Townsend, Tennessee

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is cloudy and wet.  At 6:30 am it started raining and it was heavy at times.  We had over 1/3” in the rain gauge at the shop. I looks like there will be more arriving in a little while.  And there will probably be more rain tomorrow and almost every day for the next several.  That’s good for the rivers and the fishing.  That’s not good for the Spring Festival that begins today.  Thousands of people will be in town for the festival.  But when it rains, attendance is lighter. 

The rivers were beginning to show symptoms of the lack of rain.  And though we are not really in a drought anymore there were a couple of forest fires in the Park. One of the fires was started by someone who had an illegal campfire.  If those people are caught they will be responsible for the damages, which include fire crews brought in and a helicopter that transported 500 gallons of water to the fire constantly during the daylight hours.  That will be a very hefty bill. The second fire was a flare up from a prescribed burn.

Fishing conditions are very good.  The water has been low so stealth and good fly presentation is essential.  The water levels are on the rise now and if that keeps happening you should be able to increase your tippet diameter but you still need to hide from the trout.  If trout see you they won’t be caught.  That is why a lot of people who fish here wear camo.

I might also point out to those of you who are new to fishing the Smokies, you need to keep moving.  You can’t stand in the same place and cast for 10 minutes.  After your fly line has landed on top of a trout the whole game is over.  You want your leader to be close to the trout but not your fly line.

There are plenty of hatches happening especially in the evenings.  Yellow Sally stoneflies will be on the water an hour or so before dark.  Right now I would use a Parachute Adams, Yellow Parachute Adams, Neversink Caddis, and Yellow Stimulator in small sizes.  If the water rises quite a bit you might use larger dry flies.  If they are not taking a dry switch to nymphs.

Smallmouth bass are very active in the rivers and lakes.  Paula and I are planning to float the Little River for 14 miles over two days the week after Troutfest.  I have a friend who caught a 26” smallmouth.  I have not seen the photo yet.  I’m almost sure he released it.  That might be a record though I don’t know the weight.

I have a foam crawfish fly that was developed by a customer from Florida.  It is sitting on my desk right here.  One interesting characteristic is a piece of split shot glued into a hole that appears to have been drilled into the foam.  The shot is on the lip just below the hook eye.  This thing looks deadly.  I’m going to start tying them now, probably tonight.  It looks to be the best crawfish fly I’ve seen.  The originator swears by them.  I think he knows what he is talking about.  I’ve had this one for two years and just found it the other day. 

I’m going to try to get the Little River Journal out today.  I’ve had some technical issues that even Daniel couldn’t figure out and we called Thom Ashton, our consultant yesterday.  Between the two of them the problem was solved.  I spent hours day before yesterday trying to figure it out.  I usually take three or four days at home to do this job so I don’t get interruptions.  I didn’t do that this time and the result was a slow process.  I need to edit it at home tonight and we’ll shoot it to you tomorrow.

Jack Gregory and I met with Herb Handly at the Visitors Center last night to discuss tents, power, telephone lines, dumpsters and portajohns for Troutfest.  The banquet will be held in a 60’ x 100’ tent that will be attached to the Visitors Center and a Pavillion giving us about 8,000 square feet under roof.  We have cut off the tickets sales at 300 and the food is being ordered.  I think we have sold a little under 200 banquet tickets so far.  Once we reach 300, that’s it.  I think we could sell 100 tickets in the next two weeks.  Don’t get left out. 

Daniel just gave me a message from Larry Friedman from Fly Fisherman Magazine.  They are trying to decide if that should have a booth at Troutfest.  I hope they come.  I’ll call him back in a few minutes. 

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

Byron Begley
May 1, 2009

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