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Saturday, February 8, 2014

THOUGHTS OF FISHING WITH FLIES & A GREAT OUTFITTER STORE

I've had fly fishing on my mind ever since that day on the tailrace when I couldn't identify those flies floating down to the hungry trout.
It was recommended to me to send a note off to a premier fly fishing store over west of here in Townsend, just outside the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and on the Little River.  There's a lot of information in that one sentence.  I sent the email with photographic attachments (images) of the flies that I encountered that day on the Cherokee tailrace to The Little River Outfitters.  To my surprise, I received a reply the very next day with an identification of the bug in question.  Also, an invitation was extended to me to visit the store on the eighth, today, to talk to a gentleman who would be tying representations of the very fly in question.  Today is a day off for me so I headed toward Townsend with my fearless companion and defender Shade on the seat beside me.
It's interesting to watch the change from flatter land where people are stuffing themselves side by side into the rustic countryside in their quest to become country folk.  They are processed along tree lined country roads that extend back into rural East Tennessee in their efforts to escape the miles of asphalt and the city ways but, in reality they escape nothing and only extend their citified misery beyond the borders of insanity and bring it here, like a plague, to the country.
Wow - another sentence that says a lot.
Folks here in Tennessee don't seem to see the writing that is plainly written on the chalkboard of life for some reason.  Maybe a person has to be from someplace else to be able to feel negative vibrations that are emitted from the hills and rivers.  The good vibes far outweigh the negative ones but, the not so good vibes are becoming more and more of an irritant as time passes.
I don't know how I got off onto that subject but I did.  Just think about East Tennessee a second.  The Little Tennessee River has no less than 8 hydroelectric dams that control it's flow and all the ecology in that region.  Why is that?  Santeelah, Acoe, Cheoah, Calderwood, Chilhowee, Tellico, Ft. Loudon, Melton Hill, Watts Bar Dams.  Humm - that's nine.  I must have one of them messed up.  I think it's Tellico Dam.  It does not produce electric.  It produces nothing but money from wealthy real estate sales companies.  Point is - all these dams are on one river.  Then ya move over east to where I live and the dams start again.  Douglas Dam on the French Broad, Cherokee, John Sevier, Patrick Henery,  Holston River Dam,. Wataga Dams all on the Holston River.   Look at Pennsylvania.  Lets see.  No, can't think of one.  How bout Maryland?  Savage River dam and Deep Creek dam.  No, they're just water supplies.  Why Tennessee I wonder.  How bout TVA?  How bout Alcoa?  How bout the Federal Government?  I won't get into history but if you don't understand what happened here in Tennessee with the result of the ruination of its water resources - you need to do some internet research about it.  Start with The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the Little Tennessee River  and see the horrific methods used to take property away from the citizens who have owned it since time immoral.  Little tip - the two words Federal government are key to the ruination of the waterways throughout this state and their methods continue today as applied to the good of common man.  Anyway - enough of that for now.
I have a habit of getting off subject and rambling on about some unrelated issue.  But then, dams are a related issue where they pertain to fishing.  The turkeys were viewed down next to the Little River that flows through Townsend alongside Route 321. Couldn't pass them up.
Little River Outfitters sits just outside of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park along route 321 in Townsend, Tennessee.  I've been in many fly fishing stores in my life and this one rates right up there with the finest anywhere.  I want to put their information on this entry now as I don't want to forget.  

Little River Outfitters
106 Town square Drive
P.O. Box 505
Townsend, Tennessee 37882
(865) 448-9459
http://littleriveroutfitters.com/

I know this entry will sound like a commercial from here to the end but that's the way it is.  I believe in voicing a positive opinion as loud as I can when I find a business that excels or exceeds my expectations when I deal with it.  Let me explain a bit about my experience at their store.  I won't use names as I didn't get permission to do so from anyone.  
I was greeted instantly when I walked in the door by a very knowledgeable staff member.  We said the usual hello's and I guess we hit it off a little bit and carried a nice conversation about fly fishing.  The point of this is that he didn't have to do that.  I didn't get any "give me a yell if you need help".  He showed me the store and when I told him my fly fishing background and how long I'd been away from the sport, he started to show me how the equipment had changed over the years.  I was shocked to tell the truth about it.  I noticed a gentleman conducting a fly tying class and looked in on  it.
 The gentleman who was tying the fishing flies was very, very skilled and informed. I would have liked to sit and talk with him but as you can see he was busy.  I didn't take a lot of photos of his operation because I have a little bit of a defect in my photographic ability.  I know it's hard to believe :)     I have a problem getting into people's face with a camera.  Just do.  Therefore any human shots are sort of on the sly, if you follow me.  Below is another "on the sly" shot of the fly-tying.
You will notice date stamps on the photos.  That is an error I wasn't aware of when I took the shots.  I somehow adjusted the camera to imprint that data,  "somehow".  I've since corrected that.  I hate date stamped shots but, there was nothing to be done about it at this point.

The shots above are only a small sample of the selection of fishing flies available for purchase.  They are all representative of the bugs, nymphs, terrestrials and mayflies found on the local rivers and streams.  The quality is outstanding.  Speaking of quality - there is no substandard product in or near this store.  Everything is top shelf gear and all necessary gear pertinent to fly fishing is available here on site.  What a refreshing experience to be inside this store.  I guess the excitement is fueled by the passion that is being rejuvenated in the sport.  And, guess what.  The store employee that greeted me when I first walked through the door is still with me.  It's enlightening and wonderful!



I can give you a short photographic tour of the store here.  I noticed that the price of the completed, hand tied fishing fly has not increased all that much since the early nineties.  It's gone up in price maybe $.20 or slightly more.  Not bad.  It's stuff ya gotta have.  By the way, the term "stuff" refers to highly technical, top quality fly fishing gear necessary for the full enjoyment of the sport and total satisfaction while engaged in the fly fishing experience.  Lots of stuff = lots of fun.
 The items below are tools used for fly tying.  There are tiny, high quality scissors, bobbins for thread, knot tying devices and more.  Necessary stuff.
 The wall below is covered with spools of thread.  The colors are unending.  Thread is available by color and also by size, texture and material.  Silk thread is still available with rayon probably good enough.  Can't make flies without this stuff.
 This wall is covered with various colored yarn that will be used to create the bodies of "some" flies.  Yes - more very necessary stuff.
Packets of colored deer hair cover this peg board.  Deer hair flies are common and easy to tie.  Fly tying can be kept very simple with basic patterns or one can take an artistic approach and create identical patterns of the desired natural fly.  But, it takes more stuff to do that.
 And one of the most important components of fly creation is the dubbing that is used to create the body of the fly in color, texture, size and to some extent, realism.  It isn't necessary to create a replica of the real fly.  It is necessary to create a replication of that real fly.  It's a long story.
I am fortunate to already have most all the stuff I need for fly tying and only need to purchase a few of the items that became ruined over the course of 13 years of non use.   feathers and bird skins.  My biggest outlay of cash will be for waders.  Then I'll have all the stuff I need.
I'll give you one more photo of colored deer hair below:
So, what's this all about?  Why all the glitter stuff that is required to create a replication of a fly?  To truly understand that, one needs to understand the reaction of not only trout but, species of trout to their habitat and insects that are their staff of live.  Believe me - you don't want me to get into that subject.  I'll lose all my readers to boredom I fear.    

In summary, I want everyone who holds fly fishing high on their passion list to give Little River Outfitters a shot at fulfilling their fly fishing needs whether you're in Tennessee or wherever.  They ship anywhere.  I guarantee you won't be disappointed. 

I know that I've made the decision to jump back into fly fishing as soon as possible.  I've decided what waders to buy and what additional materials I'll require to tie some new flies with.  The folks at the store recommended some great mountain streams in Tennessee and also some streams in neighboring North Carolina and all are reachable by motorcycle.  I'm getting excited.  The above and below shots are of a section of Little River that flows through Townsend, TN.  Shade is just an added attraction.
 The river's running pretty full today due to snow melt I guess.  Remember, this river flows out of the Smoky Mountains and those mountains are covered with snow right now.  I didn't get a picture of them today.  Darn!!
I'm worked up.  I've got the tailrace of Cherokee Dam right down the road to fish on through the week and I can go to the mountains to fish for native brook and brown trout  on the motorcycle when the weather warms.  The bike will keep the cost down and make everything doable.  Is Doable a word?

And that's it for this entry.  A nice day was had and the Little River Outfitters store was the whipped cream on top the milkshake.  Hope you enjoyed the entry.