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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is very foggy and 56 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I saw almost no traffic on the roads on my way to work.  But, I couldn’t see hardly anything due to the thick fog.  I tried to get a glimpse of the Troutfest tents when I drove by.  Couldn’t see them.  But they are there.  One in particular stands out.  I think the covered area is 7,000 square feet.  There are several other large tents at the Visitors Center waiting for their weekend event.

Fishing will be very good this weekend.  It has to be.  The conditions are perfect for the most part.

Little River is flowing at 237 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 208 cfs.  So, we’ve got some fine water levels in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The water temperature in Little River was 58.6 degrees at 7:35 am.  Yesterday the high temp was 63 degrees.  That is another good indication of excellent fishing conditions.

Nymphs might work best early in the day.  A soon as the sun gets higher dry flies will work.  Dry flies may work in the mornings too.  They will be especially good before dark.  Use Light Cahills, Yellow Sally Patterns, Elk Hair Caddis or a Parachute Adams and you should do fine.  Remember, the trail at Road Prong is closed on Monday through Thursdays.  Also, the Tremont gravel road was closed yesterday and may be off limits today.  The Park service is doing some much needed grading.

I don’t know if all the lowland rivers have cleared.  Little River is clear through Walland.  I heard the Little Pigeon was muddy this week through Sevierville to the French Broad.  Maybe it has cleared by now.  I bet Abrams Creek is clear.  Smallmouth bass are taking poppers and other top water flies as well as nymphs and streamers.  May is an excellent smallmouth bass month in the lowland rivers, tailwaters and lakes.

I believe the lakes will be fishing very well for smallmouth bass and largemouth bass now.  The Little Tennessee River fishing was slow last week.  I have not been this week so I don’t know for sure.  But, the Little T is colder than most lakes and the water is extremely clear.  Fishing can be tough there at times.

Watts Bar is fishing well.  I’ve got some pictures to prove it.  Some of the TVA lakes are still below Summer pool levels but they are gradually filling up.  I check the levels every morning and post them in the box to the lower left.

Well, Troutfest is upon us.  The banquet will be held tomorrow night.  Then, the Exposition begins on Saturday.  I’m working day and night trying to get the store ready.  Yesterday I packaged warmwater flies all day.  I worked 11 hours and when I got home I was worn out.  I’ll do it again today.

For the first time we have volunteers working in the store during Troutfest.  Paula is giving them gift cards and all they have to do is talk to customers.  It is crazy here during Troutfest.  For the past 3 years our business has died the week before Troutfest.  And it is very slow afterwards.  But on Saturday and Sunday during the event we are slammed.  For some reason we are very busy this week. May has been a great month so far for the first time in a long time.

We did some customer activity research in 2010 during Troutfest.  As you know, if you have shopped here, we track sales by the customer’s name.  We found that about 80% of the people who came in here and bought something during Troutfest were already customers.  20% were new first time customers. 

May sales have been dropping off substantially for the past 3 years.  We think a lot of our current customers wait to visit Townsend during Troutfest.  That’s why we were so slow before and after the event.  And during the event, those people are spending money at Troutfest and here.  But overall, May has been a much slower month for us since 2008.

Why that has changed this year is something I can’t figure out.  I hope it doesn’t mean that Troutfest attendance is going to be down.  I guess we’ll find out soon.  I have talked to a lot of people who are already here for Troutfest.  They made a vacation out of it.  So, maybe there is a shift in angler activity because of the event.  Maybe there are more people here that have not been to Troutfest before.  My gut feeling is, Troutfest will be very busy.  I hope so.  The weather is going to be perfect, like the fishing conditions.

I better get to work.  It’s 8:30.

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

Byron Begley
May 17, 2012

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