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 overcast and 25 degrees in Townsend, Tennessee this morning.  Traffic was fairly heavy on the morning commute.  By that I mean I may have seen 50 vehicles on my way to work.  I did notice one of the motels had a lot of cars in their parking lot.  This is usually a busy week in our resort community due to the holiday.  People love to spend Thanksgiving here.

Little River is flowing at 139 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.79 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 194 cfs.  The water temperature is 38.5 degrees.

Fly fishing in the Smokies is slowing down. I talked to anglers yesterday and they are not doing well.  Walter Babb told me 20 years ago, “When the water temperature reaches 40 degrees or less, the trout stop eating”.  I have always found him to be correct.

There are exceptions.  The brown trout that spawned this Fall are hungry.  If you put a nymph right in front of a rainbow it might eat when the water is cold.  Brookies don’t seem to mind the cold water as much as other species.  And, the stocked trout in the rivers outside the Park are more tolerant to the cold water.

But, overall, cold water slows down the trout’s metabolism and they need less food to survive.  Without that trick, they would probably not survive during the cold months.

I was paying bills yesterday and noticed some fly invoices.  I saw a lot of egg patterns.  Eggs work well when it is cold.  I also saw Quasimodo Pheasant Tail nymphs.  This is becoming one of fisherman’s favorite patterns in the Smokies.  You can see a photo of one on the left in that Online Fly Store ad.  I think the copper bead is the key to its success. 

You may be visiting the Smokies this week.  Unless we have very high water you should go fishing.  Use nymphs.  In fact, use two about 16” apart.  You will double your chances.  There is no doubt we will have some significant rain and that could be good for fishing if it is not overdone. 

We may get a lot of rain tonight through Wednesday.  That may turn to snow, especially in the high elevations.  There is even a chance for localized flooding according to the National Weather Service.  Thanksgiving day will be sunny and cold with a high of 36 degrees expected.  The low temperature Wednesday night is predicted to be in the teens.  I guess Winter is here.

Personally, I can’t think of a better place than here to be when it is cold and snowing. 

Mountains surround our valley and though we may not have snow down here, when we have it in the mountains it is beautiful.  Being surrounded by snow covered mountains is a comforting feeling.  It is a sight to behold.  Snow brings visitors.  Visitors love snow covered mountains.  So do I.  I just hate driving in the stuff.

We are about finished with the big store remodel.  This has been a huge project for all of us.  We did most of the work ourselves.  Bill Hey did all the complicated work.  He is a craftsman.  Daniel did a lot of the organizing.  I made the original drawings and designed the signage.  Our store has never looked better, not in the 19 years we have been in business.

Saturday will be fun.  Bill Boyd Sr. and Bill Boyd Jr. will be conducting a free Fly Tying demonstration between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.  This father and son team are very talented and fun to be around.  They are a traveling fly tying show.  Bill and Bill are well known fly tying demonstrators, tying at shows, Troutfest, conclaves and every year, they tie here.  All you have to do is show up.  I’m sure we’ll have a good crowd.

I am planning to do some free fly tying demonstrations myself this Winter.  Mine will be on Sunday afternoons.  So far, I’m planning on doing a demonstration on Knuckleheads one day and Game Changers on another.  I’ll keep you up to date on that. 

Our fly tying classes are something you should take a look at.  We have three, beginner, intermediate and advanced.  You will be tying trout patterns.  The classes are taught by Walter Babb and Brian Courtney.  You can read more by CLICKING HERE.

Do you know what our best selling gift item is during the holidays?  Gift Cards.  Gift cards make the perfect gift.  They are also easy to buy and redeem.  You can do either by phone, online or in person at the shop.  They never expire and you can use them for incremental purchases, over and over until the balance is gone.  CLICK HERE to buy them online or call the store at 865-448-9459.

I vaguely remember the days before digital processing of gift certificates.  We always had a gift certificate system in our point of sale computer but the electronic card makes it easier for you because the card looks like a credit card and you can stick it in your billfold.  It’s like cash.  The record keeping is done in our computer system and also at a gift card company in Brentwood, Tennessee.  Our systems back each other up.

Yesterday I wrote about my childhood and my tradition of going rabbit hunting on Thanksgiving day.  Obviously, I am thinking about it again.  It occurred to me, that I have not talked to a rabbit hunter in years.  Does anyone hunt rabbits these days?

Hunting is much different now than it was when I was young and a frequent participant.  First, we have a lot more game to hunt now.  I guess that is because there are less hunters, at least for small game.  I do talk to a lot of deer and turkey hunters.  I run into some upland bird hunters.  I know shooting is still a big sport. 

Rabbit hunting with beagle hounds seems to have vanished from my radar.  Some of my favorite memories are of rabbit hunting with beagles.   

The bald eagles are back in town.  I saw the pair of them sitting in two trees this weekend at the Townsend Shopping Center.  Jerry and I watched them for a few minutes, then they flew off.  They have probably been fishing here all Summer.  Now that the leaves are gone, the birds are easier to see.  It was good to see both of them again.  I will probably be talking about them all Winter.  I bet they do some rabbit hunting.

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

Byron Begley
November 25, 2013

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