Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and East Tennnessee.

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is overcast, sprinkling a little and 59 degrees in Townsend this morning.  The air is clear and absent of fog, so I can see the Great Smoky Mountains clearly from here.  It is a beautiful day in East Tennessee, one of those when I would prefer to be fishing instead of working.  We all have those days.  Sometimes the opposite happens to me.  I am fishing and wishing I was working.  When that happens, the fish are not biting and it is hot as heck.  Here comes the rain.  It just started.  Some of the taller mountains just disappeared in the clouds.

Little River is getting low.  What a change that is.  Flow is 214 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 320 cfs. The water temperature is climbing.  Earlier this morning the temperature was 46 degrees.

Fishing will improve today and tomorrow.  The high both days will be over 60 degrees. That, along with the rain will pump up the BTUs.  Trout will become more active.  The aquatic insects will be more active. 

It is pouring right now.  I can barely see one mountain in the Smokies.

Nymphs are working best.  Even this past weekend, when it was really cold, the guys who hunt for the big browns had a good day Saturday.  Ethan caught a 21 incher.  Joe, his brother caught a 24 inch brown.  Jack caught one too, but he did not comment on the size.  He was here yesterday.  He said he had a monster spotted.  To Jack, a monster is over 30 inches.  He caught his largest brown trout ever in the Smokies this winter in the Little River.  It was over 30”.  He told me almost exactly where this fish is located which is unusual for Jack.  To be specific he actually gave me a range of about 5 miles. He did not stay here long and left to drive up Little River Road to attempt to catch this monster.  I’m betting he got it (and released it).

On Saturday, Bill Hall and Tim Ivey will be tying.  Bill lives here.  He fishes everywhere.  He is a fun guy to be around.  I always enjoy talking to Bill.  Tim lives in Georgia.  He is a well know fly tying demonstrator.  He can tie anything.  He is on the Whiting Farms Pro Staff.  He is another fun guy to be around. 

Then on Sunday we will feature David Knapp.  Everyone in East Tennessee has heard of David Knapp.  This young man is probably the most avid fly fisherman I know.  For his age, he is certainly the most knowledgeable.  And not many older people know more about freshwater fly fishing than David.  He is an excellent tyer.  I’m the proud owner of some David Knapp patterns.  He fishes for everything from bluegill to muskie and striper.  You need to be here both days.  He will be here on Sunday, between 10 and 2. Visit his website called the Trout Zone.

There is a lot going on in the fly fishing industry.  Changes are coming in the internet and mail order business.  Changes are coming, good or bad, take your pick. 

The fly shop business is tough.  Simms reported in a letter to it’s dealers this week that they have lost 18 specialty retail stores during the past five years in California alone.  They place high blame on the high California sales tax.  California has the highest sales tax in the U.S. 

Internet and mail order companies are not required to charge sales taxes to customers in States where the seller does not have a physical presence.  Citizens report their mail order purchases to the State where they live and pay the sales tax there.  There is one problem, many people do not report those purchases.  So, the States lose.

This gives the large online companies an advantage over the small brick and mortar stores.  Some customers would prefer to buy online, not pay the sales tax to the seller and not turn it into their own State.  The brick and mortar stores are closing fast.  Think about it, how many mom and pop businesses do you patronize.  There are not many choices.  Mom and Pop restaurants are surviving. Book stores are not. How many small electronics stores to you patronize? How could you, where are they? So, this huge online purchasing trend has wiped out many small businesses.  Customers buy from the big guys and don’t report their sales taxes to the States where they live.

Senate Bill 1832, the Marketplace Fairness Act will change that if it is passed.  Businesses who sell online or across state lines will have to charge sales tax, at the rate where the merchandise is going.  That money will be turned over to the State they are shipping from.  The States can opt to join the other States (and they will) then divvy up the taxes to each other.  To do this, the States will have to provide the seller with the technology to determine how much sales tax to charge.

Small mail order mom and pop companies will be exempt.  Maybe this will be good.  Maybe not.  I think it will pass.  This bill is supported by both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate. Two of the ten sponsors in the Senate are from Tennessee. I know one of them. He comes in here occasionally.

Simms announced on February 12th that they will be selling direct to customers, online starting in August. They are building a new facility in Montana, increasing their square footage by 30%.

There are a lot of changes on the horizon for small retailers and online sellers like us.   This is going to be an interesting year.  More later.

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

Byron Begley
February 16, 3012 

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