Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny and Spring-like in Townsend, Tennessee this morning.  The forsythia bloomed yesterday.  I noticed the numerous tall bushes painted in bright yellow as I drove to work.  This is a great time of year in the Smokies.  This is always my favorite time of year. 

Little River looked exceptional this morning.  The water is still way above normal flow.  Today the flow is 542 cubic feet per second or 2.78 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 307 cfs.  You will find the rivers strong in the Park.  One should be careful wading.  Anglers falling into the streams resulting in close calls this time of year.  You can fall in and get swept to the other side away from your vehicle.  The cold water and the energy it takes to recover from a spill can leave the angler exhausted.  Getting back to the other side may require a cold hike through tough terrain.  A bridge that is one mile away can seem a lot further than that when you are cold and trying to walk off-trail.  Be aware of this.  The water temperature in town is 45 degrees.

It is going to be warm over the next few days.  Fishing will improve.  It will probably rain this weekend which could be good for fishing if it does not rain too much.  We really needed this rain we got.  I was getting worried.  When these bugs finally hatch the water conditions should be good for you.  All we need is a sustainable water temperature over 50 degrees for a couple of days and you will see the action begin.  Jack and I were working on Troutfest yesterday afternoon.  He said “It will happen any day”. 

Our Spring gear is coming in now.  Joey, our UPS logistics guy brought in tons of boxes yesterday.  The March shipments are staggering to me.  I always get nervous. What if we have a flood and people don’t go fishing?  That is the gambling nature and the fly fishing business.  Luckily, we serve a broad region due to our mail order business.  The fishing conditions may not be good in some of our markets but it can be excellent in others.  What’s going on in East Tennessee might be completely opposite from an anglers point of view of what is happening in the Bahamas.

Some of the local guys are catching some nice fish.  I saw a picture of one 20 inch brown that was caught around Elkmont.  I saw another 18” trout.  Though the wading may be difficult when the water is this high, other opportunities occur.  The trout, especially the big guys are not as nervous.  They are more approachable.  They are less likely to tighten up and take off.  After spending 30 minutes to get into position to make your cast to a big fish, there is something very heartbreaking to see those fins stick straight out and watch the burst of power from the brown trout’s tail that propels him quickly out of your range and out of sight.  I guess that is part of the game.  It still hurts.  It’s kind of like turkey hunting.

Hey, I got the Key to the City this morning!  Actually I picked up the key to City Hall so I can let people in tonight for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fisheries Public Meeting.  I met with Sheila who is our city recorder.  She showed me where the light switches are, how to turn on the heat in the auditorium and stuff like that.  Steve Moore and Matt Kulp will give their presentation at 7:00 pm.  We will have a good turnout.

I talked to Randy Hamilton this morning.  You probably met him at Troutfest.  He invented the Copperhead and Hamilton Spoonfly, both great saltwater flies.  He lives in Charleston, South Carolina.  He works for Winston, St Croix, Scientific Anglers and other companies as a sales representative.  He was supposed to go fishing today with one of the St. Croix pro-staff people.  The wind is blowing 30 miles per hour over there.  The boat is hooked up and they are ready to go.  But, they are going to call this one.  It’s too windy.   

Jack and I got all the vendors for Troutfest organized yesterday.  He has been making phone calls, I’ve been getting calls and e-mails have been sent and received. Right now, we have about 5 booth spaces available and everyone who was on the waiting list is taken care of. We also met Herb Handly at the Visitors Center.  We needed his permission to remove a stretch of barbed wire fence and replace it with a 10’ metal gate.  This will be the entrance to Troutfest.  Also, Joe Hatton is going to bury a box in the middle of the field and run underground power to it. Herb said everything looked fine to him and they can use those improvements for other festivals.

Sarah Weeks and I are going to send out marketing materials to stores in 9 states today.  I hope we can get it all done and checked off our list.


Park Service fisheries management is holding a public meeting in Townsend on Thursday March 3rd at 7:00 pm.  The meeting will be held at City Hall in the Old Townsend School Auditorium.  CLICK HERE FOR A PDF WITH MORE INFORMATION. 

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

Byron Begley
March 3, 2011

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Volunteer for Troutfest


Our fly fishing classes will be offered from March to October 2011.   To sign up just call the shop at 877-448-3474.  You can read more on our website in the Schools Section.  The fly fishing class schedule follows:

Saturday March 26 – Beginner Day One
Saturday April 9 – Beginner Day One
Saturday April 30 – Beginner Day One
Sunday May 1 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday May 7 – Beginner Day One
Saturday May 21 – Beginner Day One
Sunday May 22 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday June 11 – Beginner Day One
Saturday June 25 – Beginner Day One
Sunday June 26 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday July 9 – Beginner Day One
Saturday July 23 – Beginner Day One
Sunday July 24 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday September 10 – Beginner Day One
Saturday September 24 – Beginner Day One
Sunday September 25 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday October 8 – Beginner Day One
Saturday October 22 – Beginner Day One
Sunday October 23 – Beginner Onstream Day Two

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