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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny, clear and 57 degrees in Townsend this morning.  This is going to be one heck of a nice day with a high temperature of around 79 degrees.  Traffic was heavier than it usually is at 7:40 am.  I had the boat in tow on my commute.  I keep it locked down at the shop but take it home usually one evening each week to wash it.  I washed my truck once in 2010 and not since.  I wash the boat every time I use it.  We live on a gravel road.  Washing a truck is a waste of time.

Little River is flowing slightly above normal.  We got some rain yesterday in the mountains but only sprinkles here.  The airport got ½” too.  The river rose during the day then peaked.  Right now Little River is flowing at 162 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow is 152 cfs.  The water temperature this morning is 60.7 degrees. 

You could not ask for better fishing conditions.  We’ve got them right now.  Expect the river levels to drop through Sunday.  There is no chance for rain in the forecast.  Most of the aquatic insect hatches are occurring late in the evenings.  Still, dry fly fishing is good throughout the day but best early and late.  Yellow Sally stoneflies, beetles, ants and Green Weenies are what I would use.  I’m a big fan of foam flies.  I tied several last night.  Trout and all species are also big fans of foam flies. 

Our best selling foam trout fly is the Neversink Caddis.  Yellow is the color.  Those flies work so well during the late Spring and throughout the Summer because they look like a Yellow Sally.  They float well too.  Anglers like that.  I was using one during a film shoot last week.  It happened to be tied on my Smokies rod which I keep strung up and ready to go.  I didn’t treat the fly with floatant because the goal was to video me casting and the final scene would only last a few seconds.  Catching a trout was not the objective.

I was casting continuously in fast water for probably 30 minutes with that Neversink Caddis.  Guess what, It never sunk.  This great fly comes from Holly Flies in Mount Holly Springs, Pennsylvania.  We usually order two gross of the #16 at a time.  We get them two days later.  Sometimes that amount will only last a week or two so we order more.

I will be writing this report from home very early tomorrow morning.  Then Mike and I are going fishing in the clean boat and dirty truck.

Frank Bryant, my friend and the owner of Chota Outdoor Gear is coming in this morning.  We are going to photograph his new products in our studio.  I’ve seen one of them.  I would never tell anyone what it is or what they are. 

One the other hand, when I know about a new product that is in design by another company, Simms for instance, I wouldn’t mention that to Frank.  He knows that.  We’ve discussed it.  Frank and I live by a mutually understood code of ethics.

Frank and his wife Pat run a great company.  They work hard, they are doing well and we are glad.  I use their products all the time.  My favorite of course is last year’s introduction, the Hippies.  Hippies are unique hip waders that roll down to be a knee-high wader.  CLICK HERE to visit the Chota website.  On the home page is a short video that I filmed and edited for them.  It lasts two minutes.  Mark, the Chota Sales Manager is the model.  We had fun doing this and plan to do more.

Do you ever get a song stuck in your head?  Me too.  Today’s song is one that was sung in the 60’s and early 70’s.  Maybe my life is flashing before my eyes.  Mike and I need to be extra careful tomorrow driving to the lake.  Here it goes.

“I want to be an Airborne Ranger, I want to go to Viet Nam.  I want to live the life of danger.  I want to kill the Viet Cong.”

Me and hundreds of thousands of other young soldiers sang that song in basic combat training.  I sang it at an Army Base in Louisiana named Fort Polk, every day.  We sang that song when we ran and marched. We ran or marched everywhere we went during that two-month period.

U.S Army Basic Combat Training, “BCT” or “Basic Training” had a profound affect on my life.  Our company had 100 young men and we were referred to as trainees.  One of them, Private Bilskey was 17 years old.  His parents had to sign for him to enlist.   

Drill Sergeants were screaming at us for weeks until we started getting it right.  Most of those young men were drafted and didn’t want to be there. Some of those 100 guys could have been wounded or died in a far away place we had only heard about or saw on television. I hope they all made it.   

It was a life changing experience for sure.  I enjoyed most of it.  I got to know a lot of people who I would never have had the chance to meet. I learned about followship and leadership.  We got to fire lots of different weapons.  I liked hand grenades.  I hated the gas chamber.  Our basic weapon, the M-16 could be fired on full automatic.  As long as you held that trigger down, it kept firing at 3 rounds per second. 

We were in excellent physical shape by the end of the program.  We learned to fight.  That is what young people learned to do in BCT. More than anything else we learned to be part of a team and watch out for each other.  We learned first aid.  We took a lot of those classes.  If your buddy got hurt, you knew what to do and maybe save his life.

Well, I’ll be glad when Frank gets here and I can move on to other things.  And, I can’t wait to go fishing tomorrow.  I’ve got a feeling fishing is going to be excellent.

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

Byron Begley
June 6, 2012 

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