Townsend, Tennessee
November 23, 2009

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is warm outside, 48 degrees.  The sky is mostly cloudy with some blue background poking through.  The large mountains are blocked by fog right now but otherwise it is clear in the valley.  The water temperature in Little River rose two degrees to 50 compared to yesterday morning.  There is a chance for showers today but not much of one.  This looks to be a nice Thanksgiving week with a slight chance for rain some days.  One weather website lists snow as a possibility Friday in the mountains.

Fishing in the Park has been decent but not great.  That’s what I heard all weekend.  It should be fine.  At this time of year the big browns are usually hungry and active.  Good fishermen are telling me they are not seeing those browns.  They did see them before the heavy rain and swollen streams we saw a couple of weeks ago.  People were seeing plenty of browns before that.

I would try to fish today through Wednesday.  Later in the week the nights are going to be cold and the water temperature will drop.  My choice would be nymphs like a Prince, Pheasant Tail or Girdle Bug. 

We are seeing more visitors arriving for the Holiday.  That’s good.  Our town could use a shot of prosperity.  Except for us, and businesses that cater to the locals, our town depends on tourism for jobs.  One exception would be the dulcimer store.  Mike makes beautiful instruments sold all over the country.  The wood carving store has a clientele who order tools and wood from them.  They are similar to us in that we are the mail order companies here.  But, the overwhelming industry is overnight stays, heads in beds, campgrounds, motels, lodges and cabins for rent. 

Most of us want to see our tourism business grow a little.  We want to see sustainability without damaging our town in any way.  We would rather not see our young people move away to be replaced by older people.  We would like to see more opportunities for our young people.  It’s a fine line, a balancing act. 

We are fortunate to have a National Park next door.  Without that there would be almost no tourism.  Do you ever wonder what this place would be like if the National Park had not been formed?  Would Cades Cove be a subdivision or a resort?  Probably.  Would our rivers and streams be clean or polluted?  I bet they would not be clean. 

I wonder what the community of Elkmont would be like if the Park had not been formed.  There are abandoned homes there and I know some of the people who owned them.  Would Elkmont be an upscale gated community?  It probably would.

Lucky for most of us the land was taken and protected.  Unlucky would describe those who were forced to move and give up their beautiful land and homes.  I can’t help but feel sorry for those who left.  I know many of the descendents of those who were forced to leave.  I have not run into anyone who is bitter about it.  One of my best friend’s Grandfather had to leave.  I’ve never heard him say anything negative about that situation. 

We have a neighbor who was a young girl at the time and one of the last families to leave Cades Cove.  I know here son well and talk to him often.  I don’t detect any bitterness.  What these people gave up was shared with many more.  I think they understand that and accept it.  That’s the kind of people who live here.  Many more have moved in from elsewhere, people like me.  But, the real locals, the originals are good people and they are probably thankful to be living near the Park.  I hope so. 

The Smoky Mountains is a special place that needed to be preserved for everyone.  And it was. I’m thankful that they allow me to share this place with them. I bet you are thankful too.

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

Byron Begley
November 23, 2009

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