Townsend, Tennessee
July 13, 2009

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is cloudy and warm this morning.  The temperature was 71 degrees when I left the house.  Some scattered thunderstorms moved through last night.  We got 1/3” of rain at the shop.  The airport got about twice that much.  There are quite a few tourists in town today.  The Econo Lodge parking lot looked to be full.  Did tourists wait this year, then decided later in the season to travel?  Maybe that motel had a large group for some reason.  Or maybe people finally decided to travel.

Little River looks perfect.  It is flowing stronger than it was yesterday at this time and it is still going up.  The water is warmer too.  This morning it was 69 degrees in town.  Yesterday it was 67 degrees.  The temperature is warming into the 70’s during the day.  I think it’s time to seek higher ground.  Of course the water is cooler in the Park and the higher you go the cooler it gets.  Overall fishing seems to be fairly good but it will be excellent in the higher elevation streams. 

I would fish terrestrials.  I would certainly use Green Weenies, which we are out of until Wednesday.  We have ours tied locally.  We can’t buy them from fly companies.  I guess demand exceeded supply temporarily. I’m thinking we should have about two gross of them tied by a fly company then hide that box in the store in case this happens again.  That is a fly we should not run out of.  If we place a special order like that, and they are tied overseas, it takes about two months to get them.

In the evenings fishing will be best.  Early mornings are good too.  Today might be fine all day due to the cloud cover.  You will probably get rained on.

Tomorrow will be dry.  I’m glad of that.  I’ll be with the Park Service Fisheries Crew and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency for the first stocking of brook trout in Lynn Camp Prong.  I’m taking two cameras and a tripod about a mile up the stream to record the event and write an article for the Little River Journal. 

The rain will return Wednesday and stick around for a few days.  We have been blessed with rain this year.  I’m not complaining.  Little River downstream is muddy. This has been a tough year for the lower river smallmouth fishery.  These scattered storms can ruin a few days of fishing downstream and they have. 

I’m working our server to death running searches and getting reports from our customer database. According to a report I got yesterday, during the first 6 months of the year, 41.68% of our customers live in East Tennessee. That’s high.  Our mail order is strong this year.  So that indicates our tourist traffic is down.

But, those numbers include the winter months when mostly local people visit the store.  Most of our out-of-towners use mail order during those months.  I usually look at a year when I do this.  Today I’ll get the same data from the first six months of last year and see if there is something going on.

Inventories at manufacturers plants are low.  In the fly fishing business there is a good reason for that.  Our manufacturers use pre-season orders that we place in October and November, for Spring delivery the next year, as a forecasting tool.  We all remember what happened last October.  The news media was telling us we were going to have the second Great Depression or worse.  That didn’t happen.  But, I guess many of us believed it.  Fly fishing tackle makers cut back production and now they are experiencing a short supply. 

It’s not just the fly fishing business.  Inventories around the world are low.  Look at boats.  We ordered a new boat six weeks ago.  It was supposed to be delivered two weeks ago.  The factory’s fulfillment for new product has a backlog.  And when the company wrote their business plan last year they decided to close for two weeks in July.  One week was a paid vacation for the people who work there.  The second week was a non-paid vacation.  So our boat is sitting there waiting for some others to be made so they can send a truck over here that isn’t half full or half empty depending on how you look at things.

I talked about this before.  Mastercraft, a local boat manufacturer was producing 21 boats per day at their plant with over 600 people working.  Then they laid off a lot of workers and slowed production.  Now they are bringing back 175 workers and will start producing 6 boats per day.  So demand has put pressure on the manufacturer to make more boats and they don’t have many sitting around.  This is good news.

Credit is not as tight as it was during the 4th quarter of 2008 and the 1st quarter of 2009.  I guess a lot of people finance boats and cars.  The day I ordered our boat two people were in the store trying to buy larger, more expensive boats than I was.  I’m paying cash for ours.  It is inexpensive.  The other customers were both rejected on their credit application that is handled over the phone with a credit agency.  I guess it seems to me that they should not have been looking at those big expensive boats.  Why didn’t they just buy one like ours and pay cash or finance it and get approved?

I have seen signs that the recession has hit the bottom and turning up.  Building suppliers say they have picked up.  The boat dealer has orders for two more new boats from the same manufacturer who made ours. Realtors are telling me there is more activity.  The stock market had a great 2nd quarter.

What it is going to take is for the 90% of us who have jobs to spend more so the 10% who don’t can go back to work.  Then, everyone will be happy again.  Hopefully people won’t buy houses they can’t afford and we’ll all learn to live on less. 

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

Byron Begley
July 13, 2009

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