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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is foggy and 69 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Jack showed up at our house at 6:30 am.  He is remodeling our house.  By the time I left for work, 6 guys were there.  Last night, one of my buddies showed up with a fellow who climbs trees next to houses and takes them down.  We decided a huge poplar tree had to go.  They finished about dark.

Little River is flowing at 98 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.54 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 140 cfs.  The water temperature at 8:15 am is 68 degrees.

Yesterday, we could hear a thunderstorm rumbling behind the shop.  I looked out the window and saw rain falling in the Smokies.  It didn’t rain here.  I checked the radar.  It was hovering over the Little River watershed. 

I got home and looked at the gauge on the internet.  Little River was rising rapidly.  She peaked at 1.95 feet or 210 cfs.

That’s what happens this time of year.  It’s hot and the air is moist.  Storms pop up and fill some of the streams.  By morning, they are back where they were.  Looking at the weather forecast, it is going to be happening daily for a while.  Up, then down.  Up, then down.

Fishing is fine in the mid to high elevation streams, especially the shaded ones.  Dry flies will work.  Any Yellow Sally stonefly pattern will fetch.  Nymphs will do well too, especially the Weenies. 

A friend of mine owns Gracehill Bed and Breakfast.  She sent me an e-mail the other day, kind of making fun of our Weenies.  If she fly fished, she would understand the significance of this fly that is so easy to tie, anyone can do it.  A Green Weenies is the first fly our beginner students learn to tie.  Weenies catch trout, period.

Knuckleheads catch smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and big bluegill.  In fact, the smallmouth bass were eating them up Tuesday.  I broke off a big smallmouth on 11.5 pound tippet using a Yellow Knucklehead.  So, I tied on another one.  I’ll be darned if I didn’t spot that supposedly lost fly floating down the river.  Josh netted it for me.

Last year I tied the Knuckleheads at home when I had time.  We sold around 500 of them.  This year, there is too much going on.  I can’t get them made.  Yesterday, a disabled veteran found me.  He is going to start tying them for us to sell.  We’ll get into production in a week or so.  Knuckleheads will be back at LRO and just in time.  Actually, two months ago would have been better but “you do what you can”.  Better late than never. 

A properly tied Knucklehead is practically indestructible.  I sort of copied Kent’s Stealth Bomber when I came up with this fly.  I wanted something that would float higher in the water without any intention of stripping it back under the water.  The Knucklehead evolved over a period of a year.  Smallmouth bass love them.  I love them.

I even have a guide I ordered from a company that allows me to cut three perfect bodies at once, exactly 5/16” wide out of 2mm foam.  The strips are 6” long.  Then, I use a paper cutter to chop them into 2” long strips.  It takes two body strips for one fly.  I can cut hundreds in a short period of time.  Here is a link to a tying tutorial I wrote. 

Everything is glued to the hook using Zap-A-Gap.  That’s why they don’t come apart.

I think a Knucklehead should be made in America.  We have special printed packaging for them touting, “Made in the USA”.  Having this man tie them is even better.  He served our Country and he is not too mobile as a result.  I think he will be happy, creating something this good and beneficial.  Maybe we will get orders for them from China. 

By the way, our Green and Pink Weenies are tied in America by Brian.  He’s in the classroom tying them right now.  He got here not long after I did this morning.

You can tie either of these flies yourself, even if you are not a very good fly tyer.  The Knucklehead takes some time.  The reason is, you have to wait a couple of minutes for the glue to dry before you can proceed.  The wait time could be eliminated by using two fly tying vises.  You could, tie two flies at once, doing different steps at different times while the glue sets.  I never got that energetic about it.  I average tying one in ten minutes, 6 per hour.

Dan, the vet who will be tying them will spend a day with me learning how it’s done.  I’m really looking forward to this.  I need to tie some more yellow Knuckleheads for myself.  Those bass were hot on yellow Tuesday.  I gave what I had to Josh at the end of the day. 

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

Byron Begley
June 19, 2014 

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