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

Welcome to the Fly Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee.  It is sunny and 62 degrees this morning.  Three deer were grazing in front of our house when I pulled out.  Unlike the turkeys that usually just walk out of the road to keep me from hitting them, the deer are a lot more spooky.  These girls took off when I drove by.  Actually, since turkey hunting season opened, those birds have been scarce.  That is usual.

Fishing conditions are excellent.  The Park streams have plenty of water at just the right temperature.  Little River is flowing at 315 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 242 cfs.  The water temperature was 58.9 degrees at 7:55 am.  The high water temperature yesterday was 61.3 degrees.  It is going to be warm today, possibly 84 degrees.   

The people I talked to yesterday were catching trout well.  It is that time of year when fishing is at it’s best or almost.  I would fish with nymphs in the morning and switch to dry flies in the afternoon.  Best nymph patterns would be a Bead Head Pheasant Tail, Prince or Tellico.  My dry fly choices today would be a Light Cahill, Elk Hair Caddis, Neversink Caddis or Parachute Adams.  I bet anything reasonable would work.  You’ve got to get a good drift and stay hidden when fishing in the Smoky Mountains.

The tailwaters, overall are fishing well for trout.  Also, the smallmouth bass are feeding well in the lower sections.

Doug and I are going to the Lake tomorrow morning early.  We are hoping to catch smallmouth bass on the surface.  If they are not cooperating we’ll use streamers.  I hope they are feeding on top.  The water temperature should be perfect.

Tellico Lake is still a foot or so below full pool.  Most of the TVA lakes are below full pool.  I know because I check them every morning and post the results in that little box at the bottom of this page and on the left.  However, the levels are creeping up.  Lately I’ve been changing one or two levels each day.  I have not done that yet today but I bet they are still filling those lakes slowly while generating electricity and filling the locks.

Smallmouth bass are spawning in the lowland rivers.  Josh saw some on the redds early this week while floating down Little River.  He said they caught several bass but nothing huge.

We have a gross of custom printed t-shirts arriving Monday. They are printed in Nashville using several colors of ink.  I think these use 8 colors.  The shirts are cut and sewn in Mexico.  The cotton is raised in the United States, made into fabric and shipped to the South.  From there they are shipped to Vermont where they are dyed and pre-shrunk.  From Vermont the go to Nashville and from there they come to us.  Think about that.  Shipping has to be a huge proportionate cost of a t-shirt.  I have been buying shirts from the same dyer in Vermont for 15 years or more.  Dragonfly Screen Graphics in Nashville does our printing.  They also print the Troutfest t-shirts.  Bruce, the owner is a old friend of mine dating back to the early 1970’s.  He was a student at Vanderbilt majoring in business administration.  Upon graduation, he opened a screen printing company.  He is also a fly fisherman.

I had our artist come up with a new design that commemorates the efforts to restore native brook trout in the Smoky Mountains.  The art files are in Nashville now waiting for the second batch of t-shirts to arrive.

This shirt is special and I am trying to come up with new ideas.  One idea is to buy a shirt with a pocket.  I don’t know how many times customers have said they want pockets.  Pockets cost money.  We have someone in Maryville who has done embroidery for us for 18 years.  I’m thinking about having our logo embroidered on the left chest and the large “Brook Trout Restoration” art silk screened on the back.  Embroidery is more expensive that screen printing. 

Last week I found a company that makes high quality t-shirts in the United States.  I ordered some samples and they are sitting next to me right now.  I don’t know how many customers have said they would prefer a t-shirt made in a union shop in the United States. 

These shirts look good, made from 6.1 oz 100% cotton.  They even smell good.  The label has an American Flag and the text clearly states “Made in the USA”.  Unfortunately, these shirt cost a lot more than those cut and sewn in Mexico, almost twice as much.  I am going to request a quote from the company tomorrow and try to negotiate a better deal on a larger quantity.  They have a spot on their website to do just that.

If we go with the American Made Shirt, with a pocket and the embroidery we’re looking at $27.  Would people pay $27 for a short sleeve T-Shirt?  Deleting the pocket would bring the cost down to $25.  Screen printing our logo as opposed to embroidery would lower the cost further.  I have some choices to make next week but I am going to try the USA shirt for sure.  If they don’t sell as fast as their Mexican counterparts, so be it.  Somehow I bet they will sell better. If they do, we’ll switch to all USA made t-shirts.

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

Byron Begley
April 29, 2012

 

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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