Townsend, Tennessee
July 28, 2009

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  Right now it is sunny and warm.  Townsend is quiet.  There is hardly any traffic on the streets.  This is the calm before the storm.  According to the National Weather Service we can expect storms late this afternoon, tonight and tomorrow.  They say, “These storms will likely contain torrential rains which may cause localized flash flooding”.  Wow, we could use some rain but this might be overkill.  It is going to cool off too and the rain will hang around the rest of the week.

Little River is low.  July rainfall is a little below normal but we have not had much the past few days.  It looks like the month will end very wet and above normal if the guys and gals in Morristown are right. 

Fishing may be difficult over the next few days.  Overall this rainfall and cooler temperatures will be good for fishing but we have a 60% chance for heavy rain today, 90% chance for heavy rain tonight and 80% chance for thunderstorms tomorrow.  Then the chance for rain drops to 40% to 50% through Saturday.  If you are planning a fishing trip here this weekend keep checking this report.

I stopped as usual at the closest swinging bridge to take the water temperature this morning.  I stood and watched the slow moving water.  This is about as low as we have seen Little River this year.  It is still beautiful and relaxing to watch.  Living in a town that has a river running through it is a completely different life than living in a town without one. 

Rivers change every day and being aware of that causes a person to take notice.  Little River can be a slow moving trickle or a raging wall of water.  It can be a place where a child can float down in a tube or swing out on a rope and fall in.  Or it can be dangerous to be near. 

One requirement in a town with a river is bridges.  We have plenty of small bridges.  Two are suspended swinging pedestrian bridges.  They were built since I have lived here by the County using grant money.  We have a few older concrete bridges most of which are two lane for vehicles.  We have a new one under construction at the other end of town which will replace the old one lane Wilson Bridge.  The Wilson Bridge will become a covered pedestrian structure at the entrance to Townsend from Maryville.  The cover will be of timber frame construction and it will cost about $200,000 to make the conversion.  It will be yet another great addition to our town.

Think about all the bridges in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  I have no idea how many there are.  I have stood on many of them and gazed into the river or stream below.  Of course, I’m always looking for trout.  Many of the bridges in the Park are pedestrian only.  I know of one metal bridge that crosses Little River above Elkmont.  It replaced a wooden bridge that spanned the river near Fish Camp Prong.  I found the huge metal structure one day just sitting there near where it was eventually installed.  I wondered how they got this thing in there.  I finally heard a helicopter brought it in.

Over 20 years ago some friends and I met and camped on the property where we now live.  Our mission was to build a foot bridge across the spring creek.  I didn’t live there then, the property was used by us for camping only.  We cut some sycamore trees for the two logs that would span the creek.  It was located over a deep hole that always held a population of rainbow trout.  By the end of the weekend we had our bridge finished. 

One day I was in Townsend by myself.  I stopped at Pat’s Grocery and picked up a sandwich, drove to the creek and sat on the bridge to eat lunch.  A piece of tomato fell out of my sandwich and into the water.  I watched as the long “worm looking” piece of vegetable bounced along the bottom of the creek.  All of a sudden a big rainbow trout came out of nowhere and gulped down that piece of tomato.  I couldn’t believe it.  Well, I guess if they will eat corn they will eat a tomato.

I was talking to one of the local guys about the bridge.  He asked me what logs we used to span the creek.  I told him we used sycamore.  “They won’t last” he told me, “They’ll rot”.  He was right.  The bridge lasted about five years.  I finally had to cut it into pieces with a chain saw.  It was obviously a hazard.  I do have an oil painting of the bridge hanging in our house.  It was fun while it lasted.

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

Byron Begley
July 28, 2009

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