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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is overcast, snowing and 32 degrees in Townsend this morning.  The snow is sticking to frozen surfaces.  Our boat has 1 inch plus on the horizontal surfaces.  My truck hood had at least an inch on it.  The roads and sidewalks are wet.  They won’t freeze today.  The high temperature will be about 42 degrees in the valley.

The story is different in the mountains.  Mt LeConte had 4 inches on the ground early yesterday morning.  The low temperature up there was 10 degrees night before last.  They have not posted anything on their website this morning.  The Weather Service predicts up to a foot of snow in the mountains above 2,500 feet. 

It snowed off an on all day yesterday.  When I drove home last night it was snowing.  I drove by the orchard in front of our house and there were at least 20 wild turkeys standing there in the falling snow.  There were gobblers, jakes and hens in the flock.  They were just looking around, probably thinking, “What’s going on here.”  Their hunting season opens Saturday.  The turkeys should not be standing around in groups.  They should be broken up and scattered.  They should be mating or getting ready to mate.  This has been a strange Spring.

It is hard to believe, by looking out my window, what is coming this weekend.  High temperatures will be in the high 50’s to mid 60’s starting Saturday.  Lows will be in the mid to high 40’s.  Next week is going to really be Spring-like.

Little River is flowing at 445 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 346 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:45 am was 39.7 degrees.

I would not venture deep into the Great Smoky Mountains to fish today.  There will be some road closings.  If you do go, stay near an entrance.  You might park near the “Y” and walk up the Middle Prong or West Prong of the Little River.  It is going to be beautiful with all of this snow and it’s not going to be that cold.  Fishing may be slow, maybe not.  Fishing has actually been decent but now the water temperature has dropped below 40 degrees.  That’s usually not good for fishing.

I am looking forward to next week.  We are going to have some great fishing conditions.  The water will get warm again, the hatches should be huge and trout will be feeding.  Smallmouth bass will become active again. 

I mentioned this new wooly bugger I’m tying in the Fishing Report yesterday.  It is tied specifically for bass.  We are only selling it online or to anyone who asks in the store.  We sold some yesterday online and I checked the web store this morning from home and we sold even more last night.  Starting tonight, I’m going to be tying more Bass Buggers again.  Once I get 20 dozen or more in back-stock, we’ll put them out in the store.  I brought 2 dozen more in this morning. 

I always said I would not tie flies to sell in the store.  Something changed.  First, I came up with some great smallmouth bass patterns, flies you can’t buy anywhere.  And, they work.  So, I tied some to sell and sold several hundred Knuckleheads last year.  We have sold a lot of them already this year.  I am really enjoying this.  I’m not killing myself trying to keep up.  I just tie about 6 flies each night and do that while listening to the news on TV and enjoying a glass of wine.  It’s not like work.

The fun part is selling them.  I told Paula last night, I get more excited about selling one of these flies than any thing else we sell.  I do have to file a quarterly Excise Tax return because I am manufacturing fishing tackle.  That is done by filling out Form 721 and sending 10% of the cost with the form.  That money is paid to the U.S. Treasury, then given back to the States for fishing programs.  I think I read somewhere that Tennessee gets about $5 million per year or we did in one year.  So, this little cottage industry is helping the fisheries too, in a very small way.

I have a new fly called a “Flat Head”.  It is a foam bass and panfish fly.  The back looks a little like a Stealth Bomber.  The front looks like a Knucklehead with those mono eyes protruding out each side of the head.  The fly has two layers of 2 mm foam instead of 4 layers found on the Knuclehead.  We’ll be fishing with it this year.  If they work we may sell them in 2014.  Jack already has some that I tied.  Paula and I will give them a shot next week.  I’ll test them on Little River all Spring.  They float fine in our kitchen sink.  I don’t know how they will do in real fishing activity.  We’ll see.

Chota Hippies won an award from Grays Sporting Journal as they were named “Gray’s Best”.  This is exciting news.  I had filmed and edited a video for Chota year before last.  The theme is of course “Hippies”.  I added about 2 seconds to the film showing the “Grays Best” logo and mailed a CD of the changed video to Mark Brown yesterday.  He will load it up on YouTube.  Isn’t technology wonderful?

It’s still snowing hard here.  The streets are still fine.  The trees and ground are white.  I can’t see the mountains yet.  It’s snowing too hard.  We’ll see them soon.

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

Byron Begley
March 26, 2013

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