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.  A semi-transparent fog is blocking my view of the mountains somewhat.  I can barely see them.  There are a lot of people eating breakfast this morning.  The restaurant parking lots were packed.  Rob was in our parking lot when I pulled in.  He was waiting for some guide clients.  He said he is working on 16 days straight.

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The rain didn’t come yesterday.  Little River is slowly dropping.  Flow right now is 91 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 150 cfs. The water temperature at 7:55 am was 67.2 degrees.

Trout fishing in the Smokies is finally slowing down.  What a great Spring we have had.  It’s been a long one too.  It started in February.  Lower and warmer water would eventually lead to slower fishing and it has.  Gene fished at Elkmont last week.  He said he noticed his success rate dropping a little every day.  Other anglers told similar stories yesterday.

You can catch trout and you should go.  The trout are going to be extra spooky until we get some more water in the rivers.  The trout are hiding from predators and they are happier in the riffles where they can absorb more dissolved oxygen and stay hidden.  They will be in the pocket behind rocks and just upstream from rocks where there are breaks in the current.  The brown trout are hiding under rocks and logs during the day.  They are out cruising for forage at night. 

Dry flies or nymphs will work.  More important than the pattern is the presentation.  You’ve got to get a good drift and stay hidden at the same time. 

Evidently, the smallmouth bass in the rivers are seeking deeper water during the day.  Notable exceptions would be the tailwaters where the water temperature is more stable.  You can catch smallies in the tailwaters during the dog days of Summer.

It also appears the smallmouth bass in the lakes are seeking deeper water during the day.  I read the fishing reports on the KnoxNews website this morning.  The guys using conventional tackle are fishing deep, in 25 feet of water.  The smallies are in shallow water at night.  So, go very early or late and you might catch them on fly rods using floating lines.

I guess you could use sinking lines and get a streamer or crawfish deep in the water column.  That’s not much fun for me.  I like taking them on top.

The USA made “Native Brook Trout Restoration” t-shirts are selling extremely well.  We’re even sending one to Hawaii today.  Milt, our buddy and customer there ordered one yesterday.  I’m looking at the numbers so far.  The best seller is size XXL followed by XL.  I think I will need to bulk up on the larger sizes if this trend continues. The bell curve is changing for some reason.  But, you can’t just look at two days sales and make that call.

I sent an e-mail to our artist in Knoxville yesterday and got one back from her this morning.  We are going to start the process of developing a new design for a shirt.  My plan is to put three designs for sale on our website and then add a new design every couple of months.  To do that we have to stock a lot more than we normally do.  The turnaround time on these shirts is about three weeks.  We will also have to cut down on our color selection of one design.  Our brown trout shirt is available in three colors currently.  To sell them online would require picking one color and stocking deep. 

To get the best pricing in the T-shirt business you need to buy at least 144 shirts.  Silk screening on a large scale is set up to make runs of 12 dozen or more.  Our shirts are printed on a 12 color automated press.  The shirt is placed on the press and revolves around automatically to the next station where the next color is applied.  We never have 12 colors.  Most of ours are 7 or 8 colors.  That machine is operated by one person.  It is something to see.

Our customers are very happy with the USA made T-Shirts.  So am I.  They do cost a little more.  The quality is excellent.  As we phase out our current inventory the new shirts will all be USA made.

Paula was off yesterday doing something in the dining area of our great room.  Dubbing, our cat was outside.  Out of the corner of her eye, Paula noticed something through one of the back windows four feet from our house.  At first she thought it was Dubbing.  The animal was actually a coyote right at our house during the middle of the day.  Knowing that the coyote was probably stalking Dubbing, she opened the door and yelled.  The coyote ran back into the woods.  Dubbing was on the front porch on the other side of the house.  We are not going to be letting him outside any more.

I have been stalked by coyotes.  Once I was walking our dogs after dark on the lower driveway.  I heard something behind me.  There were 4 or 5 coyotes that I could have hit with a rock just following us.  When I turned around they all ran for the woods.  They were not after me, they wanted our dogs.  Another coyote attacked our dogs while I was walking them on a leash.  That particular animal did not see me.  He just saw the dogs.  That happened during the daylight hours.  I heard him growling and running through the woods, I yelled and he stopped dead in his tracks, then turned and ran the other direction.

We live in an area, just 3 miles from the shop that is very lightly developed.  If you look on Google Earth it is amazing how many thousands of wooded acres surround us and there are few houses.  And, the National Park is very close.  It is no wonder that we see so many wild animals near our house.  Bear, deer, bobcat, fox, turkey and coyote roam free all around us.  The coyotes are the most aggressive of the whole bunch.  We have had a few nuisance bears around but that is rare.  They usually mind their own business.  I don’t mind bears too much but I hate those darned coyotes.

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

Byron Begley
June 18, 2012 

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