Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is foggy this morning in Townsend, as usual.  Thick frost covers the ground and rooftops.  It is November 1st in the Great Smoky Mountains.  These conditions are what you would expect.  Traffic is light as visitors have for the most part gone home.  Now begins our slow season, the one that lasts for four months in our case.  It lasts longer than that for other tourism related businesses in our town.

Little River is still holding plenty of water.  Flow this morning is 153 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 81 cfs.  The water temperature is just what it has been for the last few mornings, 46 degrees.  Highs will be in the 60’s this week.  Lows will dip to the 30’s again for the next two days then we’ll see temperatures at night in the low 40’s starting Thursday.  That will help the fishing.

It appears the fishing has slowed due to the cooler water.  That is not to say you won’t catch some trout but your tactics will have to change.  Nymphs, ticked along the bottom would be my choice under these conditions.  Those who strictly fish with dry flies might have a hard time.  I would be prudent to weight your nymphs with split shot and fish with a tight line so you can feel the strikes.  High sticking would be a good tactic.  You could use a strike indicator but you will not be on the bottom all the time like you should be.

Try the tried and true patterns.  A Tellico, Pheasant Tail, Copper John, Hare’s Ear or Prince would be a good choice.  Watch for spawning browns.  They are active right now.  The males are fighting each other to win control over the nest so to speak.  Try to target them and leave the females alone.  Be careful not to wade through the redds.  You might see a blue wing olive or midge hatch and the trout may or may not be interested.  Getting on the water at daybreak might be good for those targeting large fish but the overall action will be better after the water has warmed in the afternoon.

We are building the fly tying inventory.  Orders are shooting out of here getting ready for the “fly tying season”.  Wapsi, our largest fly tying supplier called me yesterday.  I sent them a large order.  They are closed to take inventory they told me.  Angie said they would process that order tomorrow and ship it 2nd day air so we should have it on Friday.  It takes me about 8 hours to get the materials from the box and on the wall.  There are several hundred different item lines on that order.

Umpqua is shipping a large hook order this week hopefully.  Josie said she would.  October is a tough time to get hooks in stock.  The orders are pre-seasoned, meaning they are scheduled for monthly shipments starting now.  We are adding several new hook models including a new hook lineup.  Tiemco raised their prices due to the strength of the yen and the demand for their excellent steel due to the earthquake.  I head yesterday that Gamakatsu is raising their prices too.  But not nearly as much as Tiemco did.  Our new hook line is similar to Tiemco and they are chemically sharpened.  But the price is about half.  They are made in Korea.  Mustad hooks are made in China.  There may be a hook out there that is made in the United States but I don’t know about them.

Hackle is still hard to get.  We are hoping for shipments to arrive in December from Metz.  Whiting told me not to expect much until January.

We are putting together a schedule of fly tyers to give free demonstrations on Saturdays.  Walter Babb is first.  He is tying on the 5th from 10:00 until 2:00.  He is amazing.  He knows more about flies than anyone I have met.  His tying is fluid and magical.  Try to be here Saturday and spend most of the day with him.

It’s time to get to work.

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

Byron Begley
November 1, 2011


Our fly tying classes are about to begin.  Here are the dates:

Beginner Fly Tying – Saturday November 12, 2011 – Saturday January 7, 2012 and February 4, 2012.

Intermediate Fly Tying – Saturday December 3, 2011 – Saturday January 21, 2012 and Saturday February 18, 2012.

Advanced Fly Tying – Saturday January 28, 2012 and Saturday February 25, 2012.

You can view the details and the schedule by CLICKING HERE.  This page references our beginner class.  You can go to the “Schools” menu to find information about the other classes. 


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