Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is extremely foggy and 57 degrees this morning in Townsend.  This stuff is thick.  Traffic was very light on my way to work.  Maybe I just didn’t see the cars.  Today and tomorrow will be sunny and warm.  Then we’ll cool off this weekend and rain is expected. 

Fishing in the Smokies is good.  The streams are somewhat low for this time of year.  And, not many anglers are fishing.  But, you could have the Smoky Mountains fishing day of your life.  Some fishermen are right now.

I would use dry flies just because I would get more action and they are easier to use where the fish are congregated in the riffles.  You will also catch trout in the runs and plunge pools using dry flies.  Try a Parachute Adams, Stimulator, Elk Hair Caddis or a Neversink Caddis.  They should all work.  More important than the pattern, is getting a good drift and staying hidden.

On the other hand, if you are targeting larger trout, use nymphs.  I know people who catch huge browns on a dry fly occasionally.  But most are caught on nymphs.  These fish are out in the open right now at times.  You will find that to be the case especially this weekend, when the sun will be blocked by clouds. If we get the rain we expect, and the water becomes slightly stained you will have a very good chance at catching a trophy.

You should do well in the small shaded streams today and tomorrow.  I would plan on fishing the larger rivers this weekend when it is cloudy.

Due to meetings with sales reps this week and deadlines for early ordering, I’m not getting a day off.  So, I’ll be working 12 days straight.  But, I’ve picked next Thursday to go fishing.  I always work on weekends, which is a good thing.  I like being off when most people are working.  My plan is to fish the Little Tennessee River and next Thursday’s weather looks good. 

We are going to be blessed with great fishing until Winter.  I love Fall fishing.

I hate to see the rain this weekend because the Fall Festival, Old Timers Day and the Country Fair will be going on in town.  Hundreds of volunteers and exhibitors will be outside along with thousands of attendees.  Rain will make the event miserable for all.  On the other hand, if it rains, we’ll have more anglers in town.  I guess I’d rather see the rain arrive on Monday and give the Festival folks a break.  This event is good for the community and our local economy.  Right now the chance for rain on Saturday is 50%.  The event starts on Friday when the chance for rain is low.

What we need in Townsend, more than anything else, is a covered exhibition center.  It doesn’t have to be completely closed in at first, just covered.  And, I think the size needs to start out at 40,000 to 50,000 square feet.  There would be so many opportunities for tourism if we had such a venue.  Think about all the small shows, exhibitions and festivals we could hold here with such a structure.

I started working on that idea in 2007 as Chair of Tourism and Travel for our County’s Chamber of Commerce.  I worked with Herb Handly who was the VP of the Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Herb and I held meetings with hotel, motel, lodge, B & B and campground owners.  We developed a plan to purchase 30 acres next to the Visitors Center for $2.5 million.  We cleared the way through the County Commission and the State House and Senate.  The purchase would be funded by the hotel/motel tax.  At that time, support from the tourism stakeholders was very high.  I worked on this project for over a year.  We were ready to go.

Then, in 2008 Lehman Brothers fell.  Other banks failed.  AIG was in trouble.  Basically, most of the people in the tourism business got nervous and so did I.  We thought something worse than the great depression was about to happen.  It almost did.  The people in the hospitality business decided not to buy the 30 acres and purchased a smaller 10 acre tract for $1.4 million in 2008. 

Now, we don’t have enough ground for a exhibition center with adequate of parking.  I guess the project is considered on hold.  The 10 acres will be full of cars this weekend for the Fall Festival. 

It is my hope the idea will be revitalized in the future.  As far as I know, the other 20 acres are still for sale.  Maybe there is a way.  This would benefit the younger business people in our town if it were to happen.  I hope it happens.

Troutfest is a perfect example of how a 40,000 square foot covered exhibition would be beneficial.  Troutfest requires renting tents at a cost of $7,000 for the weekend including tables and chairs.  Our worst nightmare was the perfect storm on Friday evening, one that would blow down tents, cancel the fundraiser banquet and bankrupt our Trout Unlimited Chapter.  We would have gladly paid $7,000 to rent a covered exhibition center and avoid that risk.

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

Byron Begley
September 26, 2012

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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