Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
January 21, 2010

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is cloudy and light rain is falling in Townsend, Tennessee.  Most of the larger mountains are not visible from my view.  It’s kind if a dreary day though the temperature is a warm 52 degrees.  There is a 100% chance for rain today, 70% tonight, 40% tomorrow, 70% Saturday, 80% Sunday and 50% Sunday night.  It appears the dry spell is over for a while.

Little River looked awesome this morning.  It is a little high for wading in some spots so be careful.  The flow is currently 460 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Normal for this date is 308 cfs. The water temperature is rising.  It was 46 degrees this morning in town at the swinging bridge.  The snow in the higher elevations is melting.  Mount Leconte had a 20” blanket of snow just two weeks ago.  Now they are down to 3” up there.  I doubt if anyone is there but if they were they are watching a lot of snow melt.  Newfound Gap currently has a 2” layer of snow left.  If this warm weather keeps up after the snow has melted the water temperature will raise further and it probably will.  Fishing will improve.

If I went fishing today I would be torn between using nymphs or streamers.  I’d probably go with the streamers because I know people who are using them now and catching some nice trout.  And, you might see a hatch of blue wing olives and trout rising to them.  If that happened I would definitely switch to a dry fly, no doubt about that.  Anyway, the fishing is getting better and you should try to go.  We’ll have to see what the rain does to the rivers by the weekend.  If the rain keeps up they might be flowing at a very strong rate.

We talk about weather a lot in Townsend.  People come here to enjoy Great Smoky Mountains National Park one of the wonders of the Eastern United States.  Problem is, people, or many of them don’t like to be out in the rain.  Weather is an important part of our economy as a tourist destination.  Rain, especially on weekends can make the difference between a good weekend or a slow weekend in the tourism business.  When it rains, people actually check out of motels and campgrounds and go home.  You can see it happen on the highway.  On a rainy Saturday the motor homes, travel trailers and cars are heading out of town.

Weather affects the fishing business too.  Too much water, too little water, rain and wind can keep anglers off the river.  This year the Park was closed due to snow and ice more than any I can think of in recent times. 

I wrote about the lack of rain in yesterday’s report.  One of our readers who obviously knows a lot about weather and is probably a meteorologist sent me an e-mail.  He told me we are having a dry winter because we are under the influence of a strong El Nino.  Under this El Nino which is about to peak, we should see more rainfall around the end of February or early March and overall 2010 should be a above average rainfall year.  He said, “The same El Nino that is keeping us dry now gave us so much rain this summer and fall”.  I was worried that we were going back into drought conditions.  I think he knows what he is talking about and I’m not going to worry anymore.  Thank you for contacting me sir.

There is no doubt that tourism has been slow and down for the last few months.  I was talking to Herb Handly about that this morning.  Part of the reason is the economy and I think another factor is the weather we have had.  It rained almost every weekend for the past few months or at least it seemed that way to me. And we have had a cold winter so far with numerous Park closings. 

I’m hoping for a better year in our town.  Tourism is just about our only business.  Our store is different in some ways from other businesses in Townsend.  We have a good local customer base and a mail order business.  But other businesses need people coming here and staying for a while.  That helps us too.

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

Byron Begley
January 21, 2010

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