Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is foggy and cool this morning.  The temperature is 49 degrees.  The rain is over, we got a little over ½” yesterday and last night.  It was a slow soaking rain so the rivers did not rise quickly.  Little River is up just above normal.  The flow is currently 272 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 265 cfs.

Fishing has been very good, really it’s been excellent.  A lot of people who are customers and friends were here fishing this past weekend.  They all reported good fishing.  Two brothers who know these waters well said they didn’t catch as many trout as usual but they were larger than normal.  I’ve been hearing about larger trout more from anglers this Winter and Spring than ever before.  Maybe the population numbers are still down from the drought or maybe an age class was lost during a flood.  The fish density and carrying capacity of the streams may be the same but the trout are larger due to more food and less competition.  Before the drought there seemed to be too many trout or the streams could have been overpopulated.  That usually means smaller rainbows.  That also means more rainbows for the browns to eat.  So, I don’t know for sure, that’s just my opinion right now.  Fishing is excellent.

Anglers also seem to be doing better with nymphs, from what I heard this weekend.  That could have been due to the cooler water.  Dry fly action picked up when the water warmed.  March Browns are hatching in big numbers.  And, small yellow stoneflies are beginning to show up.

We have more rain in the forecast this coming weekend.  It has been a dry Spring.  I’m hoping that trend does not continue. 

Production on my tying bench has been #2 wooly buggers tied on bass stinger hooks.  It’s smallmouth time in Tennessee.  I don’t know any freshwater fish that fights as hard as a smallmouth bass, for it’s size.  And they don’t give up.  A bluegill might come close.  Smallmouth bass attack a fly, they don’t just eat it.  When one hits there is usually very little doubt you’ve got a fish.  I’m tying 8’ leaders using fluorocarbon with a 8 to10 pound tippet.  You never know when you are going to hook a 4 to 6 pound fish and you need all the strength and abrasion resistance you can muster from your leader.  Like I said yesterday, use a non-slip loop to tie on your fly so you get plenty of action on the heavy tippet.

The bluegill will be spawning soon, maybe they have started in some lakes.  Now that is a fish I love to catch on a popper.  We’ll be hitting Tellico Lake hard over the next few weeks.  I use poppers and Stealth Bombers tied on a #6 stinger hook for them.  I know that sounds big but, the small fish will leave that popper alone and the big ones won’t take it in deep.  Also, you are more likely to attract a bass to the larger fly.

In a couple of weeks I’ll be writing this fishing report from home, early in the morning before work, like I’m doing right now.  I will also be working on our website for an hour or so when I get home from work.  I ordered a new iMac computer a couple of weeks ago.  I have one at home but it’s old, slow and won’t hold all of our new software.  The Mac at home and at work will be identical from a data standpoint.  The working hard drive will be an external 1 terabyte small box that I’ll carry to work then home at night.  The hard drives in the computers will be backup drives.  I hope to gain higher productivity and more time to fish.  The newer Mac has a 27 inch monitor.  The one I use now has a 24” monitor.  Other than that, they are about the same.  The new one will be faster and a little larger.   

Business is good at the shop.  April is up from last year.  So was March.  It sounds like business is good overall in the sporting goods industry.  Retail sales reports for the first quarter this year are strong and so was business in most sectors.  It has been a tough two years for some and three years for others.  I opened my first store in 1973 during a two-year recession.  It was that year I learned how to work to survive. I’m glad I got that valuable lesson at an early age.  I will never forget that year.  Plenty of recessions have come and gone since then but I remember those days most vividly. I’m looking forward to better times.  I think they are here.  The church bells just rang.  It’s 8:00.     


Though we expanded the number of vendors and exhibitors for this year's event, our booth space is almost sold out. If you want a booth please call me at the shop and I'll tell you what is left. Banquet ticket sales are picking up fast. You can buy yours online by clicking HERE. Or call 865-448-9459 and we'll send them to you.

More volunteers are signing up to help at Troutfest but we could use some more. If you are interested in helping send an e-mail to RONNIE BECKER our Volunteer Coordinator. Please include your t-shirt size. You will be getting a special Troutfest Volunteer T. You can sign up for 4 hours. Your volunteer time is counted as Park Service Fisheries volunteer time. Those hours are leveraged to obtain matching funds. Pretty slick huh?

Click on the photo below to visit the Troutfest website and learn more.

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

Byron Begley
April 21, 2010

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