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 in Townsend this morning.  It is very foggy.  The temperature was 44 degrees at 7:55 am, much warmer than was earlier predicted.  There was a frost advisory in our area.  Right now the sun is beginning to burn off the fog.  It is going to be a beautiful day with sunshine and a high of 66 degrees.

Fly fishing in the Smoky Mountains is good.  The water might be a little cool this morning in the higher elevations.  But that will change soon. 

Little River is flowing at 85 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 70 cfs.  The water temperature at 8:00 am was 52.2 degrees.

Conditions are great.  This is going to be another perfect weekend in the Smokies.  There is a chance for rain tomorrow, 30% in the morning.  More importantly for us, it will be cloudy tomorrow.  That is always good for fishing.

Nymphs should work best but dry flies will produce as well.  The fly pattern you use is not as important as fly presentation at this point.  Staying hidden from the trout is very important right now too.  When the water is colder, suspended solids are not held by the water well.  They fall to the bottom of the streams.  So, the water is clearer than it is when the water is warmer.  On the other hand, dissolved oxygen in colder water is greater than in warm water.  More dissolved oxygen make for healthier and happier trout.  The trout will be active this week. 

Colder and clearer water also requires you to use lighter tippet.  You may want to use smaller flies too. 

Watch for brown trout.  They are out preparing to spawn or actually spawning.  The brook trout are going to be easily spotted too.  They are still wary so carefully approach these fish.  If they are on a redd in the spawning mode I would leave them alone.  Let those trout do their thing.

Fly fishing in the lowland rivers for smallmouth bass should be good right now too.  The flows are not spring-like but the water is higher than normal for this time of year.

I spent two hours with Randy Brown yesterday.  He is the President and managing partner of Cortland Line.  Cortland is now financially sound since he and some other partners bought the company.  Randy is a little younger than me and has plenty of business management experience.  Things are going to change.  Cortland has a little over 50 employees.  They make over 2,000 different items.  They are located in Cortland, New York.

Cortland leaders are extruded at the Climax plant, which is owned by Cortland and located in Arizona.  They do extrude their tippet in the New York plant.  Cortland acquired Climax years ago and still owns that company. 

The Cortland story dates back to 1915 when Ray Smith decided to braid better fly lines.  In 1953 Cortland came out with their 333 line that was coated with a synthetic surface.  Before that, fly lines were woven from silk and had to be treated to keep them floating.  I became a fly fisherman in 1962.  My first fly line was a Cortland 333.

A man named Leon Chandler was Cortland’s Fly Fishing Ambassador to the World. Everyone liked Leon.  I called Cortland in the late 70’s or early 80’s to ask for a donation for our Trout Unlimited Chapter’s banquet in Nashville.  The person I talked to was Leon Chandler.  He was so nice.  He sent us a box of Cortland products for the auction.  My friends couldn’t believe I talked to Leon Chandler, in person.  Back then, that was like talking to Lefty Kreh.

There are only three companies in the United States that make fly lines on a large scale.  They are Scientific Anglers, Rio and Cortland.  Orvis fly lines are made by Scientific Anglers but Orvis applies their patented coating to their lines in Manchester, Vermont.  The Orvis coating is a secret.  I’ve been in the Orvis rod shop twice.  The line coating application room was off limits.  I couldn’t even peek in there.  I guess they still apply their coatings.  I haven’t asked in a while.  At one time Orvis fly lines were made by Cortland.

By the way, all fly lines made by these companies are well made and perform well.  I could not say that one company is better than the other.  Cortland has not been shipping well for a couple of years.  So right now, I use Orvis, SA and Rio fly lines. 

I think it is good for our very small fly fishing industry, when an old brand like Cortland climbs back to the top.  They have been re-tooling the plant, improving everything you can think of and I’ll be casting Cortland fly lines again.  You will again see Cortland leaders and tippet on our walls.  This just feels good to me. 

By the way, I really like Randy too.  I will certainly enjoy working with him.

Steve Burkhalter was with Randy.  Steve is our Cortland representative.  He showed Daniel the buy-in programs.  Steve also showed me some smallmouth bass he has been catching lately.  I think he is wading the shores of Lake Michigan but I may be wrong.  He had pictures of some monsters, one that measured 26 inches.  I never saw such fat smallmouth bass.  They must be eating alewives.

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

Byron Begley
October 11, 2012

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