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 54 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Six deer were having a causal conversation in front of our house this morning.  I think they were deciding which garden to eat, Paula’s or our neighbor’s.  They did not take off as expected when I drove by.  They just stood there and looked at me. I pointed to our neighbor’s garden, suggesting they eat theirs.

The streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are getting in good shape.  The water is still higher than normal but getting slowly lower by the day.  Little River is flowing at 379 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.45 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 262 cfs.  If you like plenty of water, we’ve got it.  Some people do.  If you like low water fly fishing, you might have to wait a while.  The aquifer is brimming and the streams are dropping slowly for that reason.  The water temperature at 7:55 am is 56.5 degrees.

Fishing is really picking up.  It is good in the Smokies, maybe better than good. Evenings are best.  The bugs are hatching and trout are feeding.  Light Cahills and Yellow Sally Stoneflies are abundant on the water, especially late.  I’ve talked to a lot of fishermen lately and everyone has expressed good fishing with a smile on their face.

Today, the fishing conditions are perfect.  It is overcast.  The water temperature is almost perfect in the lower to mid elevations. 

There is one snag.  We may get some rain this weekend.  The chance tomorrow is 50% and it is expected in the afternoon.  It is also going to be cooler tomorrow, 63 degrees for the high.  The chance for rain is greater on Sunday.

Smallmouth bass fishing in the lowland rivers is getting better too.  Doug had a good float on Little River this week.  He said he caught two nice smallmouth on poppers.  I think he caught fish on nymphs or streamers too.

The Holston is hot!  Bill and Sheila had a great day floating with Josh.  Toward the end of the day they encountered a great caddis hatch.  Mike Bone was guiding Tim and Tee the same day.  I’m sure they had a good day of fishing too.

They are finally here.  I’ve been anxiously waiting since November.  Orvis shipped our first batch of the new Battenkill Reels.  These reels are machined from bar stock aluminum and they don’t have a disk drag.  That makes them lighter.  They do have an ingenious click a pawl drag adjustment, one like I’ve never seen before. There are three models covering line sizes 1 though 7.  I bought almost every size of the old CFO reels offered by Orvis in the late 70’s.  They are still in use.  They don’t have a disk drag. I love the sound, kind of a muffled click but not too metallic.  Know what I mean?  The sound of these reels is somewhat reminiscent of the older CFOs. Not quite, but almost.  

Below are some pictures I took of the new reels yesterday.  They sell for $98.  I hope to have them on our online store today.  They are in the shop if you want one.  More are coming in a week or so.
New Orvis Battenkill Reel front view

New Orvis Battenkill Reel back view and reel shown with spool removed

Speaking of Orvis, they are buying Scientific Anglers (SA).  I heard about this a while back but did not mention it here until the news was officially released.  The story is all over the web now. 

Scientific Anglers is owned by the huge 3M Company, formerly known as Minnesota Manufacturing and Mining.  Or is it Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing?  Anyway, they decided to sell the SA brand and Orvis is the logical buyer.  Jim LePage will move to Midland Michigan to run the company.  I know Jim pretty well.  I think he will do a great job.  The plan is, keep the two brands separate.  That is a very good plan. Don’t mix everyone up, especially you.  They will share technology and probably bring the Orvis mega-marketing team on board. 

Ross Reels is part of the deal.  Ross has a U.S. manufacturing plant and is owned by SA.  Now, Orvis can make their reels in the U.S. if they decide to. The deal is supposed to close sometime in this quarter.  I am very happy about this acquisition and believe it will be good for our industry.  We are an Orvis and SA dealer.  I think this is going to good for us too.  Most importantly, I think this will be good for you.

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

Byron Begley
May 3, 2013

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