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

NOTE:  According to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park website and the road report voice recording, Little River Road between the “Y” and Metcalf Bottoms is still closed due to downed trees.  Additionally, Parsons Branch Road, Forge Creek Road and Rich Mountain Road are still closed.

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is cloudy and 73 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Get ready for some rain.  It is coming.  There was very little activity on the roads on my way to work.  This will be the last day with high temperatures exceeding 90 degrees for a while.  The heat wave is over.  Now, we will have cooler temperatures and rain.  We have a 60% chance for thunderstorms today and tomorrow.  The chance for continued storms this week is good, or bad depending on your personal perspective.

Along with this cooler weather will be increased humidity like we normally have this time of year.  But, due to that humidity, we will have more rain in the form of afternoon thunderstorms.  That is normal.  I like normal.  

Fishing is OK in the Park now but it will get better as the week progresses barring any flooding.  Cooler temps and higher water will be an important benefit to anglers.  Believe me, we are ready for this.  Count on trout taking dry flies and nymphs.  Dries would include any yellow stonefly imitation, which could include mayflies or caddis in the yellow color.  The trout are still enjoying yellow.  Terrestrials are another good idea.  Use some black beetles with some sort of bright color on top so you can see them.  A solid black beetle disappears from my view.  Green Weenies will also be an excellent pattern to use.  I like to add a little weight to mine.  Pinch on a #6 piece of split shot.

People are talking about the willow flies hatching on some of the lakes.  You will most likely find them on the most fertile lakes like those on the Tennessee River.  I would have thought they would be gone by now.  But, week before last we found them just beginning on the Cumberland Plateau lakes.  Reports indicate these mayflies are abundant on Fort Loudoun Lake though I can’t personally verify that.

If you are targeting smallmouth bass in the lowland rivers, fish early and late.  When we get an increase in the flow the mid-day fishing should improve some.  Mid-day fishing for smallmouth bass on the tailwaters is excellent right now.  Use poppers and streamers.

Hopefully we will get enough rain so TVA can begin allowing the lakes to fill while providing cold water below the dams for the trout.  The lakes that do not have barge traffic have been slowly dropping.  The agency has been between a rock and a hard spot trying to satisfy the need of boaters on the reservoirs while maintaining flows below the impoundments.  Keeping the navigation open is one of their highest priorities.  That is why you don’t see Fort Loudoun, Tellico, Watts Bar and other lakes downstream dropping like some of the other lakes.

I bought some of the new blockhead bodies we are now selling but I didn’t get to tie one last night.  Yesterday, I continued to order more fly tying materials to build up that department.  And, I’m ordering extra materials that will be displayed in our new popper department as well as other spots in the store. 

I have been carrying around a printed sheet all week as I work on this department.  The title at the top is “Popper Making Department Plan”.  I have identified every component used to make poppers.  Even if we currently stock them, I’m ordering more.  For instance, we sell squirrel tails.  Not many people buy squirrel tails.  But, they are the perfect tailing material for Blockheads.  A couple of wraps of Pearl Chenille over the squirrel tie in point is a good option.  I’ll have four colors of Pearl Chenille in the Popper Department as well as on the wall where it is usually found.  The same will be true for squirrel tails.

What I’m getting to is a one stop shopping department if you want to make poppers from cylinders, blockheads, sheet foam or formed popper bodies and everything else you will need including adhesives will be there.  I hope to have a book printed describing how to make Crease Flies, Stealth Bombers, Knuckleheads, Cylinder Poppers and Block Heads.  That will take a week to photograph and produce.  I don’t know when I can find a free week until probably next Winter.  My ultimate goal is to have a popper material department on our online store.  The majority or our customers live in the Southeast United States.  Poppers are popular in those states.  These materials can be hard to find.

I placed an order with Whiting Farms and Metz.  We’ll see how much of those orders we will actually receive.

On Wednesday we will meet with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) at the former location of Laurel Lake.  We are trying to re-build the lake that was drained 20 years ago.  I’m not exactly sure who is going to be there.  In all meetings so far, State Senator Doug Overbey, State Representative Art Swann, County Mayor Ed Mitchell and County Commissioner Gordon Wright have been there with me.  I’m the person representing the committee.  These guys have the power to get this accomplished if we follow TDEC guidelines. 

They are all committed to getting this job done if it is possible.  We’ll see what happens. I have a personal reason for building this lake back.  It is just a few hundred yards from our house.  Having a 50 acre lake that close to the house would be great.  Combine that with all the streams in the Park and Little River below the “Y” and I’ve got lots of options when I want to go fishing.  And, I can be on the Little Tennessee River in 35 minutes. 

I’m really thinking a lot about my golden years.  On Wednesday I will turn 61 years old.  Also, on that date I will have been fly fishing for 50 years.  My first fly rod, reel and fly tying kit were gifts from my parents on my 11th birthday in 1962.  I will never forget that day.  I tied my first fly, ran to one of the ponds and caught my first fish on a fly.  The fish was a 2 pound largemouth bass.  I learned what little I knew about fly fishing by reading Outdoor Life, Sports Afield and Field and Stream magazines. 

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

Byron Begley
July 9, 2012 

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