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 is overcast and 52 degrees in Townsend, Tennessee this morning.  That is a little chilly.  Tomorrow morning will be colder, in the 30’s with possible frost.  It’s time to dig out the long johns.

When I drove home last night the restaurants were packed.  Driving in this morning I noticed the motel parking lots were full.  Business is alive and well in the Smoky Mountains.  This is the peak of leaf looking season.  Reports indicate the leaf colors have peaked in the high elevations and they are near that in the mid elevations.  It really is pretty around here.  It is times like now that I especially love living here. 

Fishing is good but the streams are getting low. Little River is flowing at 87 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.56 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 76 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:55 am is 57.5 degrees.

The trout are spooky during times of low water.  Today should be good because of the cloud cover.  Stealth is of utmost importance right now.  You need to stay hidden from the trout.  They will be found in the riffles, in deep runs and somewhere near cover.  The brown trout however will be out in the open.  It is spawning time for them. 

Today I would recommend dry flies and even terrestrial dry flies.  Neversink Caddis, Yellow or Orange Stimulators, Parachute Adams and black foam beetles are what I would use for a dry.  Nymphs might work better.  Better yet, drop a nymph off the dry fly.  Green Weenies should still work.  Bead Head Pheasant Tails are a good choice.  Larger nymphs with rubber legs would be a good choice for the brown trout.  It’s had to beat a Prince Nymph anytime.

After the freeze, most angler don’t use terrestrials.  I suspect the trout don’t know the difference until later in the Fall.  If it looks like food, they will eat.

Traffic will be heavy in the mountains today and tomorrow.  I would avoid Cades Cove.  I’ve heard reports of times as long as 5 hours to drive around the Cove.  The Park Service is reporting slow traffic there and on Highway 441 between Cherokee and Gatlinburg.  There are going to be cars and trucks everywhere.  Leaf peepers are out in droves.

I got some of the nicest e-mails from readers yesterday.  I wrote about the 11 year old boy who I spent time with Thursday.  I ended up giving him a $100 book about fly tying.  I connected with him because I started tying flies at the age of eleven, 51 years ago.  He even looked like I did at that age.  It was a heartwarming story.  I have thought about it often.  But the response from readers like you and the boy’s father made me feel even better.

After what the citizens of the United States have been through lately, we need more news about good things.  We desire good news.  We’re tired of hearing about politics and power.  We are ready for stories about people actually looking out for other people.  That is what makes us feel good.

I have always known that fly fishing is a sport that promotes anglers helping other anglers.  I don’t know how many flies I have given away over the past 50 years.  Other anglers give me flies all the time here in the shop and on the streams.  When we tie our own, the incremental cost of a fly is low.  I say that knowing that the overall value of the materials and tools in a fly tyers storage area is anything but low cost.

I tie flies for friends as Christmas gifts sometimes.  Walter always gives me flies for Christmas.  Fly tyers can’t just tie for themselves.  Nobody uses all the flies they tie unless they are guides.  Mike Bone was here yesterday.  When he left he said he had to go home and tie flies.  He is a guide.  He has guided trips today and tomorrow.  His flies will be used.  Then, he will tie more.

I tie one pattern that we sell in the shop.  You probably know I’m talking about Byron’s Knucklehead Bass Fly. Why do I do it?  Well, I like to tie flies and I have more flies than I will ever use.  So, I get to tie several hundred of these in a year and other people use them.  I make enough money to support my habit.

Only 30% of our customers buy fly tying materials.  We know that because we record our sales under the customer’s name.  We can run reports to determine these kinds of things.  The other 70% must buy their flies.  We do sell a lot of flies.

Fly tying is not for everyone.  If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it.  If you want to find out if you might enjoy it, take our beginner fly tying class.  These classes start in November and run through February.  You can click on the button below and get all the information.  We are offering intermediate and advanced fly tying classes too.  They are taught by Walter Babb and Brian Courtney.

You may know that Walter Babb is a well known bamboo rod maker.  He makes some of the most beautiful bamboo fly rods I have ever seen.  I have one he made for me.  Paula has one.

Walter made a special rod that will be auctioned on December 7th at 6:00 pm.  The location is the Sweetwater Primary School located on highway 322 in Sweetwater, Tennessee.  The proceeds will go to the Sweetwater Area Ministries and benefit needy families.  He also donated 14 dozes nymphs that he tied.

The rod is a 7 ½’ 5 weight 2 piece Phillipson Peerless taper.  The rod was made by Walter for a Heartland Series television show that will air sometime next year.

Bamboo Rod collectors and anglers who fish cane rods need to be there.  Those of you who bid on Walter’s flies at Troutfest auctions, which normally go for a large amount of cash, should be there.  This is a great opportunity for you.  If you are interested, show up.

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

Byron Begley
October 19, 2013

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