will be giving a free demonstration for you.  All you have to do is show up.  He will be tying between 10:00 am until 2:00 pm.  Rob is an Orvis Endorsed Guide and specializes in guiding in the Smokies.  I’m pretty sure he will be tying his favorite Smoky Mountain patterns.

Ice is not expected to be on the roads on Saturday.  If bad road conditions are present on Saturday, Rob’s demonstration will be called off.  You can check here if it is, if we have power.  We don’t want him or you to get hurt trying to drive to the store on Saturday.  If we don’t have power at the shop, we can’t be open either.  So, we’ll have to see what happens.

Writing the Fishing Report from home once a week is a good thing.  It requires me to backup my Mac at work and download the files on this computer.  So, I usually have three current versions of our website on hard drives in two locations.  I will backup  the files this afternoon since I’m making changes right now, then load them down on the Mac at work tomorrow morning.

Paula and I were the only two people working yesterday at the shop.  On weekdays, during the Winter when conditions keep anglers off the water, we are slow.  Most of our business is mail order on those days.  We do have some local folks come in.  Some don’t fly fish at all.  They do buy fly tying materials but not for flies.  They make crappie and walleye jigs and they are using them now. 

Yesterday was a walleye day. Lowell came in and bought a bunch of marabou in several colors and some thread.  He and his son are tying walleye jigs. He showed me a lot of photos of fish they have been catching lately.  I assume they are fishing on Tellico Lake but I don’t ask.  He did mention Fontana Lake at one point. 

I went to the Phillips 66, called the Parkway Grocery to get lunch our lunch.  Most anglers know the Parkway Grocery is famous for their chili dogs. That store is owned by Steven, Lowell’s nephew.  There, I ran into Ronnie, our Townsend Police Chief.  He is an avid walleye fisherman.  In fact, Ronnie got Lowell into walleye fishing.  Ronnie has invited me to go with him and someday I will.  I haven’t used a spinning rod in decades but I’m certainly willing to do so.

Ronnie told me something interesting.  Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) uses gill nets to capture walleye in Tellico Lake.  He said they are doing that right now.  He even told me where on the lake they are netting the fish.

They strip the eggs and milt and evidently haul the fertilized eggs off to a hatchery to grow more walleye.  Since walleye are not self sustaining in Tellico Lake and other lakes, TWRA stocks the lake regularly.  I’ve seen pictures of 30”+ walleye caught there.  I didn’t know where TWRA got the fish to stock.  Now it is coming together.  Next time I talk to our Region Fisheries Manager I’ll get the whole story.  Interesting.

Paula and I have a very good friend named Tom Keer.  We met Tom when he was the National Sales Manager at Orvis.  It was Tom who named our store, Orvis Dealer of the Year in 1994.  He lives in Cape Cod with his wife and kids and owns a marketing company there.  Tom is an excellent writer who has contributed to many fly fishing and upland hunting magazines.  You can visit his website by CLICKING HERE.  He is a great guy with a lot of talent.

Tom posted on the “Take Me Fishing” website and talked about our fly tying classes and us.  Tom is always helping us, he always has since we met him. You can read his post by CLICKING HERE.  Thanks Tom.  We appreciate you more than you know.     

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

Byron Begley
January 24, 2013

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