Townsend, Tennessee
November 11, 2009

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  Most of the mountains are hidden by fog this morning.  Our valley and Great Smoky Mountains National Park are drenched.  It rained all day yesterday and all night.  I found 3.1 inches of rainfall in our gauge at the shop which is a 24 hour reading.  The Airport set a record for rainfall on yesterday’s date. 

Little River is raging.  The color is brown.  The gauge below the “Y” is currently indicating 6.01 feet or 3,660 cubic feet per second discharge.  That is also a new record for today’s date.  The prior record was set in 1996 at 1,010 cubic feet per second.  At the Maryville gauge the river is pushing 10,400 cfs through that part of our county.

This flood event comes at the worst time.  The brown and brook trout are spawning in the Park.  My fear is the eggs that have been laid and fertilized so far will be washed away.  Two things impact trout populations in the Park, droughts and floods.  I have no idea what percentage of the trout have spawned and it differs from one watershed to another and depends on elevation.  But, this amount of water at this point in time is not good.  Hopefully the trout will get back to business after the water recedes.  And hopefully, we won’t have a rain event like this one for a while.

Fishing today would not be a good idea in the Park.  The rivers are dangerous.  Little River has not crested yet.  The rain is probably over.  We have several days of dry weather ahead of us but the river is going to recede slowly like it has been over the past few days.  The ground is saturated, the aquifer is full and the temperatures are cool.  Evaporation won’t be very significant.  So, we’ll have to wait.  Hopefully some smaller streams will be fishable this weekend. 

It is Veterans Day.  Today we honor the men and women in our military who serve our Country.  And, we honor and pray for all of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us who enjoy our freedom.  I can’t help but think about my first day in boot camp at Fort Polk.  Back then the military was mostly men and the thousands who lived there at that time were going to fight in Viet Nam.  Many of them did not return.  God bless all of our military personnel today as they put their lives at risk for the United States of America.

I struck a nerve yesterday in the Fishing Report.  By chance, while I was writing the report a local Townsend resident came into my office and asked me to sign a petition to stop a cell phone tower from being built near his house.  I would not sign the petition.  So, he and his neighbors, many of whom I know are probably all mad at me.  I also noticed that 732 people read this report yesterday which was a high number.  I got more e-mail from readers yesterday than from anything I have written before.  So maybe I should explain my position further.  I don’t want to make people mad but sometimes I just don’t do what people ask unless I believe it is the right thing to do.

First, I hate cell phones.  The only reason I hate cell phones is because I hate cell phone towers.  I had a car phone once when I lived in Nashville.  Portable cell phones had not been invented.  When I moved to Tuckaleechee Cove people here did not own cell phones because they didn’t work here.  Paula bought one for me with pre-paid minutes to use in an emergency when I go on fishing or hunting trips.  I have no idea where it is. 

Tuckaleechee Cove is a vast valley surrounded by high mountains.  The only way to get cell phones to work here is to build towers.  Our home is located in Dry Valley which is a sparsely populated valley within Tuckaleechee Cove.  From our front porch we can view beautiful Rich Mountain.  On the other side of the mountain is Cades Cove.  One day I looked at Rich Mountain and I could see some construction going on, up high but below the peak.  It turned out to be a cell phone tower.  I hate it.  I try not to look at it.  And, since I don’t use a cell phone, I don’t use it.

As demand for cell phone service grew in our valley more cell phone towers were built.  I think we have three now with two more planned.  The fourth one has been approved by the County Board of Zoning Appeals.  The fifth one is not approved and people living near it are trying to get the citizens and business owners here to join in and make the phone service build it somewhere else so the people living in that particular subdivision and parts of Townsend won’t have to look at it.  I can certainly understand how they feel.

Here is the reason I won’t sign that petition.  First, the guy who came in here and asked me to sign it owns and uses a cell phone.  Maybe his phone uses the tower in front of my house.  I know other people who live in that area and they own and use cell phones.  Maybe they are currently using the tower in front of my house.  That’s OK, I’m not mad at them for using the cell phone tower in front of our house. 

But, if they are successful and keeping this new tower out of their neighborhood where will they build it?  They are going to build it somewhere.  Are they going to build it in Dry Valley?  Am I going to be looking at two cell phone towers instead of one?  Not if I have anything to do with it.  Like I said yesterday, you can’t have it both ways.  If you want your cell phones you are going to have to put up with towers.  The real rub for me is I don’t use a cell phone and I have to put up with the towers anyway.   

Have a great day, thank you for being here with us and God Bless our Troops.

Byron Begley
November 11, 2009


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