Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It was foggy early but that burned off quickly.  Strong thunderstorms moved into our area last night.  I woke up at one point to the sound of hail hitting our roof.  Rainfall at the shop amounted to 1.10”.  The airport reported .80”, which was a record for yesterdays date.

Little River is flowing much stronger than we have seen in days.  Right now the flow is 335 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 333 cfs.  The water color in town is turbid, not muddy just off color.  Though I don’t know for sure, I suspect the Park streams are much clearer.  The water is still rising.  The water temperature at the swinging bridge was 53 degrees.

Debris covered some of the streets in town, only those that are bordered by trees.  We had some strong wind last night.  Expect more rain starting tomorrow and continuing through Saturday.  The high temperature today and tomorrow will be in the low 70’s.  On Saturday and Sunday it will cool off some with highs in the 50’s.  Lows at night will be in the 40’s and 50’s through Friday night then cool off to the 30’s Saturday and Sunday.

Fishing should still be excellent or close to it.  The water temperature is warm and it is going to get warmer.  The water level right now is normal. Quill Gordons and Blue Quill dry flies will work great.  If you don’t have those, use an Adams or Parachute Adams.  I would use a #10, #12, #14 or maybe a #16 in a grey colored fly and you will be matching something on the water.  These trout may not be that particular or maybe they will.

If you find turbid water in the Smokies you might try a streamer or large nymph.  This has been the year of the brown trout here for some reason.  Lots of browns in the 12” to 16” range have been caught.  And a higher than usual number of browns in the 22” to 26” range have been caught too.  I’ve heard of one over 30” caught.  That was Jack who caught that one of course.  I really think one reason these larger trout are being caught is because Jack is sharing information now, more than he used to.  It’s the same people catching these big trout.  I’m sure there are other people scattered around the Smokies who figured out how to catch them on their own or were shown by someone else.

I talked to two boat dealers yesterday.  They both reported excellent business this Spring.  Spring did come early this year.  Or to be more specific, Winter never happened in the South.  I’m helping a friend buy a boat.  He ordered it yesterday. 

There seems to be no doubt that the outdoor activity sector of the economy is growing right along with the overall economy.  Durable goods sales dropped off at the end of the year as expected.  The tax credit expired and manufacturing had already upgraded and added new equipment in anticipation that the credit would not be extended.

But, the economy is expected to grow this quarter by over 2.5%.  Last quarter the economy grew by 2.8%.  Most economists agree that the growth this year will be around 2.3%.  The big unknown is fuel prices. Investors are paying high prices for futures.

Manufacturing jobs grew by 13% last year.  There is optimism in the tourism industry this year, which is very important to Tennessee. 

I met with a campground owner yesterday.  Don and his wife Carolyn own Mountaineer Campground. What nice people and what a beautiful campground. And the day before that, I met with a soon to be campground owner.  He is building a new campground.  Since he will be bringing a site plan before the planning commission, he wanted me to take a look at the property.  The size of the property is about 3 acres and it’s located on the river.  I walked down to the river through the dense brush.  I found some beautiful water that I have never fished.  I looked upstream and down and tried to determine who owned the properties. 

I walked out of there convinced I have found a new place to fish.  Being on the planning commission has its advantages.  I get to walk around property that borders the river while on official business.  And, being a local, getting permission to walk across property to get to the river to fish is easy.  In a town this size we all know each other.

I still respect property owners rights.  I would not trespass without permission.  In fact, I parked my truck at the Mountaineer Campground yesterday to look at the property next door.  I walked into the office and asked Don if it was OK to park my truck on his property.  He said it was fine and he also told me he doesn’t mind fishermen walking through his property even if they are not camping there.  That is a prudent, team-playing attitude to have around here.  Fishermen camp, stay in motels and cabins and eat in Townsend.  Fishermen are part of our economy.  Most of us work together as a team to make sure our visitors have a pleasant experience whether they are fishermen or not. 

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

Byron Begley
March 1, 2012

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