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 hardly feels like Summer.  It doesn’t look like Summer.  But it is.

We have enjoyed and look forward to enjoying cool temperatures and rain. This has been a period of a “dream” for smoky mountain anglers.  No end is in sight for now.

Little River is flowing at 167 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.80 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 106 cfs.  The water temperature at 8:00 am is 62 degrees below the confluence of the three prongs of Little River. 

Think about that for a minute.  The water temperatures in the high elevations will be colder, several degrees colder. 

Fishing conditions are perfect and anglers are doing well.  We had some very high water a few days ago but it has receded and at this point it is still above normal but at a good level for fly fishermen.  That, and the cool temperatures make for some fine fly fishing in the mountains.

Some say the trout are taking dry flies better than nymphs.  Others say just the opposite.  Try one, the other or both.  We still recommend Yellow Sally Stonefly or foam beetle patterns for the dry fly.  And, we like Green Weenies for sub surface fishing. It’s also hard to beat a Pheasant Tail or an Elk Hair Caddis.  I would pick yellow for the caddis.

We have a good chance for rain tonight through Sunday.  That would be beneficial to fishing early August.  It may be very beneficial to you this weekend.  Cloud cover will give you the edge.  The trout won’t see you as well.  They feel more comfortable moving out of their hiding spots when there is cloud cover.

So, everything looks good in the Smokies right now.

Water levels are moving upward at Norris and Cherokee lakes.  They are still not up to Summer pool.  Any move up is a good move right now.  Douglas Lake is at Summer pool.  I don’t have to look but Tellico Lake, Fort Loudoun Lake and Melton Hill Lake are likely at full pool.

After 12 years as managers of LeConte Lodge, Allyson and Chris Virden are moving on.  They have done an awesome job and will be missed by thousands of their friends.  They will leave when the lodge closes for the Winter in November.

Taking their place is Ruthie Puckett.  You can read the article on the KnoxNews website by CLICKING HERE.

Managing a lodge that is located at 6,593 feet above sea level may not sound like a big obstacle.  After all, many lodges in the west are higher than that.  The trick is, this one is located in a National Park and there are no roads for staff, guests and deliveries.  You have to hike to get there, several miles up a steep incline.

Most supplies, laundry, food and beverages are hauled in on Llamas.  They call it a Llama Train.  Large equipment is brought in by helicopter.  As far as I know there is not mail, UPS or FedX delivery.  If you are a guest or staff member and you get sick, I would think that would be a problem.

Serving meals to 12,000 guests per year would be a logistical nightmare to me.  I’m sure that takes a lot of planning and accurate inventory control.  My thought right now is to somehow store about 24,000 frozen pizzas in bear proof freezers. Electricity or the lack thereof might be a problem.  

A caretaker spends the Winter there, alone for the most part.  Imagine a job like that. 

I like living in the woods and we do.  But, it is comforting to know we can drive five minutes to get something we need.  I sometimes drive to the shop at night when I need some fly tying materials. 

Speaking of which, I am tying some Knucleheads in new colors (for me), tan and brown.  Yesterday I tied about two dozen in Yellow, a great color for smallmouth in the Holston. 

We stopped selling Knuckleheads this year because I didn’t have time to tie them.  I think we sold around 500 last year.

A customer wants to take that job over.  He is a disabled veteran.  He began his fly tying experience at a Project Healing Waters event.  In a couple of weeks, we will get together and I’ll give him some training and see what happens.  They are easy to tie and very effective.  There are a couple of durability tricks that make them last, fish after fish.  That is especially important because you never know when a big bluegill will eat your fly but you do know how hard they are on flies.  You can view the Knucklhead fly tying tutorial by CLICKING HERE.

I am meeting with Paul Gibson this afternoon.  He is a partner in the web marketing company we are now working with.  I’ve been working with our new online store software for weeks and I learned what I know so far by reading tutorials and watching the software company’s videos.  What Paul will be showing me today are advanced design skills.

David Knapp will be working at the shop on Thursdays and Fridays.  He is starting today.  In fact, he just walked in.  I don’t know if this is temporary or what.  For a couple of years, Daniel has been in charge of customer service.  He oversees all of that.  He also does the ordering.  I do my thing which is bookkeeping, website and marketing and Daniel takes care of everything else.  He does a great job. 

It will be great to have David back in the shop.  He worked here one Summer and we had a good time.  I know for sure what he will be doing after work.  Fishing! 

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

Byron Begley
July 31, 2014 

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