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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is dark, overcast and 54 degrees in Townsend this morning.  The air temperature and the water temperature in Little River are the same.  So, there is absolutely no fog following the path of the river through town.  The mountains have a hue that I would describe as dark gold.  This is a beautiful morning.  I love the sight of clouds in the morning.  It looks like…fly fishing success.

Little River is flowing above normal, but median flow is a low number today based on 48 years of datum.  Datum is a word some of my scientist buddies use.  It sounds more important that data.  Or, maybe it is plural for data.  I’ll look that up.  The flow right now is 79 cubic feet per second (cfs). Median flow for this date is 66 cfs.  It is not that the water is high.  It is not.  Median flow right now is low because mid October is historically a dry period in East Tennessee.  The water temperature is 54 degrees.  OK, I looked it up.  Datum is singular for data, not plural.  It is also a Austrian monthly magazine, a city in ancient Macedonia and a papal bull issued by Pope Innocent II in 1139 as per Wikipedia.

Fishing is good in the Smokies.  But don’t let today’s flow datum fool you.  These fish are going to be hard to approach.  The clouds today will help of course.  I would probably use dry flies at first.  I would use a dry fly I can see.  Now that it is past sunrise, it is still dark.  If the skies stay like they are now, anything will be hard to see.  I would use a Yellow Stimulator or Yellow Neversink Caddis.  I don’t think the trout will care.  The water temperature is just right for them in the low elevations and it will warm up some today down here and higher up.  The high temperature today will be around 70 degrees. 

We have a slight chance for rain according to the National Weather Service.  “Slight Chance” might be an understatement.  There are some big ones headed our way but they appear to be moving to our south on the radar, barely missing our county.

We held our Blount County Neighbors in the Foothills party last night at Ruby Tuesday Lodge.  What a great place for a party.  Though it is near downtown Maryville, surrounded by the Maryville College campus, they have a stocked pond with a waterfall.  This pond is not large, maybe 30 feet across.  I think we should all bring small fly rods to that party and have even more fun catching coy on a Parachute Adams.

This get-together is a function of Friends of the Smokies.  It’s not really a fundraiser, but more of an awareness social time for people here who love the Park and support it in many ways.  Paula and I have been on the host committee since we started this years ago. 

I am always amazed at how many people I see there who fly fish.  For instance, we walked in from the parking lot with Jan and Mike Bryant.  Mike will be the new President of the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  He and I went fishing together week before last.  We were met at the entrance by Sarah Weeks.  Sarah is the Director of Development at Friends.  She fly fishes.  As soon as we walked into the Lodge I saw Joe Swann.  He fly fishes and his son Will is a very avid fly angler. 

The next person I saw was Phillip Fulmer.  He told me he just got back from Montana and had a great fishing trip.  For those of you who live outside North America, Phillip was the head football coach at the University of Tennessee.  He led the team to a National Championship. Football is a team sport popular with kids, high school students, college students and professionals.  The game is watched by millions of people on television.  When UT plays at home 100,000 people pay money to be there and watch.  The sport is even more popular than fly fishing in the United States, though I don’t have datum or data to back that statement up.

The list goes on and on.  There was Powell, Susan, Susan’s husband Bucky (when he is not playing golf),  Sam, Herb, Hank, the Calloway Brothers, Me, Paula, Kevin, Andy, heck I can’t think of all of them right now.  I should have made a list.  Fly fishing is very popular in Blount County.  It is part of our heritage.  I saw a couple of fly fishermen there who have been participating in the sport since before I was born, and I’m 61 years old.

Dale Ditmanson was there as usual.  He is a great guy.  Dale is the Superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  As always, Dale thanked me for everything we have done.  What Dale is talking to me about is Trout Unlimited.  He doesn’t have to say it, I know it.  Maybe he is talking about both TU and Friends.  To me, Friends of the Smokies and Trout Unlimited are partners.  We share similar goals.  We support both organizations.  My involvement and volunteer work has been on the trout side for almost 20 years.  Both Friends and TU support the Fisheries Department at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

I was also excited about the number of people who asked about Laurel Lake last night.  The widespread support from our community for this project is not necessarily related to the sport of fly fishing.  There was a youth camp at Laurel Lake.  Football Camps, Boy Scout Camps, Girl Scout Camps and Church Camps were held there for decades. 

A lot of the folks who grew up in Blount County attended those camps when they were kids.  If they get to see that lake fill up again, they will be able to go back in time to their childhood and enjoy those memories vividly for the rest of their life.  They will also share those memories with their children and grandchildren.  Kind of makes it more important now doesn’t it?

This was a huge week for the Laurel Lake project but I’ll have to tell you about that later.

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

Byron Begley
October 12, 2012


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