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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is foggy and 39 degrees in Townsend this morning at 7:50 am.  I wore a down jacket to work.  Paula and I covered the plants in the garden last night.  It’s a good thing.  I didn’t see any frost on my way to work until I got here.  The west facing side of our roof was covered with frost.  Our boat cover was heavily laden with frost.  This is the 13th of May.  I bet some new records were set last night.  We’ll know soon.

Little River is flowing at 348 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.38 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 215 cfs.  The water is clear and 51 degrees.  Yesterday, the water temperature peaked at 58 degrees.  I’m wondering if this sudden drop in water temperature may affect the fishing today.  Once we make it through tonight, we are going to have very warm temperatures and very little chance for rain for the next 10 days.

Fishing was good this weekend.  Trout are taking dry flies well.  I heard one story from one of Josh’s clients.  On Saturday they found trout rising to green caddis.  The fish were ignoring the Yellow Sally stoneflies.  A bush was infested with adult caddis.  Josh shook the bugs into the water.  The trout went nuts and gobbled the caddis up.  I’m going to add green Elk Hair Caddis to my list of flies to recommend right now.

I would wait a while for the water to warm before fishing today.  I would certainly be on the stream a couple of hours before dark.  It is going to be cold tonight, not as cold as last night though.  So you may want to wait a while before you go fishing tomorrow too.  Save your energy for the prime time.

For dry flies choose an Elk Hair Caddis, Yellow Sally stonefly patterns or Light Cahills.  I would use a Bead Head Pheasant Tail nymph if the trout are not feeding on the surface.  You might start with a nymph if you go fishing early today.

Fishing is going to be awesome in a day or so.  It has to be.  The conditions will be perfect. 

On Saturday I put a photo of a Yellow Neversink Caddis on this report and talked about the fact that is our best selling dry fly.  Yesterday morning when I checked our online orders, there were four orders for #16 Yellow Neversink Caddis.  One person ordered a dozen.  Those people bought other stuff too.  Those orders will ship today.  Thank you for ordering from us.

I am writing an article about fly fishing for smallmouth bass.  It is a work in progress but you can preview it by going to the menu on this page, hover over Fishing Info and select Smallmouth Bass from the sub-menu.  That is one of the cool things about writing online.  You can add, delete or re-write content at any time then shoot the new changes up to our remote server for you to read.

Smallmouth bass fishing is getting good right now for those of us who use a fly rod.  More people are getting excited about this sport.  It’s not new.  People like Lefty Kreh, Harry Murray, Tim Holschlag and many others have been writing about fly fishing for smallmouth bass for years.  I know it is getting more popular here.  You know what?  The Smallmouth Bass is the official Tennessee sport fish.  I have personally heard the Fisheries Chief at Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) call Tennessee “The Smallmouth Bass State”. 

TWRA has implemented harvest restrictions on smallmouth bass to increase the size of our fish.  If you look at the harvest restrictions you will see that they vary from lake to lake and river to river.  I was at a Tennessee Wildlife Commission Meeting when these changes were debated.  One complication was enforcing size limits and creel limits on impoundments or rivers that border other States with different rules.  There were some fishing groups that were against increasing the size limit.  I think TWRA camp up with a good plan that mutually benefits everyone, will almost everyone.  We are going to see bigger smallmouth bass in Tennessee.  By the way, these fish grow slowly and can live 15 years.  I would never kill one.    

You will notice that we have some flies I tie and sell.  Byron’s Knucklehead is one of them.  I have never seen one other than those I tie and it took a year to perfect this fly.  It is designed for bass and panfish and it works.

So, why put my name in the name of the fly?  Here’s why.  My friend Kent Edmonds came up with a killer bass pattern.  He called it a Stealth Bomber.  The fly has become well known in warmwater fishing circles.  We sell a lot of them.  I use them too.  It is one of the best bass fly patterns I have ever used.

The problem is, when you do a search on the internet for the “Stealth Bomber”, many websites come up that describe and talk about an airplane.  If you add the word “fly” to the search you get the same thing because a description of an airplane always has the word “fly” in it.  Airplanes fly.

If Kent had started out using the name “Kent’s Stealth Bomber” like we do now, that fly would be known as Kent’s and more people would have found it in an internet search. We didn’t think about these things when he came up with his fly. 

If you search the internet for “Knuclehead” you will find plenty of websites describing motor cycles and guitars.  Search for “Byron’s Knucklehead” and you will see this fly at the top of the page. 

I had the same problem with the Bass Bugger.  Early on, I found that the Bass Shoe Company had a similar name to the one I intended to use.  I can’t remember what it was at the time but I called the fly Byron’s Bass Bugger and an internet search brings up this fly at the top of page one.

I’m not trying to become famous by using my name on a fly.  That won't happen anyway. I just want people to be able to find the flies I sell. How many websites have the words Byron’s Knucklehead on them?  As far as I can tell, there are none, except ours. It’s a marketing thing.

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

Byron Begley
May 13, 2013

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