Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  Early this morning, lightning struck near our house.  I was in the Fishing Room looking at news websites.  The house shook and one of my fly rods with a reel attached fell off the rod rack.  Heavy rain followed.  I left home just after sunrise and the temperature outside was 60 degrees.  At the river I got another surprise.  The water temperature was 54 degrees.  It was very dark and I strained to read my thermometer.  But I’m sure it was reading 54.

The river looked clear near the bank.  Out in the current it was hard to tell.  I think it was clear.  Flow is 295 cubic feet per second right now.  Median flow for this date is 194 cfs.  Little River has not risen much at all yet.

The “Head Hunters” as they are called will be on the rivers today in the Park.  Nasty weather brings them out.  These are the fishermen who go after large browns in the Smokies.  The spawn is pretty much over.  High water washed away some of the redds.  But those trout are hungry and today is the day to get off work and go. 

Actually, the normal trout fishing in the Smokies should be good today.  The conditions are perfect at least for now.  I would be dredging a nymph on the bottom.  I would also be ready for a Blue Wing Olive hatch.  Trout have been feeding on top for anglers this week.

You might find some smallmouth bass feeding in our rivers.  The water is warm enough.  The dark skies will be favorable to the angler.  I would give anything to go.  I have too much work to do.

One of the fly fishing guides who comes in here told me yesterday he saw a female rainbow trout fanning a redd.  And there were males hanging around her.  Normally, that activity happens later, in the very late winter or very early Spring.  What he saw was correct.  There are rainbow trout in the Smokies that spawn in the Fall.  The biologists told me that years ago.  Rainbows were stocked here from several locations and hatcheries decades ago.  There are strains of rainbow trout that do spawn in the Fall.  I read somewhere that Fall spawning rainbows were selected as hatchery stock for that purpose.  The fish were bred and raised to get an early brood for stocking.  I can’t verify this.  But, the biologists did tell me there are Fall spawning rainbows in the Park.  I’ve seen them and caught them.    

We are in for some rain for two days and maybe snow tomorrow night.  The temperature will drop.  The water will rise.  The forecasters have reduced the expected amount of rain we will get.  It looks like that number will be 1” to 1 ½” total from this morning until Thursday morning.  But it is raining fairly hard right now and we’ve already had .3” so far.  We’ll see what happens.  Fairly heavy snow is predicted in the higher elevations. We will probably see some white mountains Thursday morning.

I love snow in the mountains.  I like a little snow in the valley.  I used to like heavy snow in the valley.  I was cured from that last winter.  Last year was awful.  The snow and ice even made me late for work one day.  Once, neither Paula or I could drive up the steep entry off Old Cades Cove Road.  I finally decided to put an end to the snow and treacherous roads last winter.  I ordered 250 pounds of ice melt and it never snowed again.  I’ve got that ice melt just waiting for those days to come.

The Christmas orders are coming in.  Thank you all.  I’m working 10 hours a day on our website.  By Friday, Fishpond will be up to date with the new gear that is available now.  There are some items that won’t be on the market until February or March.  If I had the photography I would place them on our website now.  After Fishpond I’ll start on Orvis.  We are changing the way we display fly rods.  That change will probably take a week of hard work.  Then there are the flies.  That is going to be a killer.  We are adding a lot of new patterns this year.  The fly photography takes a lot of time.  I do enjoy it though. 

Someone was in my office a few days ago.  They looked around at the two photography studio areas.  They are full of flash units, tripods, wires, backdrops, cameras and lenses laying all over the place.  And they said, “I can tell you love photography”.  I told them that I don’t love photography.  I find it frustrating at times.  There is nothing I like about photography except for the end result.  Now that I like.  Getting there is not fun for me. 

I liken photography to mowing grass.  Does anyone really enjoy mowing grass and weed eating?  Mowing grass is the means to the end of having a nice looking yard for a few days.

Do people really enjoy washing their truck?  Not me.  Mine has not been washed this year.  And I don’t care what it looks like, obviously.  I have always had white trucks because they don’t show dirt as bad so they don’t require washing. Washing your truck allows you to drive around in a clean truck.  I understand that.  But I don’t understand how anyone could enjoy washing one.

I do enjoy working on this website though.  It keeps my mind active, maybe a little too active. 

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

Byron Begley
December 6, 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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