Townsend, Tennessee
November 8, 2009

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  What a Fall it has been.  And the good weather continues.  The sun is shining this morning, Little River is perfect and the mountains are visible in vivid detail due to the cool clear air. What else could we ask for?  Well, how about this.  It’s going to get up to 72 degrees today.  What else could we hope for?  The fishing is excellent.

Yesterday the trout were on the fly, dries too.  The water warmed up quick and the trout were active.  One friend of mine said he caught six brookies out of one pool.  Joe McGroom came by and showed all of us pictures of the brown trout he caught Thursday morning.  It measured 23 inches.  That was Joe’s biggest Smokies trout to date.  He has come fairly close before but this was the big one for him.  That’s a big one for anyone.

The browns and brookies are spawning.  Well, I’m guessing about the brookies.  The browns are on the redds for sure.  The males are aggressive.  Joe’s fish was a hooked jaw male with a fierce look in his eye.  He took Joe’s offering once and he missed the fish.  And, believe it or not, the trout took his fly again.  This time Joe connected and landed the trout.

So, here is your chance.  Get out there and fish.  Check out Gary Troutman’s account of fishing yesterday on our message board.

He caught some beautiful brookies.

Today is the big planning meeting for Troutfest 2010. I have a 3 page agenda printed.  We are going to need to move through it quick and make decisions.  A lot of work has already been done.  I overhauled the website for next year’s event.  Check it out HERE.  Paula and Jack have the food to feed 400 people at the banquet worked out.  We have Lefty Kreh, Joe Humphreys, Jim Casada and other celebrities lined up.  We have major sponsors committed. 

Our Steering Committee has been expanded to include fly shop owners from other areas, owners of fly tackle manufacturing companies, the Director of Wholesale at Orvis and some other influential people in the fly fishing industry and media. 

One new item on the agenda to present to the committee today is, Economic Impact to the Community.  I placed it last on the agenda.  Who cares?  We should all care.  With a good handle on economic impact future sponsors will have more information to evaluate.  They will be more willing to sponsor an event that brings in $1 million or more than one that stimulates the economy on a smaller scale.

Our parking folks this year tried to count everyone.  They had clicker counters.  Their number came out at around 4,000 people.  Maybe some of those people just saw the signs and stopped by or maybe most of them were anglers from other areas who stayed in cabins, motels, lodges or campgrounds.  Maybe some of them spent a week.  Maybe they each spent $100 or could they have dropped $500 or more.  We don’t know.

What we do know is, attendees spent $59,360 with the Little River Chapter that weekend.  We know for sure.  That’s how much money we deposited.  I know how well we did at the shop over and above a normal weekend in May.  That was a substantial number.  How much did people spend with our vendors at Troutfest?  Another $30,000?  What did they spend on accommodations? Was it $200,000?  Maybe.  That would be 1,000 people spending $200.  Or was it $400,000.  We don’t know.

So, how do we find out what the economic impact to our community is due to Troutfest.  I’m going to ask a friend of mine who lives here to help us.  He has a Phd in statistics and is on staff at the Business School at the University of Tennessee.  He’ll know how to get that job done.  It will be a piece of cake for him.

I think we need one or two designated entry points to Troutfest.  There we need turnstiles counting each person who enters.  At each entry point there should be a volunteer asking three of four simple questions:  Is this your first time to enter, did you stay in one of our accommodations and if so how many nights?  How much do you think you spent or will spend this weekend?

Let’s say we only get 1,000 respondents to the questionnaire.  That could be one out of four.  And that would bring the margin of error down to a low percentage.  We can find out how many of our volunteers, over one hundred of them spent the night or two nights in one of our properties.  We can find out how many vendors did the same.  I know many of our volunteers rent a cabin or get a motel room.  Some of them camp too.

The Park Service Fisheries Department can account for $2.2 million in cash donations, volunteer labor, matching grants and other money that can be tracked back to the Little River Chapter’s first involvement with the Park in 2003.  That first relationship got the ball rolling.  Other TU Chapters and organizations got involved.  It mushroomed.  We were the first TU Chapter to have a “Memorandum of Understanding” with a National Park. 

I bet this event adds up to a lot more economic impact then we imagine. Knowledge is power.  Data drives success.  Success drives more success.

Have a great day.  Go fishing if you can and thanks for being here with us.

Byron Begley
November 8, 2009

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