Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is cloudy and a cool 55 degrees.  I like this cool weather.  I came to work right after 8:00 am and there was a surprising amount of traffic on the streets.  I guess a lot of people stayed over after this busy weekend.  I’m in Paula’s Jeep with no stream thermometer so I did not check the temperature. She left early this morning to pick up Lefty Kreh and Joe Humphreys.  They are going to breakfast and then to the airport.  I’m waiting here for a gang from Troutfest.  We’ll pick up all the night-drop deposits made during Troutfest, bring them here and count the money.  We don’t deposit or pick up deposits with less than two people. 

Fishing reports were excellent this weekend.  The Yellow Sally Stoneflies are especially active.  One guy told me he had to keep wiping them off his face.  For the first time in a long time there were reports of Green Drakes on Little River in the Park.  I know they hatch late at Cataloochee and further downstream from Townsend.  But the most predictable Green Drake hatch occurs on Abrams Creek in April.  I use the word predictable with a whole lot of false confidence.  Steve Moore who is head of fisheries at the Park and I have tried to catch that hatch several times and failed.  To say the least it is really sporadic and un-predictable. 

Other anglers reported huge Yellow Sally hatches but there was no apparent feeding frenzy associated with the hatch.  When that happens, switch to a nymph or wet fly.  Those trout are feeding on something better and easier if they are not taking the adults on the surface. 

Still, I would use some kind of Yellow Sally dry fly and probably a dropper like a Pheasant Tail.  My dry would probably be a Yellow Stimulator in a size #16.  Those things float well and can handle the extra weight of another sub-surface fly.  My second choice would be a Yellow Neversink Caddis.

We had around 1,500 people counted at the entry of Troutfest on Saturday.  I heard that late in the day.  Some of those were volunteers.  I don’t know the count for yesterday.  I think it was less.  I heard several counts on the banquet.  I think 250 people is about right.  So we are probably looking at about 2,500 people or less.  Last year the count was 2,800.

I’m going to run sales reports at our shop for the three day period.  Our business was down from the Troutfest Friday last year.  Saturday was the best sales day we have ever had.  Sunday was about the same as last year.  One reason our business was up so much on Saturday is, we had 7 people working here and took better care of our customers than we have in the past on that day. Saturday during Troutfest is always one of our best days of the year, business wise.  

What I’m hoping to learn is, what percentage of our customers are new customers.  That is easy to do.  We ring up sales under a customer’s name so our data is very useful to make decisions.  I want to know if we are attracting new people who have not shopped here before or we’re getting mostly customers who we already have.  That information will prove invaluable to the Troutfest Marketing Committee.

We are all tired but excited about the event.  First, this one was pulled off without almost any mixups.  It was a close to perfect as we will ever get.  Second, the vendors were very happy with their results.  Third, the big sponsors like us, Orvis, Temple Fork and Chota really had a good show.  The four of us are critical to our event.  We pay to have Joe Humphreys here.  Orvis brought Tom Rosenbauer.  Temple Fork brings Lefty and Chota pays for Bob Clouser.  That is how we have been able to get those headliners here at no cost to Troutfest.  That is huge.

Our committee is made up of some of the finest, talented and hard working people I know.  They are all smart.  They all have the mission right in front of them, funding the fisheries at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  We all like each other and work well as a team.  The committee grew this year and we added new talent.

Some of the other volunteers have been doing the same job for years.  They are critical to the success of the event.  They handle huge jobs but don’t need to be involved with the committee.  They just do their thing, every year.

Volunteers come here to help from several other states including Tennessee.  They live in Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and other places.  They want to do their part with the same mission we all share.

This was quite an event, we’ll do it next year and somehow it may even be better if that is possible.  There will be some new additions to the committee and volunteer list.  There will be new ideas to be explored and implemented.  Hopefully, Lefty, Joe and Bob don’t retire.  Tom Rosenbauer who is our new guy said he’s coming back next year.  We all liked him very much.  He is a great guy. 

The 150 or more volunteers all hope you had a great time and learned a lot about your sport, your streams, lakes and tailwaters.  Thank you for helping us fund the Park.  We’ll all get some rest this week and be ready to start on Troutfest 2012 in a couple of weeks.  And, thanks to all of you volunteers for making the greatest fly fishing show on earth, happen and be successful.

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

Byron Begley
May 16, 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 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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