Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  This morning is a carbon copy of yesterday morning.  The temperature was 28 degrees when I drove here.  The ground was covered with a thick layer of frost that looked almost like snow.  The same wild turkeys were walking around in front of our house.  And like yesterday, the turkeys looked black against the white ground.  Two of them were right in front of my truck on the road.  I had to stop while they made up their mind which way to go.  One actually flew off which is unusual.

Little River is flowing a little above normal at 136 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 133 cfs.  The water temperature is a chilly 41.5 degrees, slightly cooler than yesterday morning.

The water temperature rose a little yesterday to about 44 degrees.  We may see the temperature creep above that today.  The high temperature today should be about 60 degrees in the valley and colder than that in the mountains. 

Trout do not need to feed much when the water is cold.  Their metabolism slows down.  They just don’t need much food.  That’s how they survive during the winter when there is not much food to eat. 

I would wait awhile today before going fishing in the Smokies.  Let the water warm some.  Use heavily weighted nymphs.  Get them down.  Run your fly right in front of their nose.  If you see a big male brown trout, use heavy tippet and approach carefully.

The water is extremely clear.  Those trout can see you coming.  The trout in the Smokies are wild for the most part.  They do not associate humans with food.  Humans scare the heck out of them.  You will need to stay low and blend in with your surroundings.  You will do best in shaded water with a little chop.

The tailwaters are fishing well if you can get a good generation schedule.  Tennessee Valley Authority and other power companies are lowering the lakes and creating cheap power.  I update the lake level report on the lower left of this page every day.  These reservoirs are slowly lowering to winter pool.

People are catching some really nice rainbows here in town. I saw some pictures yesterday.  Stocked trout seem to feed better through town when the water is cold.  I guess they are hungry.  They are used to eating regular meals.  Some of these fish are quite large.  You might want to fish in town before going to the Park.

We cast some of the new Sage Circa fly rods yesterday.  We have some in stock now.  These rods are awesome.  For Sage they are atypically slow.  They are designed for trout and they seem to have “Southern Appalachian Streams” written all over them.  Small streams are in these rod’s DNA.  If I wanted a high-end fly rod, to fish in small streams these rods would be my choice.  They are not cheap, starting at $745.  The action suits my casting style better than any rods I have cast in the light line range.  I started fly fishing way before carbon fiber was invented or used to make fishing tackle.  My first fly rod was made of fiberglass. 

The Sage Circa rods are very light.  The diameters are tiny.  The weight range for these rods are 2 oz to 2 ½ oz.  Come by and cast one.

I shop local when I can.  Yesterday I went to our local pharmacy to pick up some prescriptions.  After leaving there I stopped at a CVS store in Maryville to buy some shampoo.  This store is fairly new, maybe 2 years old.  I had never been in that store.  I was greeted by a nice young lady.  She left a positive impression on me.  Then I started looking for shampoo.  I walked out with more stuff than I intended to buy and there is a reason for that.

I’m going back to this store soon and this time I’m taking a camera.  This was the most organized retail store I have ever been in.  I could tell that CVS has re-invented how retail stores that carry a lot of sku’s (shop keeping units) should be designed.

They want to make sure people can find what they are searching for and more, without asking or looking.  It was all in the signage and the placement.  Their locator signs would not fit in a fly shop décor.  But we could do something similar with a more rustic look.

I am particularly interested in what I saw because we are planning a serious makeover of our store this winter.  Check out one of these newer CVS stores.  You will be impressed.

Yesterday, I went for a ride on my bicycle.  I drove around town, got some exercise and spoke to a bunch of local folks.  I have a 4 mile route that doesn’t take much time and at the end is a buzz around Trillium Cove, a nice shopping area next to our store.  There was a guy standing next to a SUV with a shiny bike on the roof rack and talking on his cell phone.  I spoke to him as I drove by.  I heard him say, “Is that an Appalachian?”  I stopped and walked with my bike over to him.  He looked familiar.  He was a nice guy.

He looked at the bicycle and started telling me how rare they are.  I think he could tell that I don’t know anything about bicycles.  He told me if I hung around biking people they would try to buy it from me.  He said they sell on E-Bay occasionally.  I told him the bike was a gift from Paula.  She gave it to me about 14 years ago.  It is in mint condition due to the low mileage.  I plan to work on the mileage thing.

I felt like I was driving a vintage Porsche.  He stared at the bicycle and told me all about it.  He even pointed out the name of the former owner of the company that is located on the what-cha-ma-call-it that holds the back wheel to the frame.  He told me that the titanium frame gives it a better feel on the road, it flexes perfectly.  He told me it was made in Tennessee.  I did know that.  And, they don’t make this model anymore.  The company sold to a larger firm years ago. 

I keep my bike in the office, hanging on the wall.  It’s kind of dirty right now.  The chain and gears need to be cleaned.  Well, that is what I’m going to do.  That man gave me renewed interest in an old bicycle.  This nice man said he was “giving me points” for driving that bike.  I told him I was giving him points for wearing a Little River Outfitters cap.  We finally introduced ourselves.  He was wearing a Brookie Cap and had ridden his bike (only) 40 miles that day.  I’ll be glad when I can say that.

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

Byron Begley
November 18, 2012

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