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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains.  What a beautiful morning it is.  The temperature is a little chilly, 37 degrees.  Traffic was fairly heavy at 7:50 am.  I saw a lot of folks I know on my way to work.  This is a friendly town and almost everyone waves at other local folks. 

Little River looks great for fishing.  Flow is 307 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 364 cfs.  The water temperature was 45 degrees at the swinging bridge.  That is warmer than it was yesterday morning.  The snow we had on Sunday night melted and cooled the streams temporarily.  Now we are getting back to good fishing conditions.

Fishing has been great.  I don’t know about yesterday.  East Tennessee is going to be warmer over the next few days until the weekend.  Before then, we will have highes in the 60’s today, the 70’s tomorrow.  We have a 70% chance for thunderstorms today.  The rain today and tonight will heat up the streams.  Fishing will be excellent.

The trout are taking dry flies in the Smoky Mountains.  Quill Gordon patterns are working well. Anglers all around the country are amazed at how early we started having our Spring hatches this year.  I got an e-mail from a man in Pennsylvania yesterday.  I could tell he wanted to be here.  Daniel ordered more Quill Gordon dry and wet flies yesterday.  They should be here Friday.  Spring started early and we are reacting.

I have seen some recent pictures of large browns that have been caught in the Park.  I’ve seen a lot of photos of medium size browns too.  Brown trout fishing is on the upswing here.  This is the first year that I know of a 30 inch brown that was caught in a long time.  Many browns over 20” have been caught in the Smokies this year.   

I e-mailed Denise at Orvis an order yesterday.  We should get part of it on Friday.  Orvis leaders and tippet, fly lines, reels, and other gadgets added up to right at $6,000.  It was mostly little stuff. 

We will be ready for the big surge very soon.  Most of our Spring orders will arrive next week.  Flies have been coming in already.  And those have to be stocked at the right time.  This early Spring required changing the orders and getting them here quick.

The mild winter has had an effect on Park visitation.  This morning I read “Park visitation was up 28% in January over last year”.  Remember last year?  We had so much snow, the Park was closed often.  We have had almost no road closings this year.  We have not had hardly any snow.

Last year I ordered a lot of bass flies that will also be here soon.  I wanted them to arrive before the smallmouth bass became active so I could photograph the new patterns and put them on the website.  I think they will all get here next week.  It’s a good thing.  The bass fishing may be getting ready to start.  It may have already started in the East Tennessee tailwaters.  All I have to do is wash the boat, buy some fresh 100% gasoline and I’m ready to go.  I will start fishing lower Little River in a few days when the water sustains a temperature of 50 degrees.

Today I am re-designing the fly floatant department on our website.  That may seem boring to some people but not me.  We sell floatant to anglers all over the country.  Actually, we have shipped floatant to Tazmania.  There is a guide over there who can’t find Frog’s Fanny.  He offered to take me fishing the next time I’m there.

We have a large selection and offer free shipping.  Taking photographs of floatant is not easy.  Round bottles create glare.  Loon has some good photography so I might use theirs.  Writing content about floatant is not easy either.  That stuff is hard to describe.  I’m going to try to write our own content as much as possible and not use much of theirs.

Our website visitation exceeded ¼ million since the first of the year sometime last night.  That’s a lot of visitors in 7 weeks.  I remember when the fishing report was visited by 200 visitors per day.  Now, 400 to 700 unique visitors read the page each day.  We almost always have 4,000 to 6,000 unique visitors to the website each day now.  It just keeps growing.   

Saturday is our last weekend for Free Fly Tying Demonstrations until next Winter.  Brian Courtney and Buzz Buffington will be tying on Saturday.  Many of you know these guys.  Brian teaches fly tying here.  He is an excellent tyer.  He specializes in trout flies.  Buzz teaches fly tying too.  His TU Chapter, the Clinch River Chapter holds a winter fly tying class.  Buzz, Dick and I wrote and published a fly tying book for their class last year.  Buzz fishes more than anyone I know and his home river is the Clinch.  He will be tying small flies for tailwaters.  All you have to do is show up.  They will be tying between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.  Come on by.

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

Byron Begley
February 22, 2012

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