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 and 53 degrees in Townsend this morning.  We got a little rain last night and this morning.  It was not measurable in our rain gauge. 

A wild turkey hen ran out in front of my truck on our gravel road.  I was traveling at about 10 miles per hour and she ran ahead at about the same speed.  She stayed about 30 to 50 feet in front of the truck for a while then veered off into the woods and disappeared.  It is amazing how well turkeys blend in with the forest.  I can’t see them.  I have heard them walking within feet of me while hunting in the woods.  I just can see the blasted things.

Little River looked great this morning.  The water has not risen at all due to the rain and the water is clear.  Flow is currently 237 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 264 cfs.  The water temperature is 53.5 degrees at 7:55 am.

If you look at the radar the picture is grim.  To our west is a large rain event heading our way.  It seems to be running into something and veering to the south of us.  I don’t know if that will continue to be the case.  The weather forecasters indicate we’ll get about ½ inch of rain today and the same tonight.  More rain is forecasted for tomorrow.  Maybe it won’t amount to much.

Fishing has been very good in the Smoky Mountains.  Evening hatches of Yellow Sally Stoneflies and Light Cahills have been reported to be significant.  Trout are feeding on them so that’s a good sign for us.  One angler reported a large March Brown hatch and excellent fishing during that event.  

Right now looks to be a good time to be fishing in the Park. It is overcast.  Trout are more eager to feed on the surface when the sun is not shining on the water or them.  If this rain somehow misses us, this weekend will be an outstanding opportunity for fly fishermen.  If the rain falls in the amounts predicted, we’ll probably have higher water at some point. 

I would go right now.  I’m probably going after work.  My gear is in the truck.

I’m going to interview a young lady this morning.  I’m hoping she will come on board and work in the shop.  Yes, she does fly fish, and she has done it much of her life.

After that, I’m going to work on the Tailwater Fly Section in the shop and on our online store.  I got some extra Umpqua fly catalogs and handed them out to the best tailwater anglers I know.  One is a guide and the other is a guy who fishes the Clinch River all the time, more than anyone except maybe for Mike Bone, the guide who is helping me.  They went through the catalogs and marked their favorite patterns.

I also have some recommendations from Mike Adams.  He guides on the South Holston and Watauga rivers.

I’ll order the patterns they recommend.  When they arrive I will photograph the flies and put them out to sell in the shop.  These patterns will be added to our online store.

Small to medium fly shops sell about $748 million in tackle according to a recent survey by Southwick Associates for the American Fly Fishing Tackle Association (AFFTA).  I read somewhere that there is a particular candy bar that sells more dollars worth than that in a year.  Let’s face it, fly fishing is a small industry.  We are tiny.

Flies account for 11% of that total.  Rods are only 8.3%.  Reels make up 6.4%.  Lines account for 4.9%.  Waders are 4.5% and tying materials make up 7.8% of the total.  Does that surprise you?  It doesn’t surprise me at all. 

U.S Fish and Wildlife estimates there are 3.83 million fly fishermen in the United States.  Now that surprises me.  I think that number is much lower.  Unless I did the math wrong, each angler spends $195 on tackle per year at small to medium fly shops.  I question what percentage of those 3.83 million angers are avid fly fishermen. 

Anyway, I’m working on the fly department.

I’m hoping for a great fishing weekend.  Fishing is getting better.  This has been a strange year, weather-wise.  Warmer temperatures will improve the fishing and I’m ready for that.

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

Byron Begley
April 27, 2013

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