Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is cloudy and 42 degrees this morning in Townsend, Tennessee.  The Great Smoky Mountains are clearly visible as there is no fog.  Traffic was light this morning.  It is a Monday.  The visitors we had here this weekend are gone.

Little River looks about perfect.  Flow is 397 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 341 cfs.  The water temperature was 48 degrees at the swinging bridge in Townsend. 

Fishing has been very good in the Smoky Mountains.  The warm water has caused the early aquatic insects to hatch, prematurely.  This has been an early Spring.  Anglers have had luck using dry flies including Blue Quills and Quill Gordons.  Nymphs are working too.  Looking ahead at the weather forecast for February we are going to have some warm days but starting Thursday, temperatures will return to normal.  Then, it will warm up again at night on Sunday.  The average low temperature right now is 28 degrees.  It will probably get that cold but return to the 30’s by Sunday.  Highs will be in the 50’s to near 60 of the next 7 days.  Fishing will be fairly good during that time but not like it has been for the past few days.  The water temperature will drop temporarily.

At that point we will start fishing nymphs deeper in the water column, and on the bottom.  But, for the past few days, those who prefer dry fly fishing got their wish. 

Before you start planning your early Spring trip in February remember this: we have had some awful weather in years past during February and March.  Our worst snowstorm occurred in early March about 20 years ago.  We had three feet of snow in the valley and more than that in the mountains.  We have had a hard freeze in April.  Plan your trip if the forecast looks good but be ready to cancel if a cold spell or worse changes the conditions. 

Some of my friends, who have fished the mountains for 50 years, tell me to expect lighter Spring hatches since they have begun to get active this Winter.  Another wise angler told me several times, “When the hatches start they don’t stop”, which means we could have good hatches when the water is cold and the trout don’t feed much.  That may or may not happen.

Also, if you see Quill Gordons hatching in the lower elevations, that does not mean this is happening in the higher elevations.  The water is colder up there.  The high elevation creeks are not experiencing the effects of the un-seasonally warm winter than the lower elevations streams have experienced this year. Those streams are warmer than normal, but not warm enough to trigger a Quill Gordon hatch.

But, we are all enjoying this mild winter that we have had so far.  It may continue to be that way.  Fishing may be good or excellent for a few months.  I hope so. 

Our message board is a good place to look for fishing reports from members.  These folks get out on the creeks and report back to you.  Though there are not large numbers of anglers fishing this time of year, there are a few.  Many of them are willing to share their experiences with you.

Daniel and I are looking at some add-on modules for our online catalog.  I have been working on that part of our website for weeks.  All 900+ pages in that portion of the site will be changed completely or just modified a little.  We are looking at menus that can get you where you want to go with one click.  Our goal has been to streamline the search process.  We will probably order some new software today and have it installed by the company who writes it.

We have to change our password temporarily so they can enter our site.  They usually get that work done in one day.  Then we change the password so they can’t get back in.  We use a company in Ohio to make our software changes to the online store.

This does not affect the main pages of the information site.  The store and the main site are created differently and they occupy different portions of our host server.  The online store is on the encrypted portion of the server for security reasons.  The main pages are not encrypted. 

We also plan to overhaul the message board this year.  The posts will not be lost.  The skin will be different. 

The main pages will be wider and look different too.  That will launch at one time, hopefully in March.  The menus will be new and pages will be added.  This process will take several months even though I’m spending about 40 to 50 hours a week on it.  This is a huge job.

Optimizing our site for mobile devices like iPhones and tablets will need to be done at some point.  I found some software yesterday that makes our online store more mobile smart phone friendly automatically.  Our site works fairly well on mobile devices.  But that could be improved upon.

There is a lot more involved in running a fly shop than one might imagine.  I never thought it would be like this 18 years ago.  And, there are more changes on the horizon.  I’m afraid the smaller stores are going to have a hard time competing with the big companies even more in the future.  Actually we have always had a hard time competing with the larger companies. 

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

Byron Begley
February 6, 2012

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