Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and East Tennnessee.

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is 27 degrees this morning in Townsend and colder than that  in the Great Smoky Mountains.  The sky appears to be clear but it is early and hard to tell for sure.  I stopped on our private road this morning to check out a new calf that was born in our neighbor’s herd.  Calves and foals were part of my best memories growing up.  Those newborns are amazing.  They are up on the feet almost immediately after birth.  Canada geese were honking at me on the river.  Sometimes they feel threatened when I’m there taking the water temperature and they let that be know vocally. 

Flow in Little River is actually below normal for a change.  Flow right now is 284 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 290 cfs.  The water temperature was 41 degrees, ten degrees colder than a morning reading I took a few days ago.  Winter has returned to East Tennessee.  There is rain and snow in the forecast.  We might get an inch of snow tonight.  Tomorrow night and Sunday night expect lows in the teens.  Highs will be in the high 30’s to low 40’s this weekend. 

Fishing should slow down even more after today.  The water temperature in the streams will dip into the 30’s.  I wouldn’t plan a fishing trip here this weekend unless you just have to get away.  I would visit the Smokies for other reasons.  Actually, I would stay home.  I never go anywhere that does not involve fishing. 

If you do go fishing in the Park, use nymphs and get them down deep.  Get a good drift.  Make sure your flies are bumping along the bottom and not dragging faster due to the surface current.  Your fly line on the water can cause that.  That is why some seasoned Smoky Mountain anglers use mono on their fly reels for nymph fishing.  The leader material cuts through the water.  Since the speed of the current is faster on the surface, with mono you are less likely to have your fly moving too fast and un-natural.  Some anglers I know can cast well with mono, split shot and weighted nymphs.  They catch a lot of trout when the water is cold and they fish are hunkered down.  The trout will be pretty much hunkered down this weekend.

Tomorrow will be a fun and informative day at the shop.  Mike Bone and Gary McCown will be tying for you.  They will demonstrate between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. Check out our Event Schedule of Events.

Stan and I talked about boating safety yesterday.  Another friend of mine just bought a new boat and we talked about the same subject too.

I have been on boats since I was about 3 years old.  My parents had a cruiser first then a houseboat later.  I had my own motorized boat when I was about 8 years old.  I grew up watching awful things happen on the water.  I have watched two peole drown. I actually saw the driver of a boat and his friend thrown from a fast moving boat.  We called them speed boats in the 1950’s.  A boat with no captain almost always turns and runs in circles.  The boat can run over one or more of the people who accidentally ejected.  This boat did just that.  My mother and I were sitting on the front deck of the house boat.  She was reading and I was fishing. Luckily, the man who was hit by the boat survived.  His head was cut but he could swim.  He swam to our houseboat and my mother pulled him on board.  That incident struck a nerve with me. 

I always attach my kill switch to me when we are under way.  If I am ejected, the motor will shut down.  A man died last year on a lake in Kentucky.  His wife was driving the boat.  Evidently she didn’t know that you should always veer to the right when approaching a boat that is moving toward you.  There was a mixup and the two boats collided.  She and her husband were thrown from the boat.  As expected, the craft started running in circles.  The boat ran over her husband and he drowned.  It happens a lot.  Hook your kill switch to your body or life jacket when under way.

Paula and I always wear our Mustang Survival self inflating life preservers when we are running fast in the boat.  (Our boat does not really run very fast) These things cost about $300 each.  I think they are the best money I ever spent.  You hardly know you are wearing them.  If you fall in and knock yourself out, they inflate and you live.

Many anglers die when they slip on the dock trying to get into their boat.  They hit their head, slip into the water and drown.  You should also wear your self inflating vest on the dock or at least when you are loading the boat.  I don’t always do that but sometimes I do.

Male anglers drown relieving themselves on the boat over the side, bow or stern.  In that awkward position they slip, hit their head and you know the rest of the story.  I hope my friend who just bought a boat is reading this.  I wrote it with him in mind.

We held our monthly Townsend Planning Commission meeting last night.  We spent most of the night talking about sidewalks, crosswalks, transportation safety, NEVs (Neighborhood Electric Vehicles), speed limits, and walk-ability in our town.  We are just kicking around ideas and I would like to hold a public meeting on the subject since there are varying views of what could be done. 

To allow NEV’s, the low speed models would require a change in the speed limit from 45 mph to 35 mph.  That is Tennessee State law.  To allow medium speed electric vehicles we would have to lower the speed limit to 40 miles per hour if they travel on our main highway through town.  NEV’s can cross highways with a higher than legal speed but they can drive with the traffic on the street.  Medium speed NEV’s must be able to travel at 30 miles per hour but not over 35 miles per hour.  These vehicles are hard to find.  Easy Go makes some nice low speed NEVs. 

Having the ability for visitors to rent NEVs or bring their own would be a bonus for tourism.  That could be a startup opportunity for a new small industry here.  We would need a rental agency and service center.  The rentals could be scattered out all over town.  You could rent them at motels, lodges and campgrounds.  One company would probably handle everything but the actual rental could occur at the hospitality business and they would get a cut. 

Campers in motor homes could tow their NEV on a small trailer.  It seems to me that would be easier than towing a full size automobile.  Tent campers could bring their NEVs.  They are legal in the Park no matter what the speed limit is.  That is federal property.  I called headquarters and asked.  The answer is yes.  They view them more like a bicycle.  The Park is not subject to Tennessee law.  Anyway, it is interesting discussion.  Our meeting last night was a lot of fun.

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

Byron Begley
February 10, 2012


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