Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
March 25, 2010

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  Spring is developing in the Smokies.  I noticed forsythia blooming this morning.  Last night when I drove home the temperature was 73 degrees.  It’s nice to just carry a jacket and not have to wear it.  Little River looked perfect this morning.  The water temperature was 48 degrees in town.  It is going to be cooler during the day due to a front that is moving in.  But, the night temperatures will be warm for days. 

Rain for the next 24 hours is assured.  There’s no getting around it.  The river and stream levels are already higher than normal though not by a significant margin.  Heavy rain might cause problems this weekend.  Let’s hope not.

Fishing is good.  Quill Gordons, Blue Quills and Blue Wing Olives are hatching and trout are feeding on them, on the surface.  What more could we ask for?  Not much.  But fishing will get better over time as the water warms further. 

If you go fishing in the Park your best times to encounter a good hatch will be in the afternoon.  Use gray mayfly dries to mimic the Quill Gordon or Blue Quill.  There are many patterns that will work.  The most popular sizes are #12 to #16 though larger and smaller flies might work as well or better.  The Blue Wing Olives are small.  I would tie on a dropper, either a Bead Head Pheasant Tail or Quill Gordon wet.  Sometimes the trout prefer the dropper. 

There does not seem to be any reason the fishing will not remain good.  Heavy rain could blow out the streams though. 

I tied some white Wooly Buggers last night.  To me a Wooly Bugger is not just the normal pattern most people tie.  I tie some with hackle, others without hackle and even a few with maribou hackle.  I am going to tie some white Shenk’s Sculpins which is much like a Wooly Bugger.  This is all about preparing for the smallmouth bass spawn and movement into shallow water. 

One fly that is popular for smallmouth bass around here is Lefty’s Red and White.  He uses saddle hackle for the tail and red collar.  I’m going to try the same thing with maribou.

You can probably tell, the Wooly Bugger is one my favorites.  I tie mine using those outrageously expensive Tiemco 777 SP hooks.  I don’t recommend you buy them unless you are like me and need every advantage you can get.  Those hooks are so sharp you get more accidental hookups in my opinion.

I found that out on a salmon fishing trip.  We use flashy Girdle Bugs for those fish and when I switched to the 777 SP I definitely caught more salmon. The SP stands for Super Point.  Here’s the rub, they cost about 70 cents each.  But, compare that to the whole scheme of things in the fly fishing world and the incremental cost of a hook does not kill the deal.  Still, those hooks are expensive and not many people buy them.

You might catch more fish than me using a inexpensive Mustad than I will using a 70 cent hook. 

Also, speaking of expensive fly tying materials, take a look at the Whiting Bugger Packs at almost $16.  I have tried for years to find a reasonably priced saddle hackle that is suitable for Wooly Buggers down to size #10.  That stuff is hard to find.  We sell the Whiting Bugger Packs.  And we sell some strung saddle hackle from Wapsi and Hareline Dubbing in a large variety of colors.  Those packs cost two or three bucks.  But, I’ve found that when tying smaller buggers I can only use about 1/3 or less of those packs.  If you have something better, at a low cost, for tying small streamers, please let me know where it came from on the wholesale level so we can stock it.

Actually, you may not need the hackle at all.  I’ll let you know in a few weeks.

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

Byron Begley
March 25, 2010 

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