Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny right now and 72 degrees at 7:30 am.  Traffic is light but the day is young.  At the swinging bridge there were no anglers and the water temperature was just like the air, 72 degrees.  I drove to the Black Bear Café yesterday to pick up a lunch to go.  A guy walked out from the direction of the river.  Surprisingly, he was toting a stringer of trout.  This was about 2:00 in the afternoon.  The water temperature had to be in the mid 70’s or warmer.  But he managed to catch a few.

Fishing is getting tougher as the water is getting lower.  Flow is 68 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 116 cfs.  It has been dryer than normal since June 1st.  And the river is showing it.  But, there is a good chance for rain almost every day this week.  Thunderstorms are likely today, tomorrow and Wednesday.  The chance is favorable.

We are sending what few anglers are coming in to higher elevations streams and smaller backcountry creeks.  We don’t see many fly fishermen in the store on holiday weekends.  But a few are here and trying their luck and skills.  Ants, beetles, Yellow Sally patterns and Green Weenies are your best choice.  That’s nothing new.  Those flies work well this time of year.  Go high, stay in the shade and keep yourself hidden.  The trout will be in the riffles and broken water. 

Fishing for smallmouth in the larger rivers is excellent.  I’m hearing some great stories with iPhone photos to back them up.  The lakes are warm so the smallies are harder to find unless you are fishing a cool water lake.  They are probably still hard to find with a fly. 

Campers are packing up or thinking about it.  You can always count on an exodus of motor homes, travel trailers, pop-ups, and people hauling their nylon temporary shelters home on the last day of a holiday weekend. Most of the campers probably don’t know the rain is coming.  If they did they would be packing up early.  Wet gear makes the unpacking from a camping trip worse of a chore. 

There are plenty of campgrounds in Townsend and two great ones in the Park nearby.  I don’t know the count but hundreds of people are camping within a few miles of here most of the time during the summer.  We are a camping destination.  As a resort town, we are one of the few on a larger river that offer camping and a feeling of being in the woods for some people.  Our idea of a good camping trip is not seeing hardly anyone.  You have to hike into the backcountry for that. 

Lots of our customers are heading to the Rockies.  Water is high out there.  The snow pack was or is deep.  Rain and melting snow had swollen the rivers of Yellowstone and other areas along the continental divide.  It appears that late May and early June were the worst times.  Bison moved outside Yellowstone Park to find better grazing areas.  Officials hazed the animals back into the Park.  It looks like the flood waters have receded as per articles I found online.  But the water is still high.  There are probably plenty of places to fish and the fishing might be excellent. I hope so.  A lot of my friends who manufacture fly fishing tackle have had a tough year due to bad weather.  Fly shops have had a tough year in many cases.  We are one of them.

But that goes with the territory.  Recessions and unusual weather conditions are hard on fly shops and other businesses too, especially in resort areas.  I have friends in Sevier and Blount Counties who are seeing slow times in their businesses.  This has been a strange year from a weather perspective.  Maybe it will improve.

I’ve been working my backside off stocking the store with fly tying materials.  I spent all day yesterday receiving a Wapsi order that has 871 items on it.  I’ll finish it by noon today.  That order was placed almost immediately after another larger Wapsi order arrived.  The department is looking good.  It will look better tomorrow. I still have other fly tying orders to process. We still can’t get grizzly hackle in necks or saddles due to the hair extension craze.  We did manage to get some grizzly half necks from Metz. 

Have a great Independence Day.  Today we celebrate our freedom.

Byron Begley
July 4th, 2011

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Our fly fishing classes will be offered from March to October 2011.   To sign up just call the shop at 877-448-3474.  You can read more on our website in the Schools Section.  The fly fishing class schedule follows:

Saturday May 21 – Beginner Day One
Sunday May 22 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday June 11 – Beginner Day One
Saturday June 25 – Beginner Day One
Sunday June 26 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday July 9 – Beginner Day One
Saturday July 23 – Beginner Day One
Sunday July 24 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday September 10 – Beginner Day One
Saturday September 24 – Beginner Day One
Sunday September 25 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday October 8 – Beginner Day One
Saturday October 22 – Beginner Day One
Sunday October 23 – Beginner Onstream Day Two

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