Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  My alarm went off at 5:45 am as usual this morning.  I waited for 15 minutes.  At exactly 6:00 he showed up again.  I’m talking about the Whip-poor-will that arrives at the back of our house just outside our loft window and starts his mating call.  It happens at 6:00 every morning.  It will for a while.  I came to work early so there was hardly any traffic.  It is overcast and a cool 50 degrees this morning.  Little River looks great.  It is up a little and clear.

This looks like a perfect day to fish.  The flow is almost exactly normal.  We got a little rain last night and we may get more over the next two days.  Flow is 217 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 211 cfs.  The water temperature was 57 degrees earlier.  The high today is expected to be 58 degrees.  You couldn’t ask for a better day to be in the Smokies.  I can’t see the mountains at all.  They are fogged in.  It will be dark up there and the trout will not see you as well as on a sunny day.  That works in your favor.

I would start with nymphs fished near the bottom.  It seems like a nymphing day.  There will be hatches but I would only switch to a dry fly if you see bug on the water.  You can try a dry first thing and you might do well with them.  I’m just telling you how I would start the day.  I would also be tempted to fish something big for something big.  A Girdle Bug would be tempting to me and maybe a trout. 

Late today I would switch to a Yellow Sally stonefly pattern.  It could be a Neversink Caddis, Yellow Elk Hair Caddis, Yellow Stimulator or any of the other Yellow Sally flies we sell.  Or, you may have your own concoction. 

Smallmouth bass are biting good.  I saw a photo of one that Brent Golden caught recently and it was the best looking smallmouth I have ever seen.  Any fish artist should have this photo and paint one just like it.

I’m watching Dale Hollow closely.  Our lakes have been allowed to swell and that one hit it’s highest level, about even with other records since the dam was built.  The reason for this is all the flooding that is happening on the Mississippi River.  TVA held back as long as they could.  Now they are letting the water flow.

Dale Hollow reached 660 feet on May 5th.  Normal full pool is 651 feet.  That 9’ above normal caused all kinds of problems for marina folks.  One swimming pool was under water.  Docks were high, ramps were short or non-existent and the water was in the trees.  Now the lake has dropped to 655.5 feet.  It is dropping about 1 foot every 48 hours.  Paula and I are supposed to be there Friday.  Like I said, I’m watching that lake.

I finally learned how to do it.  I tried and failed many times.  I finally gave up.  But lucky for me I happened to be at Troutfest for a little while checking for problems and Kent Edmonds was tying.  Lynn Hayes had just left the tying station in Tent A.  Like me, Lynn loves barred rubber legs.  He had a smile on his face.  “You figured it out didn’t you” I asked him.  He kept smiling and said yes.  So, I asked Kent to show me again.

All you do is place a piece of round rubber in you vise holding one end.  Then you twist the leg a couple of times.  Pull it a little to stretch the rubber.  Then run your marker down the leg.  When you release it, the leg is barred.  I tried it a few times last night.  I’ve got it now.  I can’t tell you how proud and excited I am.  Kent showed me last year and I remembered he let the leg un-twist while he moved the marker from the vise to his fingers holding the other end.  That does not work!  I ordered several thousand dollars worth of tying materials to have the store stocked for Troutfest.  I looked last night before I left.  Much of it is gone.  There are hardly any rubber legs left except for those that are pre-barred.  Those are the expensive ones too.  I would say that Lynn and I bought most of them in the past and they might sit for a while now.

By the way, I use Sharpie markers to bar legs.  Kent uses those old fashioned magic makers that come in a aluminum container.  I’m going to Hobby Lobby tomorrow and get some of those.  I think they work better. 

So, everything is biting and fishing is excellent.  This is a good year for the angler.  I know, we’ve had some high water in the tailwaters and we probably will for a while.  But all the other venues are good.  OK, the lakes might be a little high.  People are catching trout here, bass and bluegill on the lakes and the hardware fishermen are catching walleye.  I talked to a guy who caught a huge musky in Tellico Lake.  I didn’t even know they were in there.  That’s a good lake and we can be there in about 35 minutes.  Maybe I’ll catch a muskie on a fly rod some day.

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

Byron Begley
May 17, 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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