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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains.  The sky is clear and the temperature is 41 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I came in a 7:45 and though I only saw maybe 15 cars on the roads, that’s a lot for a Sunday morning in February.  This is going to be a beautiful day.  The high temperature is expected to be 67 degrees.

Unfortunately, the water is still high in Little River.  It is fishable if you are careful, but most anglers prefer less flow.  Flow is currently 705 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 353 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:55 am is 45 degrees.

I think all the snow has melted in the mountains so we can count on the water temperatures to rise today.  Fishing may be fair.  I would try nymphs.  The trout may be sluggish early and more active later.  You may see some hatches.  They started before the rain event we had a couple of days ago.  The water temperature in Little River held at about 50 degrees during the day, which is good for insect and trout activity.  Now, the temperature has dropped.

Cold air is on the way.  The high temperature Wednesday is predicted to be in the 30’s with a low of 16 degrees.

Spring has not arrived in the Smoky Mountains.  Today will feel like Spring.  Tomorrow will be sunny and fairly warm.  Then reality will hit.  Back to Winter we go.

Fly fishermen are getting ready for Spring, no doubt about that.  We know it won’t be long.  We are busy here.  We are not seeing many anglers who are fishing right now.  What we see are people who will be fishing soon.  We are helping fishermen get ready for planned trips.  Lately, we have been sending gear to other countries like France, New Zealand and Canada. 

Fishermen are tying flies right now.  We are re-ordering from our fly tying material suppliers as soon as orders arrive.  The whole cycle takes 10 days.  What fly tyers will buy is a guessing game.  We can’t rely on our inventory control systems.  With all the different items and colors, one item may be red hot now, but hang on the wall for the next few weeks or months  after it is replenished. 

One reason is, when a person finds an item they like and can’t get it at home, they buy all we have in stock.  Another problem is, our suppliers are out of certain items from time to time.  For instance, right now it is hard to get rooster saddle hackle.  Pheasant tails were in short supply at the end of 2013. 

A fly tying department is hard to manage and that is why we don’t sell materials online.  We never know when something is going to be unavailable.

Pat, who owns Cascade Crest Tools sent me an e-mail yesterday.  Yep, he was working on Saturday too.  He makes the very popular CCT Body Fur, which is now being used to tie Game Changer Flies.  I have a few hundred yards of that material backordered right now.  Pat can’t keep up.  He is looking for an additional machine to increase production and keep up with demand.  These machines are actually made for the textile industry.  New machines are expensive.  He’s looking for a used one.

He and I talked about this a while back.  Is this a fad or does he need to gear up for the long haul?  I think he needs to gear up.  This method of tying articulated flies is not going away in my opinion.  The material is being used worldwide.  Umpqua is buying it from Pat to tie their Game Changers to be sold in stores like ours around the world.  Umpqua is the largest fly company in the world.

I’ve never seen anything like this happen in the fly business during the past 19 years I’ve been buying wholesale materials.

Pat is a great guy and we plan to talk tomorrow.

There are plenty of other materials that you can use to tie Game Changers. Hareline sells Minnow Body Wrap.  I’ve used it and like it.

I remember when the Copper John came on the market.  For at least one year, that fly was a hot selling item, I mean “Really Hot”.  They still sell very well.  They do catch trout well, just about anywhere.

Our best selling trout dry fly is the Yellow Neversink Caddis.  Of course the Parachute Adams is always a big seller.  Bead Head Pheasant Tails work well here and have been our best selling nymph for a long time. The Green Weenie is always a big seller because it catches trout extremely well during the Summer.  They have even worked for me after a hard freeze when you don’t see inchworms or sourwood worms in the forest.  There is just something about that fly that triggers strikes.

Some Green Weenies, tied for sale don’t have the loop in the tail.  We think the loop is very important so we have ours tied with a loop.  George Harvey gets credit for that idea.  Joe Humphreys pointed that out to me one time.  Before Mr. Harvey passed away, Joe was his best friend.  I talked to Joe about 2 months ago.  He is doing well.

It’s time to open the store. 

I hope you have a great day and thank you for being here with us.

Byron Begley
February 23, 2013

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