Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It was sunny and 47 degrees when I drove to work.  It is beautiful out there.  All the stores and restaurants I passed in town were busy.  We are busy too.  I think yesterday was the best sales day we’ve had all year.  Little River is in pristine condition.  Bill and Wendy were at the swinging bridge this morning when I pulled in.  Bill said he has been broken off a big trout in that pool a couple of times lately.  He is back for revenge and probably with heavier tippet.  Things are hopping here.  We have a full beginner fly fishing class going on.  Walter just stepped in and we had a couple of laughs.

Like I said earlier the river is in perfect shape.  The flow is 208 cubic feet per second.  Normal for this date is 225 cfs.  We did not get the rain and storms that hit most of Tennessee this week.  So our streams did not rise as predicted.  It was cool last night and the water temperature this morning was 56 degrees.  It will be cooler in the high elevations but today’s high is expected to be around 80 degrees.  You will find excellent fishing conditions anywhere in the Park.

Fishing is excellent.  There are times during the day when it is slow which is usually the case.  Often we’ll have a good fisherman come in and say the fishing is slow.  Later, another good angler will report excellent fishing.  How could that be?  Well, first the person reporting slow fishing could have been behind someone else.  The trout that person was angling for had been spooked by someone else.  Another reason is timing.  I don’t know why but fishing activity varies during the day.  So the person reporting excellent fishing might have been on the river during the feeding frenzy.  We also hear of fishing that is good one day on a stream then not so good the next.  We have all encountered that all our lives.  I have been on the flats in Florida and seen 50 tarpon swimming by the boat all day (we do count them).  Then the next day we will see 600 in the same spot. 

We are all suggesting that anglers use a dry fly pattern that is yellow or cream colored.  I would pick yellow.  There are plenty of Yellow Sally Stoneflies on the water or buzzing around, especially late in the day until dark.  You have plenty of patterns to choose from but I would pick a size #16.  You could use a yellow Elk Hair Caddis.  I like them because they float well, they are easy to see and quick to tie.  Another excellent choice is a Yellow Stimulator.  They are not quick to tie but they float well and are easy to see.  The Neversink Caddis is a killer pattern.  At times Daniel orders 20 dozen of those per week.  And there are plenty of other yellow sally patterns that work well.

It looks like we’ll see some more rain next week.  That will be good timing.  The streams will appear to be low in a few days without more rain. 

It is with a heavy heart that I report the death of Lt. Colonel Frank Bryant Jr.  Frank was a F16 fighter pilot stationed in Afghanistan.  Lately, his mission was to train Afghan pilots.  During a meeting Wednesday, one of those pilots walked in the room and shot Frank, six or seven other American pilots and a U.S. contractor.  Several brave Americans lost their lives in that one event.  Frank was a young man who graduated from the Air Force Academy in the top 10% of his class.  He grew up in Knoxville. 

I did not know Frank personally but his mom and dad are very close friends of ours.  They own Chota Outdoor Gear.  Our friendship with Frank and Pat Bryant started as a business/customer relationship many years ago.  Over time we became personal friends.  They are very proud of their son and they should be. 

Frank Sr. who is my age and I have spent a lot of time together.  We call each other and talk about business.  We worked together for about two weeks one time when I photographed their entire line of gear for websites and catalogs.  I did not charge him anything for that service, not one penny.  We have shared information about our businesses that we would not share with anyone else.  We’ve gone fishing together.  We’ve hung out together at trade shows.  He always brings in his prototypes knowing full well that we won’t mention anything to his competitors.  I am just heartbroken for Frank and Pat.  They are some of the finest people you will ever meet.

Since Chota is located in Knoxville, many of you know them too.  Frank is a member of the Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  He is one of the larger supporters of Troutfest and serves on the Troutfest Steering Committee.  So, if you are involved or attend Troutfest, you have probably met Frank. 

I know one thing, he and I will start fishing together a lot more.  I found out about this on Thursday morning and not one hour has gone by that I have not thought about the Bryant’s loss and what I can do to help them through this.  I guess, fishing will be the best thing I can do.  This has been an awful time for many people.

I think about Frank every time I slide into my Chota bootfoot waders.  He gave them to me for Christmas.

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

Byron Begley
April 30, 2011 

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Our fly fishing classes will be offered from March to October 2011.   To sign up just call the shop at 877-448-3474.  You can read more on our website in the Schools Section.  The fly fishing class schedule follows:

Saturday March 26 – Beginner Day One
Saturday April 9 – Beginner Day One
Saturday April 30 – Beginner Day One
Sunday May 1 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday May 7 – Beginner Day One
Saturday May 21 – Beginner Day One
Sunday May 22 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday June 11 – Beginner Day One
Saturday June 25 – Beginner Day One
Sunday June 26 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday July 9 – Beginner Day One
Saturday July 23 – Beginner Day One
Sunday July 24 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday September 10 – Beginner Day One
Saturday September 24 – Beginner Day One
Sunday September 25 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday October 8 – Beginner Day One
Saturday October 22 – Beginner Day One
Sunday October 23 – Beginner Onstream Day Two

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