Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is cool and foggy in Townsend this morning.  But today will be sunny and warm, maybe over 70 degrees.  I saw quite a bit of traffic on the roads on my way to work.  Visitors are still here viewing the spectacular mountains.  Some people have mentioned that the Fall colors are not quite as vivid as normal.  Other folks have commented that they drove to the higher elevations only to find the leaves were gone.  And others remarked on the snow on the ground and roads on the Cherohala Highway.

I could hear the river the second I stepped out of the truck at the swinging bridge.  There were no other audible sounds other than the water rushing over the round stones.  It’s different now than it was before the last rain brought more water down from the mountains.  We may get more rain this week.

Flow is 110 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 77 cfs.  The water temperature was 50 degrees this morning.  The conditions are perfect for fly fishing.

Some anglers reported good fishing yesterday and others said it was not so good.  But, reports on Saturday accounting for Friday too were excellent.  Fishing was a good as it gets.  Nymphs are working well but dry flies are producing too.  I have also heard of these large blue wing olives that are hatching.  Seasoned anglers and a guide described a #14 blue wing olive mayfly on the rivers.  Fish are rising to them.  That is a large BWO. 

Jack described the same thing on the streams in the Catskills.  He and some buddies fished there this Spring.  He said the Blue Wing Olives were the largest he had ever seen.  So, if you fish this week, have some larger BWO patterns or at least something similar like a Parachute Adams.  The trout are feeding on them even if there is no visible hatch on the water.

Traffic in the mountains will taper off as the leaves drop.  If we do get some rain and wind this week that will speed up the transition.  The difference between peak and post fall leaf traffic is remarkable.  After the leaves drop, the people disappear.  But, Smokies anglers will be left here and mostly alone.  The next two months offer some excellent fishing.  The tailwaters are producing very well too.  I have seen some good photos of large brown trout brought to the net this week.  The best is yet to come.

I have been working diligently on our hook department.  That small space is quite a busy area.  I have heard often from Umpqua that we are the largest Tiemco dealer in the Southeast United States.  But, changes are happening in the fly tying hook industry and I am trying to prepare.

We got our new catalog in late September.  I noticed a price increase in Tiemco hooks.  So I changed our order sheets and submitted a pre-season order with 12 ship dates starting in October.  When the first order arrived I could not make the math work.  Finally, I got the word that Tiemco raised their prices again after the catalog was printed.  Umpqua is the exclusive importer of Tiemco hooks.  These fine hooks are made in Japan.  It seems most hooks are made in Japan or China these days, even Mustad hooks.  Evidently, steel prices in Japan have risen sharply, possibly due to the earthquake and damages there that changed many industries, especially automobile production worldwide.  I guess it impacted fishing hooks too.  The price increase we have experienced is 18% since September.

Umpqua has a newer addition to their hook line.  They are called the U Series.  These hooks are made from high grade steel and chemically sharpened.  There is one big difference that accounts for a lower price.  They are made in Korea.  These new hooks sell for $5.75 to a little more for 50 hooks.  That is a bargain.  If these hooks are as good as they appear to be, they are going to sell like hotcakes.

I planned to bring in about 4 new hooks in several popular sizes on each monthly pre-season order throughout the winter.  Now, I’m planning to change the November order and bring them in all in a once.  The hook department is hard to manage because I only get one shipment per month.  We order weekly from many of our suppliers.  I can get hooks more often but pay a much higher price if I order between scheduled shipments.

I have not heard a word from Gamakatsu about a price increase.  Those hooks are made in Japan as well. 

Anyway, the hook choices will be different here.  I am cutting out any slow selling sizes in the Tiemco line and beefing up the U Series.  We have some of them in stock now.  Expect a lot more after November 18th.

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

Byron Begley
October 24, 2011

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