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 61 degrees in Townsend this morning.  It rained most of the day yesterday and last night.  I would call it a slow soaking rain.  May has been dry.  Even now, rainfall for the month is down ¾” from normal.  This wet front seems to have passed according to the radar.  The rain may be over unless some new storms develop.  The forecast is still calling for rain today, tonight and a slight chance tomorrow.

The Great Smoky Mountains are completely fogged in now.  It looks like we are living in the flatlands right now, now a hill in sight. 

Little River is flowing fairly strong at 291 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 224 cfs.  There is some color in the water.  I would call it fairly turbid.  I checked it at 7:35 am so keep in mind the river could become further stained or it could clear up soon.  The water temperature was 58.5 degrees at 7:40.  We had .90” of rain in our gauge.

This would be an excellent day to fish in the Park unless there are some high water surprises I don’t know about.  I bet Little River will be fishing well especially if you are using nymphs or streamers.  The higher water offers cover for the larger trout so they should be out of hiding.  When the water is low they mostly stay hidden during the day, especially the brown trout.  They venture out at night.  But, on a day like this one you could catch the trout of your life.  The water temperature is a perfect 58 degrees in the valley.  It will be cooler in the mountains.  So, the conditions indicate excellent fishing in the Smokies today.

The lower stretches of the rivers exiting the park may be muddy.  It’s hard to say from here what the Little Pigeon or Abrams Creek look like.  Little River may be turbid downstream.  So, smallmouth bass fishing in the excellent rivers may be tough today.  Try tomorrow or later in the week.  Those lowland river should be in good shape later.

Smallmouth bass fishing was slow by most accounts last week.  Monday was good for me.  After the cold front moved in, fishing for bass in the lakes and rivers was slow.  It is going to get warmer by the weekend.  Smallmouth bass fishing should improve.

Hmm, it’s raining again.  The rain is heavy too.

We are going to be very busy this week putting out stock, tackle we ordered last week.  We are preparing for Troutfest weekend.  I’m going to clean my office too.  Yesterday I washed some windows.  We had our building sprayed for those boring bees and the windows were coated with bee repellent. 

Keeping a fly fishing store stocked is difficult.  We base our ordering on two things, what we are low on and average sales over the past two years.  The first week of May caught us by surprise.  Our sales were up 39% over the prior year.  Last week was very slow as it always is before Troutfest.  This week will be slow too.  We get very busy Troutfest weekend, then business dies again for a week.  But, this weekend the store will be stocked better than any time during the year.

Tourism appears to be slow this year.  That’s what I’m hearing from motels, B & Bs and other accommodations.  The best source of information about tourism comes from our banker.  She talked to local business people every day.  She knows what is going on.

I wonder what gasoline prices are doing to the tourism business.  I read last week there was a drop in the prices at the pump.  And somehow I found this website,  This map indicates what the average cost of gasoline is at the pump by County, all over the United States.  The green shades indicate low prices.  Tennessee is green, two different shades of green.  Gasoline is inexpensive here.  There are a lot of yellow counties.  That color indicates gas prices a little below average.  And red means you are paying over $4.00 per gallon.  The folks who live in California pay dearly for fuel.  It appears the average cost for fuel in our county is $3.35 to $3.47 per gallon.  Our prices are lower than most places in the United States.  I have no idea why.  Local taxes may be a factor.

Paula and I don’t use much gasoline.  I drive 6,000 miles per year.  She probably doesn’t drive more than that.  Our boat has a 20 horsepower 4 stroke motor.  We can run around the lake all day on 1 to 2 gallons of fuel.  We have a 5 minute commute to work.  So, higher gas prices don’t change our life much.  But I can certainly see how these gas prices affect the lives of others, and maybe us too, indirectly. 

I guess the best way to offset high gas prices is to buy Exxon Mobile stock. 

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

Byron Begley
May 14, 2012

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