Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is a beautiful morning in Townsend.  I probably did not see more than 4 or 5 vehicles on the road during my commute.  The traffic is similar to what I see on a winter day during the week.  It is early though.  I’m sure activity will pick up.  The clouds are parting in areas allowing the sun to shine through on the horizon.  This morning, what I’m seeing is, “The Peaceful Side of the Smokies”.  One guy told me yesterday, “You could almost walk across the river by stepping on tubers”. So, there are people here at least during the afternoons trying to cool off.

Little River looks great.  Flow is above normal but not too high at 167 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 105 cfs.  We have rain in the forecast today and tonight.  The Weather Service says, “Thunderstorms Likely”.  It is going to be hot too and the heat shows no signs of going away anytime soon.

Fishing is good.  I heard that often yesterday from several customers.  Others did not do so well.  The most productive fly is certainly the Green Weenie.  I hate to look but I suspect we are out of them.  Brian, who ties them for us will be busy this week.  He usually ties 8 dozen per week.  I think we’ll need more than that for next week. 

Dry flies are working well too.  I would go with ants, beetles or Yellow Sally stonefly imitations. 

I would choose a stream in the backcountry that is smaller and shaded.  My choice would be to hike above Elkmont.

Our river took another life yesterday.  Sadly, a 17 year old girl from Florida slipped into the East Prong and plunged over the falls at the Sinks.  She was trapped in the rocks below for 3 hours.  Bystanders formed a human chain and tried to dislodge her from the rocks to no avail.  Our own Townsend Swift Water Rescue Team finally brought her to the surface early last night.  What a tragedy.  She was the second person to drown in Little River in the past three weeks.

Some people don’t realize how dangerous rivers are.  I know exactly where this young girl tried to wade across the stream.  I’ve thought about doing it there several times.  But, I knew, if I fell in it would be all over.  And we all know that you can fall in, even in shallow water.  I have watched two people drown and know several others who have.  That scares me to death.

Everyone in our boat wears a Mustang Survival inflatable vest when we are under power.  If you fall in and the vest sensor feels the pressure created by 4” of water, it inflates into a full life preserver.  These things cost $285.  And if you inflate one it costs $75 for the re-arming kit.  We have two throwable life preservers on board and another regular life jacket for each passenger.  When we’re running fast I have the kill switch cord attached to me.  If I fall overboard, the motor dies.  We have strobe lights, a marine radio and a first aid kit.  There is a fire extinguisher on board.  We have it all.

I hope someday the Coast Guard or TWRA will check me for safety equipment.  I know that I exceed all regulations.  Why?  Bad things can happen on boats and I have seen it all.  I grew up on the Kentucky River and almost every imaginable circumstance that can occur on a vessel, I have seen with my own eyes. 

But, if you pay close attention to safety, boating can be very enjoyable and very safe.  I guess I’m saying all of this because Paula and a bunch of our friends are kayaking on the Hiwassee River today and it is on my mind. 

A customer told me the other day that fisherman drown most often while doing two things.  First, they are on the dock getting into their boat.  They fall, hit their head and drown.  Second, the angler (usually a male) is taking a leak.  So, the lesson to be learned here is: Wear a life jacket even when on the dock and also when taking a leak from the boat.  I think that is good advice and I will close with those words that might save someone’s life.

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

Byron Begley
July 31, 2011  

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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 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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