Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is so foggy I drove to work with the windshield wipers activated.  The fog is a heavy mist, almost like rain.  Except for a small crowd at one of the restaurants I drove past, there were almost no people out in town.  Paula took some friends from out of town and out of the Country to Cades Cove yesterday.  It was crowded there.  Today and tomorrow are going to be warm and sunny.  I expect to see a lot of visitors driving by the store today.  Only a small percentage of them are interested in fly fishing. 

The river’s water level is getting back down closer to normal.  Flow is 100 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 86 cfs.  The water temperature was 51 degrees at 7:45 am.  The air temperature was 40 degrees.  It is going to be much colder after tomorrow. 

Fishing is very good as it should be.  The water conditions are excellent.  The moon phase is almost non-visible.  The water will warm some today and tomorrow so start out with nymphs.  Patterns like a Tellico, Pheasant Tail, Copper John, Prince and many others will work.  This week you should expect to see blue wing olives on the water.  Have some small dark mayflies down to #20 to mimic those mayflies should you encounter a hatch.  And, even if there is no hatch, the trout will rise to them.  Like I said yesterday, anglers are also seeing large blue wing olive type flies on the water, as large as a #14.  It’s hard to beat a Parachute Adams in those sizes.  But emergers might work better.

The brown and brook trout are spawning.  A concerned angler should be careful not to wade in a redd.  A successful spawn and baring any floods or excessive high water could yield great results to all of us in a couple of years.  Losing an age class of a particular species of trout can be good or bad depending on how you look at it.  If you don’t lose one or if there are no natural events to limit the survival rate we can have an overabundance of trout trying to compete for the same amount of food.  On the other hand, if you lose an age class there are less trout and they will be larger. 

That theory has been proven time and time again by biologists and anglers alike.  I prefer larger trout and really never notice if there are less of them.  Some of the best fishing occurred after the droughts in 2007 and 2008.  Lots of rainbow trout died.  Those that lived through the ordeal were larger and tough.  That’s Mother Nature for you.

Yesterday at noon I punched in a phone number then a security code.  That activated a conference call between me, Jordan who is the Sales Manager at Fishpond and Scott who is a online marketing expert in Park City, Utah.  That was an interesting conversation.  We had planned it days ago. 

I found out things about our website I didn’t know.  For instance, we have a lot more unique visitors than I could have imagined.  I look at the numbers every day.  What I see is a tally of the past 24 hours.  Those are all unique IP addresses.  Two visits from the same computer equal one visit.  I always thought that a large amount of our customers visit the site several times per week and they do. 

My way of counting will amount to about 1.3 million visitors this year.  Somehow I thought and had no way of knowing that probably 10,000 people were pulling us up daily or every few days.  I was wrong.  A huge number are only visiting once in a month.  That number blew me away. I am looking at our website with a completely new perspective now.  What I see is opportunity. 

We work very closely with Fishpond and other manufacturers.  But there has been something magic about Fishpond and Little River Outfitters.  I remember meeting Dave and John, the founders of the company the year they opened the doors.  Somehow I knew we were going to build a good business relationship.  And we did.

We just re-arranged the store and allotted 200 square feet exclusively to Fishpond.  When the new lighting, signage and graphics are finished and installed, it will be a merchandising masterpiece.  And our Fishpond business is already picking up since we made the move. 

Our ordering system is very organized.  I am ordering from our largest manufacturers weekly or almost weekly depending on how busy the store is.  On Sunday afternoon these companies receive an e-mail with our orders attached.  We are probably first in line on Monday morning when they open.  They confirm via e-mail that they received the orders.  We get the merchandise to replace what sold the week before on Thursday in most cases.  I get it out in the shop on Friday.  Then on Sunday the processes repeat.  I re-order what sold while the last order was in process and shipping plus what sold on Friday through Sunday afternoon.  I have been improving this system every day since May.

The big elephant in the store, the fly tying department is going to be a tough nut to crack.  We stock thousands of unique fly tying materials. 

Soon, that buying will be completely automated.  That is not far off.  Wait and see.  Now that would be “Logistics”.  My goal is for you to benefit by the fact that we are not out of anything.  That is what I am working toward.  It is going to take a lot of cooperation from our manufacturers and some smart technical people helping us do just that.

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

Byron Begley
October 25, 2011

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