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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is colder than a well digger’s backside out there.  It is 23 degrees at the shop.  Allyson says it is 3 degrees at Mount LeConte.  There is no snow in the Smokies from what I can tell.

I can see the mountains so clearly this morning.  Cold air is clear air.  The sun is shining and it looks like a beautiful day to go fishing.  Looks can be deceiving.  The high today in the valley is predicted to be 35 degrees.  This is long john weather.

Little River is flowing at 162 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.87 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 208 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:45 am is 44 degrees.

Fishing was pretty good yesterday.  I talked to several anglers who reported decent fishing.  A couple of guys are here from Alabama.  One of them had never fly fished in his life.  His friend and mentor told me he was a natural at casting, even across his body.  He only got hung up in a tree once that day.  And, he caught 3 or 4 trout.  I was impressed.  The new angler liked the sport and bought a rod and reel from us.

Other anglers reported catching trout yesterday.  I did not talk to anyone who was actually “tearing them up”.  But overall, fishermen were happy with their day.

Today will be different.  The water is colder.  Fishing will be slower.  You might have a shot at some post spawn brown trout.  The cold temperatures don’t bother them right now.  They are hungry.  Another negative today will be the bright sunshine. 

If you go, use nymphs and don’t fall in.  Stay close to your truck and an extra set of dry clothes.  If you take a spill you will need to change clothes quickly. 

We have more rain coming tomorrow night and it should last into Wednesday.  It is going to be a little warmer but not much.  The high temperature Thanksgiving Day is expected to be 37 degrees.

Wait until you see the shop.  It looks awesome.  It has never looked better.  I’m exhausted.  I have probably walked up and down the stairs 1,000 times this week and have not had a day off in 11 days.  I’m going non-stop.

The Game Changer materials came in.  Right now we are stocked well. 

This is bookkeeping day for me.  I’ll do the payroll, payroll tax deposit, enter payables and pay the bills.  Owning a fly shop is not always fun and games.

Thanksgiving is almost here.  I can’t wait.  When I was a kid, growing up on a farm in Kentucky, Thanksgiving started early in the morning with rabbit hunting.  Back then we often had snow which made the hunting even more fun.

My short beagle was named Suzie.  She loved to chase rabbits.  When she was young she could do it all day long.  When she jumped a rabbit, we just stayed put and watched Suzie.  Eventually, the rabbit would run back to the spot where it was jumped staying ahead of the hound.  At that point we had the beginnings of rabbit stew.

My shotgun was a Browning Sweet 16.  I think I bought it new for about $165.  I still have it but it has not been fired in decades.  The bluing is worn off the receiver.  I always carried it by the receiver, ready to shoulder and drop bunnies, crows, quail, squirrels and doves. 

Also, when I was a kid, Interstate 75 was under construction.  For a few years it was built in sections.  The bare ground that had been excavated was planted with winter wheat.  Thousands of doves followed that corridor between Lexington and Berea, Kentucky.  That is where we dove hunted during those years.  I don’t know how many thousand hunters lined the highway that was closed to traffic.  The Fish & Wildlife officers didn’t have a problem with us hunting on weekends.  It was off limits during the week to protect the workers.  Sometimes we found areas where workers were not present and hunted on weekdays anyway.  We never got caught.   

Our farm where we also lived was near the Interstate at Boonesborough. Farmers raised millet and soybeans.  I was always invited to dove hunt in those fields.  Later, I started raising wheat myself.  I plowed, disked, harrowed and sowed the seeds in the Spring.  A couple of weeks before dove season opened, I would cut the wheat, throwing the seed all over the ground.  This was a “normal agriculture practice” according to my farming protocol.  

After a few hunts, we baled the wheat for straw.  Sometimes I forgot to bale it but my intentions were always good and my farming was always in conflict with school. The only thing that was a higher priority than school was hunting and fishing.  Farming was further down the list.  Chasing girls became “priority one” later. Fishing dropped to two, hunting to three and school fell to four. 

Later, the Army became one, chasing girls two, fishing three and hunting dropped to four.

I became interested in fly fishing when I was eleven years old.  I had read about it, but never actually saw anyone do it.  I got a rod, reel and fly tying kit for my birthday that year.  I was immediately hooked.  I think it was more the tying of the flies and catching the bass, bluegill or trout on something I made that intrigued me.  Later in life it was more about catching trout in a stream, casting technique and living the lifestyle but still tying the flies.  Most of my close friends fly fished when I was an adult.  Most of my close friends still fly fish, some more than others. 

But still, the manufacturing of the fly is a big part of the sport for me.  Seldom, do I go through a 24 hour period without at least tying a couple of steps or a fly or two. 

Hey, we are open today.  We are always open on Sundays.  Come on by.  It’s me, Bill H and Paul on duty today. 

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

Byron Begley
November 24, 2013  

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