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 again this morning and 70 degrees at 8:00 am.  Townsend appears to be quiet for now.  It won’t look like that later.  People who would rather enjoy the serenity of a rain forest as opposed to a hot beach are here on vacation.  With low temperatures at night in the 60’s for the next few days, can you blame them?  I love the beach as long as I am in a boat looking at it from a mile away.  Of course, there would be a fly rod in my hand.  I’m so glad I married a girl who likes to take fly fishing vacations instead of baking in the heat on a beach with no other reason to be there.  I don’t get that.

Little River is still dropping very slowly.  We have a 30% chance for thunderstorms today.  I am hoping for that.  Fishing is probably still good in the Park though I didn’t talk to anyone yesterday who returned from fishing.  I know fishing was good day before yesterday.  Trout fishing has to be slowing down due to low and warmer water.  Surely those trout are harder to catch.  But, you know something? I think anglers are better anglers.  Even here, where fly fishing is certainly not easy, it seems people are reporting better fishing every year.  I don’t think the fishing is getting better.  I think the fishermen are getting better.  Maybe it’s the internet.  I’m sure we help.  When I started fishing here there was not a fly shop staff to help me.

If you go, do it early and late for everything that swims in East Tennessee.  It’s that time of year.  I would use a yellow fly of some sort in the Smokies.  It could be a Neversink Caddis or a small Yellow Stimulator.  I that didn’t work I would probably tie on a Bead Head Pheasant Tail as a dropper though that is not my favorite way to fish.  Even better, if the dry fly did not produce, I would pinch on some split shot and dredge the runs and pockets.  I know that will work.

None of us who indulge in the sport of fly fishing for smallmouth bass can figure out what’s going on this year.  One day the smallie fishing is pretty good.  Other times, it is slow.  Doug said he is doing better in the mornings on the lakes.  I think he and I will try an afternoon on Tellico Lake this week.  The tailwater smallmouth fishing is also off and on. 

The big question is, when did they spawn?  Jack saw some on the beds in April.  I did see one bedding smallmouth in April and fishing was pretty good in April.  The post spawn feeding frenzy was not something I got into this year.  I read a fishing report written on June 5th on the Fontana Village website.  That report indicated the smallies were coming off the beds at that time. 

I can tell you for sure, I would have had much better fishing this Spring if Wooly Buggers and streamers were my preferred flies.  I know that’s my problem.  But, catching them on top and watching those bass eat the fly is the sport I like so, if I catch less fish, so be it.

John had a good tarpon trip.  He was in the shop yesterday.  I will be in his shop tomorrow because he is my dentist and I chipped a front tooth.  John caught 9 tarpon in three days.  He said he jumped 19.  He is an excellent angler.  One day he used straight 60 pound leader material without the 20# tippet designed to break if things get out of hand.  Straight 60 pound leader gives the fisherman lots of fighting power.  It is almost impossible to break.  You’ve got to have 60 pound backing too so you don’t lose a fly line or at least your chances are slimmer.  Where he fishes, the tarpon run between 60 and 140 pounds.  Occasionally you can spot a 175 to 200 pounder.  With a 60 pound leader you are committed to the fight until the end.  But, you can cut the fighting time in half, which is better for the fish.  Tarpon have to be mentally beat.  It takes hours of fighting to land one if you don’t fight hard and make them give up.

I quit fly fishing for tarpon a few years ago which was a decision Paula and I made for a good reason.  We used to fish in Florida 9 days per year broken up into 3 trips.  It costs $1,000 per day for travel, food, guide fees and a condo rental.  That equals $9,000 per year. 

We decided to curtail the Florida trips and spend one year’s worth of money on a boat to use around here.  I ordered a new boat three years ago, kind of an inexpensive one and it is parked at the shop. Many of you have seen it.  The boat, motor and trailer cost $6,400 plus tax.  We had to buy some other accessories including a trolling motor, depth find and batteries. We use that boat often. 

We travel to Tennessee for our fishing vacations.  Since we live in Tennessee, we don’t travel far.  Cabins on lakes cost less to rent than condos on the ocean.  We don’t have two ten-hour drives to dread.  We don’t have the burden of those high fuel costs.  We can fish in our boat with that little 20 hp 4 stroke for a week and use about 6 to 12 gallons of fuel. We don’t hire a guide.  And most importantly, we are just as happy.  Saving money makes me happy.  Fishing in Tennessee makes me happy too. I don’t know of a reason to go anywhere else.

Happy Dad’s Day to you if you are a Dad.

Thank you all for being here with us and supporting our store.

Byron Begley
June 17, 2012 

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