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 65 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Rays of light are pointing to the Smoky Mountains from above.  A few minutes ago the view was even more incredible.  The air is clear and there was almost no traffic on the streets on my way to work.  Sometime during the night, the Troutfest tents were taken down.  Most of the vendors and exhibitors have gone home.  Townsend is back to normal.

Little River is flowing at 159 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 207 cfs.  The water temperature was 65.7 degrees at 8:00 am.  The water is clear.

Fishing has been extremely good in the Smokies, especially right before dark.  Some anglers reported slow fishing this weekend.  They were probably fishing near the roads.  A lot of people were in town for Troutfest.  Most of the people who attend Troutfest also go fishing.  So, the rivers got hammered.

But late in the evenings, a couple of hours before nightfall, the rivers come alive.  Bugs were hatching by the thousands.  The main hatch is Yellow Sally stoneflies.  They are joined by other mayflies, caddis and stoneflies.  Some nice trout were caught this weekend, and many were caught late in the day.  Use a Yellow Sally Stonefly pattern.  Also, the Green Weenies are working.  It’s Green Weenie time!

It is overcast today, well now the sun is shining.  But it will be overcast from time to time.  Fishing should be good. We are going to get some rain starting this afternoon and ending tomorrow night.  The chance is 50%.

The smallmouth bass fishing is excellent in the lowland rivers and lower tailwaters.  The bite is on.  I won’t find out about the lake fishing for smallies until later this week.  I plan to fish all day, one day.  My hope is, the smallies are taking top water poppers and flies.  I bet they are.  We have had some slow days on the lakes.  But now I think they will be biting well and holding on the banks.

After the smallmouth top water fishing slows down on the lakes, I will switch to the rivers.  Actually I’ll probably fish the rivers now, after work.  And I might fish one of the closer lakes after work too.

Lake fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill and shellcrackers is really picking up.  I know lower Tellico Lake and Watts Bar are hot right now.  So is Fort Loudoun Lake.  You probably don’t want to fish lower Tellico or Loudoun on weekends.  There are too many pleasure boats on the water and that will get worse next weekend through the Summer.   

Troutfest went very well.  It was another successful event.  There will be a group in here counting money today.  We are guessing we made a profit of $20,000 at the banquet.  The Little River Chapter also made a profit on other smaller fundraising efforts.  The Troutfest Journal is one of them. 

The vendors were happy with the turnout and the amount of money attendees spent with them.  We had a good sales weekend, almost exactly like last year.  Saturday was our biggest day.  We had 6 people working in the shop and we could barely keep up with all the customers needs.

I have worked 10 days straight, 11 hours per day.  I’m exhausted.  I slept 10 hours last night and don’t remember anything.  Troutfest weekend puts a lot of stress on our store and our staff.  I won’t get a day off until later this week but the stress level has dropped about 99%. 

Owning a fly shop is not a very stressful job.  I am used to running much larger companies but I’ll never do that again.  It’s more fun being a small business person and making less money.  The hours are long but there isn’t much pressure.  I love my work.  This weekend was really fun because all I did was wait on customers and talk to fishermen. 

Robert, our manager from Orvis was in here on Friday and I was helping a customer with waders.  I told Robert that I wish every day could be like this.  Unfortunately, there is a boring side.  Ordering, receiving and website work is not as much fun as talking to fishermen.

I do really enjoy writing this report.  Since Memorial Day last year I started coming to work early to do this.  I get to spend a hour and a half, by myself, communicating to a fairly large audience.  We have between 500 and 800 unique visitors to this page.  That is about 10% to 15% of our total web visits by unique individuals per day.   It took years to get that many people in the habit of reading this report.  I know people don’t read it every day so maybe there are a few thousand who read it on a fairly regular basis.  And, there are probably some who actually do read it every day. 

Whatever the size of the audience, I enjoy the writing and many people enjoy the reading.  I thank all of you for joining me in the mornings, throughout the day and in the evenings.

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

Byron Begley
May 21, 2012

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