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 at 7:55 am.  Folks, we are experiencing Summer conditions.  Our only relief comes at night or when we are in an air-conditioned environment.  It has been hot out there.  We need rain in the worst way.  We have a 40% chance for that today.  Evidently the Knoxville Airport get a good dosing sometime during the past 24 hours.  Their website reported .71 inches in the gauge there. 

Little River is flowing very low.  Most of the streams in the Park are as well unless one of those isolated thunderstorms hit a different watershed from ours.  Flow right now is 74 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 133 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:55 am was 70.3 degrees.

Go up higher to find cooler water in the Smokies.  And be extra stealthy.  You can catch trout and you will hone your low water skills.  I would probably use a hotspot beetle of some sort.  And, if I were so inclined, I would drop a Green Weenie off of that.  You need to use a beetle that you can see.  A solid black one disappears in the shadows.  If you tie your own, tie in some Krystal Flash, chartreuse calf body hair or something that will stand up and be seen.  I use Krystal Flash and it is usually just the regular pearl color.

Yellow patterns will work too.  These trout like yellow this time of year. 

Smallmouth bass fishing with a fly or popper in the lakes and large rivers is very slow except below dams where the water is cooler.  The bass are in deep water right now.  In some lakes they may venture into shallow water at night.  But, during the day they are in the deep cool waters of the impoundments.

After yesterday, I know why.  The water temperature is in the 80’s.  I drove down the Little Tennessee River yesterday morning pulling the boat.  I went by the first ramp.  Only one truck and trailer was parked there.  I drove by the second ramp.  I guy on a motorcycle was parked there.  That was it.  Then, on the 3rd ramp across from Citico Creek there was only one truck and trailer. 

I met Rufus at 7:45 am and we launched.  We started fishing immediately.  We hit the banks for almost 4 hours.  He caught one nice largemouth bass and a tiny smallie about 4” long.  The small to medium sized bluegill were active.  I switched from a popper to a Carter’s Rubber Legged Dragon.  Of course the bluegill hit that.  I got a strike on almost every cast.  Most were too small to take the fly.  We did catch a couple of nice ones.  But for the most part we had a slow fishing day.  It was enjoyable though.  We were off the water at noon and the heat was already getting unbearable.  And, it’s always good to go fishing with Rufus.

He used a Blockhead Popper the whole time.  He did tie on a Dragon as a dropper.  I had never seen anyone use a Blockhead.  The action and noise was incredible.  I had no idea these poppers made that much noise and left a bubble tail.  We sell them in the shop but I have not bought one yet.  I will today.  I’ll probably need to order some more.  I noticed the inventory was getting thin.

Rufus ordered his bodies from a bass fishing fly company online.  I visited that site a couple of times and meant to order some myself.  Here is the site, FLY BASS BIZ.  I’m watching the video on how to make a hole in the popper body right now.  Looks easy to me.  Now I’m viewing the tying instructions.  I’m going to get some of these today.

Tim Ivey read the fishing report today and called. He reminded me that I can buy these Blockhead bodies from Rainy's. I didn't know that. So, I'm working on an order right now. We will be carrying the Blockhead Bodies in three sizes and four colors in about a week. Thanks Tim.

Fishing in the tailwaters might be your best options right now.  If you can find a good generations schedule on your river, one that suits your style of fishing do that.  You are also going to find the cooler water will be more comfortable for you.  Rufus and I just about baked on the lake yesterday. 

Let’s hope we get some rain.  It looks like we may cool off some next week. 

Paula saw a huge bear yesterday in our neighborhood.  Those critters are waiting for the berries to ripen.  Last year the berries dried up and bears had an awful time finding food.  When that happens we see them in our valley looking for an easy meal. 

The Brook Trout Restoration t-shirts are selling like crazy.  The best selling size is XXL and we are already out of them.  I will order more soon.  To meet our contract obligations and keep the price lower I have to order 144 at a time.  I’m thinking we’ll order again in a couple of weeks and we will stock heavily on the XXL. 

The bell curve has changed.  XXL has never been our best seller until recently.  Large and XL have always outsold the other sizes.  I think T-shirts are getting smaller.  I noticed that when we were ordering from our dyer in Vermont.  They were dying imported t-shirts.  These new American made shirts are the same.  And no, I don’t think people are getting bigger.  I really believe the shirts are being made smaller for some reason.

Our artist is working on a new T-shirt design.  I would say that this first run will be long sleeve shirts because we will be getting close to Fall when they are on the floor downstairs.  The whole process for concept, design, blank shirt fulfillment, printing and embroidery takes several weeks.  Once the design has been run the first time it takes about 3 weeks to fill a re-order.  I am planning to have a new design continually in the works with a new one introduced every three months. 

Design costs are expensive.  The last one cost about $1,000.  The brook trout was hand painted using acrylic paints.  Some of the design can be created in the computer.  Our silk screen printers have to balance the ink colors using the hand painted component and the computer generated images.  We have to re-coup the design costs on the first run before we start making a profit on them.  It is an interesting business but the up front costs add up to a lot of money.   

Have a great day and drink plenty of liquids.  And, thank you for being here with us.

Byron Begley
June 22, 2012

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