Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny and cool in Townsend this morning, 41 degrees.  It rained last night and this morning very early.  The streets looked abandoned on the way to work.  I only saw a handful of cars and trucks on the road.  Little River is higher than normal and a little stained.  The flow is currently 598 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 242 cfs.  We must have had more rain in the mountains than we did in the valley.  I was surprised to see the river that high.  The water is cooler too, 50 degrees this morning, down from 54 degrees yesterday morning.  It will be cool tonight then warm up tomorrow.  We may get some more rain this weekend.

Fishing is still good.  The trout are taking nymphs well.  Fishing may be slow this morning for a little while until the water temperature rises.  With the heavy flow you might want to start out with streamers fished deep.  This is a great opportunity to catch some larger fish, especially brown trout.  Big nymphs might work well too.  As the sun warms the water you should see some surface activity with March Browns, Caddis, Stoneflies and little Yellow Sally Stones.  When the fish are feeding on top I think about any dry fly that closely resembles the above list should work.  I would probably use a Parachute Adams or Yellow Stimulator as a dry and drop a Bead Head Pheasant Tail off of it.

The water is strong so be careful wading.  We’ll see the levels drop over the next couple of days.   

Frank is coming in and we are going smallmouth fishing tomorrow.  I can’t wait.  We have not chosen a lake yet.  We’ll look at generation schedules and lake levels tonight and then decide.  Daniel will be writing the Fishing Report tomorrow.  We’ll be on the lake not long after daybreak unless we stay up late tonight.  You never know when Frank and I get together.  We have been best friends for over 50 years. 

I was talking to Blan yesterday about Whip-poor-wills.  I have not heard any all Spring.  Paula and I were married on April 2, 1992.  That night at the house we heard tons of them singing.  Blan told me the birds are in decline.  I looked it up and of course he was right.  For instance, in New York the population is thought to be down 80% since the 1980’s.  I hated to hear and read that.  Though they have kept me awake at night, every year since I have lived here, it is nice to hear them.  Well, this morning, at 4:00 am one started singing near the house.  Thank goodness.  They must be mating late this year or maybe there are fewer of them and this morning was a fluke.  I’ll know soon.

I’m guessing, since we have a full moon and it is almost May, the bluegill and red ear sunfish are close to spawning, if not doing so already.  Bluegill are one of my favorite species to catch on a fly rod.  One customer and friend of mine caught a 10” hawg last week.  I hooked one two years ago, Frank and Paula were in the boat and we guessed the length to be 12”.  I couldn’t handle that fish with 4 pound tippet.  The state record is 14” and 3 pounds. 

Tomorrow we’ll be looking for bluegill and shellcracker spawning beds if the smallmouth fishing is slow.

The smallmouth bass are taking wooly buggers.  I’ve been tying them on #2 stinger hooks.  I probably have enough of them to last all year.  So, I’ll need to tie some more.  I’m a fly-monger.  There is no telling how many thousand flies I have.  Once I start tying a particular pattern I just can’t quit.  I usually tie something every night most of the year.  To me it’s all about the planning and homework of fly fishing.  I have always enjoyed tying flies whether they are for trout, bass, bluegill or saltwater species.  I don’t tie trout flies anymore.  I will probably never use what I have in stock.

I’ve got to admit, having the key to a fly shop that stocks fly tying materials has come in handy.  We live 5 minutes from here.  I have actually driven back to the shop after closing hours to pick up a pack of chenille or thread.  I’ve spent much of the past three days ordering fly tying materials. 

Yesterday I placed a $950 Tiemco hook order. We were getting low.  I placed a $1,200 order with Wapsi yesterday.  We don’t let our point of sale computer do the ordering for us.  There are too many items and a judgment call has to be made due to seasonal preferences and changes in buying habits of customers.  We have a cart that rolls around the store with a laptop on it.  Using a barcode scanner checking the barcode on the flip tags that hold the materials gets us to the right item in the computer.  Then a buying decision has to be made.  There are thousands of items.  Ordering can take days and I’m always sore from doing it.  There is a lot of stooping, leaning, stretching and moving when we order materials.

It’s worth it.  People like to buy fly tying materials here.  It seems like, and we keep hearing that stores are not keeping up with their fly tying departments.  Some are getting out of the business altogether.  One reason is the low profit realized in that department.  It is very labor intensive.  I look at is as an opportunity.  And, if I need something at 8:00 in the evening, I can run down here and buy it.

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

Byron Begley
April 28, 2010 

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