Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  Guess what?  It is foggy again.  I did not look at the temperature displayed in my rear view mirror but the National Weather Service reports 33 degrees.  I’d say they are about right.  Traffic is light and it was the same last night when I went home.  The tourist season is over.  Visitors will be here mostly on weekends until Spring.  Holidays will be busy too.  But for the most part, our town is quiet and it will stay that way for months.  There are advantages and disadvantages to that.  There is less traffic on the roads, trails and rivers.  That is nice.  But, as business people, we starve.  If you don’t have plenty of cash to get you through, you will go out of business.  That happens to someone or more than one every winter.

Little River looks sweet.  The flow is perfect at 291 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 113 cfs.  The water temperature was 48 degrees at 8:00 am. The water is clear.  My one-minute visit to the river was a nice way to start the day.

Fishing is OK, not great but not bad.  It is great if you are lucky, very patient and skillful enough to catch a big brown. You will catch some trout but not in the big numbers we got used to two weeks ago.  Blame the cooler water for that.  The warmer temperatures are coming back.  The weekend looks great with highs in the lower 60’s.  Tonight the temperature will dip into the low 30’s though.  Later this week both days and nights will be much warmer unless the weather patterns change. 

I would use nymphs, weighted and fished deep.  High sticking without a strike indicator will produce best.  If you feel like you need an indicator that might be fine.  You may miss some opportunities when your nymph drifts way over the head of a nice trout.  But indicators sure make detecting a strike easier.

I would use a Prince, Pheasant Tail, Copper John, Hare’s Ear or Tellico nymph.  You should have some Blue Wing Olive dry fly patterns in your box.  If the nymphs don’t work try a dry.  If the dries don’t work, try a nymph.  Larger nymphs or even streamers might produce.  Try something with rubber legs.  I would not wade in the gravel beds where the browns are spawning.  All those fish need is some angler stepping into their nest of fertilized eggs.  The effect of that can be devastating. 

Four men were sentenced to jail for digging ginseng in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  I don’t know any of them.  Had they lived on this side of the Park I might have known them.  They got jail time up to 120 days depending on the severity of the offence or the intolerance of the judge.  You can read the article on the KnoxNews website by CLICKING HERE.  The Park Service doesn’t take kindly to digging plants in the Park.

Walter Babb is tying flies here today.  He will be giving a free demonstration between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.  Walter performs magic at the vise.  I don’t know a better fly tyer.  More importantly is his description and history of the flies and how they are used to catch trout.  Come on by.  All you have to do is show up.  You will be entertained and leave with a whole new outlook on the craft. 

Walter makes bamboo fly rods for a living.  I have one that I will cherish until the last day.  He has a backlog of several months.  So, if you want one, you could get on the waiting list today.  You probably won’t get it by Christmas but you will know it’s coming. 

I will never forget taking the Joan Wulff Instructors School with Walter.  We drove to Roscoe, New York to take the class.  Joan is a great lady and so are her instructors.  On the last day of the class, they brought in some people who had never fly fished.  Each of us were assigned something to teach them.  Joan would be watching each of us try to teach that person to do what was assigned.  And she did sit there and watch each of us perform the task.

Mine was easy.  I can’t remember what it was.  Walter got the tough one and I don’t remember what he was given.  All the students in the instructors class felt bad for Walter.  The night before, we went outside the motel room where we shared, practiced or discussed what he had to do the next day.

Everything went well.  I did my thing with Joan sitting on a stool watching my every move.  I did not see Walter give his presentation but I heard from him and others that it went well too.

Brian Courtney went with us and fished during the day in the Catskills streams nearby.  We drove about 14 hours each way so I heard a lot of Walter’s stories.  That amounted to 28 hours of laughing.

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

Byron Begley
November 5, 2011

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Our fly fishing classes will be offered from March to October 2011.   To sign up just call the shop at 877-448-3474.  You can read more on our website in the Schools Section.  The fly fishing class schedule follows:

Saturday October 8 – Beginner Day One
Saturday October 22 – Beginner Day One
Sunday October 23 – Beginner Onstream Day Two

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