Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  We have light rain and it is cool in Townsend this morning.  I think the rain will be off an on.  That’s what I hope.  There is a lot of activity here in our little town. The Troutfest Fly Fishing Exposition has begun.  I stopped at the site early to see how things were going.  Things are going fine. 

We had some rain showers yesterday and a thunderstorm or two.  Little River rose to the occasion.  It peaked before midnight at about normal flow.  Right now the flow is 167 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 227 cfs.

Fishing is excellent.  I talked to a ton of anglers yesterday.  Many of them, here for Troutfest are people I would consider avid, seasoned, experienced and excellent fly fishers. They all reported good fishing.  It is interesting when there is this gathering of people who enjoy our sport all together at once.  I hear many different versions of “what worked”.  A few guys said they did well swinging wet flies. Some angler will only use a dry fly.  Nymphs or streamers are just not part of their arsenal.  Some people fish the high elevations for brookies.  Others concentrate on larger trout.  And, there are those who wade Little River downstream for smallmouth bass. 

It is going to be overcast much of the weekend.  And, it is going to be cooler too.  We’ll have some excellent angling opportunities, as the conditions are very good.  You should do well with nymphs, dry flies, wet flies and possibly streamers.  I would use streamers downstream for bass.  I would use the others in the Park.  For a dry fly my pick would still be a Yellow Elk Hair Caddis, Neversink Caddis and #16 Yellow Stimulator.  You might want to use a March brown or even a Light Cahill.  A Parachute Adams would be good too.  There are lots of options.  Stealth, presentation and drift are really more important than fly selection right now.

Our Troutfest Banquet was great last night.  We had a good crowd and everyone seemed to have a really good time.  Attendance was lower than last year.  I’m hoping we’ll see lots of people today and tomorrow at the Exposition.  I stopped by early this morning to check on things.  Of course there were a few problems but the right people were there to straighten them out.  I talked to Joe Humphreys, Lefty Kreh and Bob Clouser.  I didn’t see Tom Rosenbauer or Zach Matthews.  Lefty was wearing his signature hat but it was Olive.  I want one of those.  He was appropriately dressed for the Smokies.  An olive cap is the most popular color for headwear here, except maybe camo.

Tom Rosenbauer was in the shop yesterday.  I like Tom a lot.  He has 10 books in print.  He was Fly Rod and Reel’s Angler of the Year and Tom has absolutely no elevated ego due to his fame.  He is just a regular guy who loves to fly fish.  Tom has worked for Orvis over most of his career.  He is in charge of marketing, advertising and the many catalogs (millions of them). 

When he walked in the shop and looked around his first comment was about our fly tying department.  It is one of the largest you will see anywhere.  And his question was exactly the same as one of Orvis’ owners David Perkins.  “Can you justify this much space to fly tying?”  My answer is always the same, “No and Yes”.  From purely a financial perspective it is not worth it.  That department does not do enough business to justify that much wall space.  Wall space in a retail store is dear.  That’s why we don’t have any windows in the back of the store except upstairs and in the store room. 

Tom started looking around.  He moved through the fly tying department slowly, looking at every item.  He has probably been in more fly shops than anyone you know.  I could see him looking and thinking.  I can’t wait to get his comments this weekend.  I will listen and take notes.

Our theory is, a fly shop should have a very strong fly tying department.  It brings anglers in from long distances.  That is why we think our department justifies that much space.  This store was designed and built from the ground up around the fly tying department. That is why this store is so big.  Tom’s insight will prove invaluable to us.

You should go to the Troufest Fly Fishing Exposition today or tomorrow.  You will see and learn.  It is an experience like no other in the Country.  I wish I could be there all weekend.  I would have the time of my life.  I’ll be here at the shop doing what I like doing most, talking to anglers.

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

Byron Begley
May 14, 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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