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 and 71 degrees in Townsend this morning.  The motels appear to be doing well judging from the vehicles I saw parked in their lots.  It is vacation time.  I can also tell it is vacation time by the drop in our internet visitation.  That happens every year at this time.

Some small but powerful thunderstorms moved into our area last night.  We got ½” of rain at the shop and almost none at our house 3 miles away.  Evidently, the Little River watershed in the Park was missed by the storms too.  Little River is flowing at 117 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 153 cfs.  The water temperature was 66 degrees at 7:50 am. 

Gene and his family are camping at Elkmont this week.  He told me yesterday that fishing has been great.  He had photos to prove it.  To him, the water is not low.  He considers it to be normal based on his observations over the years.  He did say he may be biased by the drought  years.  They camp here every year at this time.  He has seen the water much lower than it is now.  But, he is happy.  They are catching trout well and they are catching good ones too.  They drove up to Walker Camp Prong and fished for brookes one day.  He showed me the pictures from that trip.  They caught some nice brook trout.

Fishing is good but you need to be stealthy due to the low water.  The trout will be hiding in the faster pocket water behind rocks.  And, they will be hungry too.  The warmer water has their metabolism running at full bore.  Fishing will be best early and late.  Dry flies, especially Yellow Sally Stonefly imitations or terrestrials will work fine.  These trout will actually eat any reasonable offering as long as you get a good drift and don’t spook them.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been fairly slow with some exceptions in the lowland rivers and tailwaters.  I have found it to be slow in the lakes too.  Again, there have been exceptions.  But overall, I think smallmouth bass fishing has been off this year for some reason.  The early Spring may have confused them or us.

Josh told me a story yesterday that made me sick.  A friend of his saw two guys in a jon boat on the Little River downstream from Walland illegally shocking the river for smallmouth bass.  His friend saw them holding probes in the water and had a boatload of captured fish laying in the hull.  TWRA was supposedly notified and they found 83 filleted carcasses spread throughout the river. 

We should be on the lookout for these guys.  If you see something unusual call the TWRA poacher hot line at 800-831-1174.  You may get a $1,000 reward.  You may be inclined to sink the poacher’s vessel before making the call.  I would call first and get the officers on the way as fast as possible.

I have 45 foam cylinder poppers ready to install the plastic eyes in their bodies.  They are all glued to the hooks.  I’ll glue the eyes in tonight.  I may still be doing that tomorrow night.  I’m building an inventory for Paula and I.  These poppers will last us a long time, at least a year. These things are durable.  Even bluegill can’t tear them up.

I am picking up the new “Brook Trout Restoration” T-shirts today from the embroidery company.  We’ll have 155 of them ready to sell this weekend if nothing goes wrong.  I like these new T-shirts for lots of reasons.  First, the image that is silk screened on the back is custom art designed by our artist in Knoxville.  Second, the T-Shirts are made in the USA of 6.1 oz cotton.  Then, our logo is embroidered on the front.  It is very small. 

I am switching to these T-shirts after years of buying from a dyer in Vermont that sold shirts made in other countries.   

Our t-shirts are shipped around and transported.  This order came from California and Boston to Nashville to be printed.  Then, they were shipped to us.  I delivered them to Alcoa last week for the embroidery.

These shirts represent the efforts of Trout Unlimited, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Fly Fishing Federation and other contributors which total over $2 million dollars of cash and volunteer labor during the past 20 years.  Now, we have miles of pure brook trout water in the Park and fishing is allowed in all but two streams. 

It is only fitting that a t-shirt, which commemorates this effort be completely designed, made, shipped and decorated in the USA using American workers all the way through the process.  The shirts are made by Americans.  The graphic designer is American.  The screen printers are American.  The embroidery people are American.  The truck drivers are American.  And we are American.  I think that’s cool. 

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

Byron Begley
June 15, 2012

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