Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is foggy and light rain is falling on Townsend, Tennessee this morning.  The larger mountains are not visible from my office right now.  It is cooler too.  We are expecting the high temperature today to be around 80.  We had some fairly heavy rain yesterday but it was brief.  Little River looks to be around normal for this date but I don’t know what the flow actually is.  The flow gauge station or the communication equipment owned by U.S. Geological Survey is down and out.  I’m going to call them tomorrow.  The water is slightly turbid which is good for fishing.  The water temperature is 64 degrees in town and cooler in the Park. 

Fishing should be good.  There is one problem, a lot of people are in the Park on this Holiday weekend.  They are fishing, tubing, swimming and probably making fishing near the roads pretty tough.  I would hike into the backcountry today.  I think this would be an excellent day to fish.  It is cloudy and that puts the odds in your favor. 

Dry flies and nymphs are working.  I would still go with Yellow Sally Stonefly and Light Cahill patterns for the dry.  You might try terrestrials like beetles and ants.  Nymph choices for me would be Tellico, Bead Head Pheasant Tail, Green Weenie and Copper John. 

High in the mountains on the brook trout streams would be a great place to spend the day.  You will encounter traffic though, lots of it.  People will start thinning out this afternoon.  We’ll see a mass exodus of campers, motorhomes and pop-ups leaving the mountains soon.  They will probably leave earlier than normal because of the rain.

We saw a lot of local people shopping here this weekend.  I suspect, many anglers like myself would prefer not to fish on a holiday weekend.  I wouldn’t think of it.  So, a lot of anglers are looking for something to do and they go shopping to re-supply for this week.  I’m guilty of that.  I’m in total preparation mode for fishing this week.  I’ll probably go on Thursday.

I talked to Steve Morton yesterday.  He has been a customer and friend for a long time.  We were out in the parking lot and as we spoke I greeted other customers as they walked by either coming or leaving the shop.  That’s what I like to do.  I told Steve how much I love my work.  He remarked that most people can’t say that.  He is right.  I love my work because I get to spend time with the people who work here with me and I can also talk to customers.  Our staff and our customers are the kind of people I want to be around.  We all have the same passion to different degrees.  So, we have a lot in common and plenty to talk about.  Everything about my job is fun for me because of people.

I like the people who work for or own the companies we buy our merchandise from.  Over the years we have become good friends.  We are partners.  The fly fishing industry is very small.  It is very personal.  So, our suppliers and our customers are personal to us. 

I have enjoyed making friends with fly fishing celebrities, people like Lefty Kreh, Joe Humphreys, Bob Clouser and Jim Casada.  Of course I have a lot of respect for each one’s talent and how they have made a career as icons in our sport.  Over time I have tended to overlook that and when I see them we’re just friends.  Lefty is like a Dad to me.  He’s always trying to help me.  Joe and Bob are my buddies.  Jim is a new friend and I have a huge respect for his writing ability and I think it’s cool how we worked together to sell that many copies of his book.  Our shop has sold and are selling a lot of them, over 600 so far.  He sold and is selling a lot of them himself.  I can’t wait for the second printing.  If we keep going like we are that may not be too far off.  Jim has added a lot of insight and content to our Message Board.  I appreciate him doing that.

These days, many of our sales reps are younger than me.  Some are about my age.  I want them to be successful.  I want to see fly fishing stores in the Southeast do well and keep these guys working.  They are our link to the manufacturers and they know more about their products than anyone.  They are our partners.  So, a close relationship with these guys is essential to the business of fly fishing.  Almost all of our Sales Representatives were at Troutfest, helping us make it a successful event.  They all donated prizes for the banquet, lots of them. 

I also like the owners and staff of other fly shops and the big sporting goods stores.  Again, they are all essential to our sport and our small industry.  Some of the fly shops in our region had a booth at Troutfest.  Next year I bet there will be more.  Eddie Wyatt, who owns The Fly Shop of Tennessee was at Troutfest for the first time.  He loved it.  I think and hope it was good for his business.  Eddie is a great guy.  Another good friend who owns a fly shop is Kevin Howell of Davidson River Outfitters.  He helps out with Troutfest by tying flies and giving presentations.  Kris Maurer is the Fly Fishing Manager at the Orvis Company Store in Sevierville.  We have become very good friends.  Kris and I work together on the Troutfest Committee.  We both share a lot of customers.  Harold and Nancy at the  Smoky Mountain Angler in Gatlinburg supported Troutfest in a big way.  They sent a check for $500 to be a sponsor.  They are fine folks and I have enjoyed our new friendship.  I like their shop too.  And, there are many more people like Eddie, Kris, Harold, Nancy and Kevin who share a very important and very close tie with me and our shop.  We are all experiencing, every day, the same challenges and good times.  We share information and advice and work as a team for the benefit of the fly fishing industry and you.  Many of us serve the same customers and we know it.  Taking care of customers is “Priority One”.   And, we all love to fly fish.

I love my job.

Have a great Memorial Day and please pray for and honor those American women and men who made the ultimate sacrifice so we can be free.  God bless them all.

Thanks for being here.

Byron Begley
May 31, 2010

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