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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is foggy, overcast and 65 degrees in Townsend this morning.  We got a brief rain shower around 7:00 am.  Luckily, for all the vendors, exhibitors and people attending the events going on in town and at Cades Cove, the chance for rain today is lower than previously predicted.  Now, the National Weather Service has upped the chance to 70% on Monday and only 40% today.  That is good.  This will probably be a perfect day to visit our town.  The Fall Festival, Country Fair, Old Timers Day and other events tied into our big Fall weekend should be well attended by thousands of people. 

Fishing is good but we are not hearing many reports.  Not many people are fishing.  I talked to several people yesterday who are just getting started in our sport.  Most caught trout.  Nobody said they did great.

The “Big Fish” hunters are out there watching the browns and probably catching a one or two right now.  My friends who do that don’t target the spawners on the redds.  The browns are not spawning yet but that will start at any time.  Jack thinks we’ll start seeing redds next week.  After the trout have spawned out, these guys do catch those big fish.  And that sport continues through the Winter.  My buddies release all their fish.  And, they have to know what they are doing to succeed.  It’s not easy.  Browns in the 24” to 30” length are rarely caught in Little River but they are.  I know the anglers.  I see the pictures. It is almost impossible for me to get away from the store during October and November. There is too much going on. 

You will probably find the smaller trout in the riffles and runs.  The water is still low though probably not for long.  This morning, Little River is flowing at 48 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 90 cfs.  The water temperature was 64 degrees at 7:50 am.

Since we are expecting overcast skies today, intermittently tomorrow and all day each day early next week, your chances for catching trout in the Smokies is very good.  Trout are more likely to be on the move and active when the light is dim.  The dimmer has been turned down. 

Cooler temperatures and rain will prevail over the next few days.  That will make the fishing in the Smokies awesome.  It is Fall and that is what you would expect.  Water levels are typically low right now and they are.  Fishing when the water is low can be really good if the water is cool.  The water is fairly cool.  It’s going to be cooler as the next few days go by.  I think we are in for some great fishing.

I finished our Fishpond Spring pre-season order yesterday.  It may sound weird but the Spring merchandise will start shipping immediately or at least by November 1st.  I scheduled 4 shipments and requested the 1st ship on October 15th.

Fishpond has a new line of waterproof/water resistant gear bags, backpacks, luggage and chest packs.  They call it the Westwater Series.  Everything is made from grey or green TPU welded fabric with water resistant zippers. We should receive all the new pieces in the first shipment.  There are 8 items in the line.  All total, we had to order $6,500 worth of gear at wholesale to reach Level 3.  That’s easy to do, this is a large line of goods.  We will fill in over the year as needed between the  4 shipments.  We usually order from Fishpond weekly or bi-weekly during the selling season. 

In the fly shop business, if you don’t get the highest margins possible, you go out of business.  To get those margins we have to commit to pre-determined buying levels.  The retail price is determined by the manufacturer, in most cases.  The fly shops that didn’t make it, usually paid higher wholesale prices and had to sell below MSRP to move their goods.  That formula does not work.  It has been proven over and over.  It is just simple arithmetic.

I had another customer ask about a good threadfin shad pattern yesterday.  I’ve got a good one that works.  I just can’t buy them.  The shad patterns I use takes between 30 minutes to an hour to tie.  They are made from Enrico Puglisi EP Fibers.  You can see how to tie them by CLICKING HERE.  This is a two-page tutorial.

Well, I thought about that this morning and made a decision.  I’m going to buy some solid white Puglisi flies and color them myself with marking pens.  Then, I will re-package them for you.

These flies work better than any shad pattern I have found.  I’ve been using them for about 10 years.  They are a 3-Dimensional fly.  When they are moving away from the predator fish they appear to be real because the belly and girth are thicker than the tail section.  That has been hard to do with lightweight materials that can be presented with a fly rod. 

I tie them is sizes varying between 1 ½ inches long to 5” long.  Mostly, I use the smaller ones.  They work for all species of trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, carp, large bluegill and stripers.  I’m sure there are more.  I’ve even caught large catfish on them though I don’t actually target that species.  Those fish can ruin a fly in one fight that takes an hour to make. 

These flies are actually easy to tie.  They take time but don’t require normal high-level fly tying skills.  Proper trimming takes practice.  You may tie a dozen losers before you get that right.  But, if you follow these directions you can eventually tie a very effective pattern for predator fish located in rivers or lakes that have threadfin shad.  If your water has alewives or other shad-like species, you can make the color and shape alterations and get a perfect imitation.

I don’t want to mislead anyone about the effectiveness of this fly in our southern waters.  So, I’ll just tell you that this could be the best fly you have ever used and leave it at that.  If you want to see how adamant I am about the success of this fly, Google “Puglisi Threadfin Shad”.  Our website comes up on the first 6 links.   

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

Byron Begley
September 29, 2012 


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