Townsend, Tennessee
July 27, 2009

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is hazy and warm in Townsend, 70 degrees at 8:30 am.  It was a busy weekend in town and at the shop.  I guess there are a lot of last minute vacationers trying to get one in before school starts.  There were quite a few fly fishermen in town too.  The river is low and warm.  The temperature at the swinging bridge was 69 degrees again this morning.  It will warm up more than that today and tomorrow.  Then a cold front will move in bringing us high temperatures in the 70’s on Wednesday and Thursday.  We should get some rain too.

It rained a little last night but not enough to record it in the rain gauge.  The big band of rain that was bearing down on us yesterday morning fizzled out.  But it was overcast and fishing was pretty good yesterday.  One angler told me it was slow for him in the morning and picked up mid-day.  And, Walter said one our his beginner students caught two trout and another missed a few.  So fishing wasn’t bad.

Today and tomorrow I would hike up to some higher elevation streams.  Or I would drive up 441 and fish Walker Camp Prong and some of the tributaries.  The water will be much cooler up there.  If you fish the Middle Prong of Little River I would drive up high and maybe venture up Thunderhead Prong.

Trout are used to eating terrestrials during the day and Yellow Sally Stoneflies, caddis and light colored mayflies in the evening.  I would use a Yellow Sally pattern of some sort late and until dark.

The tailwaters in East Tennessee are fishing very well.  Ted Myers spent a couple of days on Watauga and the South Holston.  He had a great time. 

We are getting ready for a transformation of visitors to the Park in a few days.  When school starts back the crowds will thin out, weekdays will be quiet and the people who do visit here will be either local or older than the young families we have during the summer.  Business will slow down for most retailers and restaurants except for the weekends.  Our business should pick up.

In October there will be more older visitors.  They will be people in my age group and even more mature than me.  The nights will be cool, the leaves will start turning and for a while our economy here will be active.  After the first week of November it will slow down again.  Except for this year, tourism is very predictable.

The change I enjoy most is the forest, streams and temperature.  Fall is a good time to be in the Smokies.  Brown and brook trout spawn or at least begin the process.  Nights are cool and the colors in the forest are magnificent.

Campers love the Fall.  Camping is a very popular activity here.  Some day I’ll count the campsites in town, at Elkmont and Cades Cove.  There are a lot of them and Elkmont has been full on weekends recently though the trend in camping is down 20% in the Park during the last 10 years.  Camping, like fishing and hunting is losing it’s participation.  More Americans today prefer air conditioning and private showers.  Kids are too busy during the summer with swimming, soccer, baseball and competitive sports.  I never understood the thrill of competitive sports.   

When I was a kid, summers were busy with fishing and camping.  I can’t remember a family vacation that didn’t involve fishing and I was the only member of our family who really loved to fish.  Somehow my parents worked fishing into my daily routine when we were on vacation.  My Mother, Father and Sister didn’t mind fishing.  They didn’t hate it at all.  But I loved it.  I wanted to fish every hour of the day.

One summer we all flew to Nassau, Bahamas.  This was in 1961.  We didn’t have many if any jets back then.  We flew the whole way in several prop airplanes.  Nassau was not the tourist destination it later became.  I didn’t fly fish then, I started that the next year.  My Father chartered a boat and we went fishing.  I’ll never forget this trip.  I caught a good size barracuda.  And I had my picture taken and it appeared in the Nassau newspaper.  There I was with this frozen fish laying on one of those tables with an umbrella sticking out of the top.  The headlines were “10 year old catches barracuda”.  I have the newspaper clipping somewhere.  But that barracuda is mounted and hanging over the TMC hooks in the shop.  So I see it every day.  That mount is 48 years old.  Check it out next time you are here.

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

Byron Begley
July 27, 2009 (Paula’s birthday)


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