Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report. I’m off today and at home.  It is overcast and 43 degrees this morning. 

Get ready for some incredible fishing this week.  Starting today, and every day for the next few days, we are going to have high temperatures in the 60’s maybe even in the 70’s on Wednesday.  Lows at night will be between 39 and 49 degrees.  You know what that means?  The water temperature is going to soar into the trout’s preferred range in the Smoky Mountains.  We will get some warm rain too, probably on Tuesday night and Wednesday.

You are going to see hatches of Quill Gordons and Blue Quills.  You will see other aquatic insects on the water.  And like we have had recently, trout will be rising and taking those insects, with vigor. 

Today may be a little slow, especially at first.  But, as the water warms the fishing will get better.  In a day or so the fishing will be excellent in the lower elevations of the Smoky Mountains.

We should see the smallmouth bass fishing pick up this week in the rivers that drain the National Park.  Today, I’m getting our boat ready for Spring smallmouth fishing.  The time changes on March 11th.  That will give me time to fish Little River for smallies after work.  I am “pumped” about all of this.

Move your cursor over the slide show and it will stop. Remove your cursor from the slide and the show will continue.

During the 1960’s when most of t
he people who are my age and grew up here, they had a special place to go.  There was a youth camp at this place.  People launched their canoes and fished for bass and bluegill.  There were some huge bass in that lake.  And you can see from the slideshow above it was a lake, surrounded by forest and shadowed by the Great Smoky Mountains.  It was called Laurel Lake.  The lake and property was owned by the City of Townsend and it was the pride of the people who lived in this area.

When I bought property here in the 1980’s the lake was still there.  It was the most beautiful place I had ever seen and it was located a few hundred yards from my newly acquired property where I hoped to build a home some day.  I lived in Nashville at the time.

Twenty years ago the State of Tennessee deemed the dam unsafe.  It would need repairs.  The City of Townsend did not have the money to make the repairs.  Eventually the lake was drained and conveyed to the County.  When the lake disappeared, that was a sad time for everyone here.  The 100+ acres including the 50 acre lake bed have been abandoned for 20 years. 

A group of local citizens and leaders in our County formed a group last year to see if the lake could be re-built.  The property around the lake would be a County Park with hiking trails.  It seemed like a long shot but the passion and interest to do this was evident, everyone wants to see it happen.  The group asked me to be Chairman, which I eagerly said yes to.  I have a passion for this project, we all do. 

I appointed a Concept Plan Committee.  It is made up of two engineers, a County Commissioner, a Townsend City Commissioner, our former VP of the Visitors Bureau, and an owner of the golf course adjacent to the lake property.  A large engineering firm, I think the largest in Tennessee offered to create a concept plan at no cost.  We have seen one draft of the plan and the final plan will be finished soon.  We are waiting  to see what happens before we move forward with it.

Within a few days something big is going to happen.  I am excited and I am nervous.  I’m not talking to the press or television stations yet. I’m not saying anything else.  But, look at this beautiful lake.  Wouldn’t that be a nice addition to this area?  Soon we will know, is it doable or will it just not happen?  I tend to think positive.

Most of the photographs you see above were taken by Dean Stone.  They are his and he is letting us use them to promote this project.  Thanks Dean.

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

Byron Begley
February 27, 2012  

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