Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  The sun shines on Townsend, Tennessee and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Townsend is active.  Local folks are out and about.  The morning is beautiful.  It is warm and today is going to be warmer, around 63 degrees.  We will see highs in the mid 60’s this week.  It feels like Spring.

Little River is flowing much lower than normal.  Today the flow is 208 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 305 cfs.  The water temperature was 39 degrees at 8:30 am.  The water will warm up all week long.  This lower than normal water is not just a product of lack of precipitation lately.  This has been a very dry winter.  Since December 1st, precipitation measured at the Knoxville Airport has only been 6.30 inches.  Normal for that period is 10.88 inches.  This amounts to a 42% deficit.  Hopefully we will have a wet Spring to reverse what is starting out as a dry year.  The DROUGHT MONITOR does not indicate that we are in a drought.  We are classified as D0 or abnormally dry.  Much of the Southeast is in a severe drought with a few spots in the extreme drought classification.

The National Weather service has issued a special weather statement.  They are concerned, due to the dry conditions that there is an increase in fire danger across East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.  That’s bad news for me.  One of my neighbors is burning brush.  The fire was smoldering this morning and unattended.  Wind is expected to be strong today.

If you go fishing today in the Park I would wait until later in the day.  Give the water time to warm up and fish until sunset.  I would use nymphs at first and maybe switch to a dry fly at some point to see what happens.  You never know.  We should encounter more active trout as the week progresses.  There is no rain in the forecast for the next week so we will continue to have low water.  By low water I mean it is relative to normal.  Though the water is relatively low it is not what we see in the Summer. The streams look good.

There is an interesting article on the KnoxNews website about the rebuilding of the old Appalachian Club and some of the cabins at Elkmont.  After the lumber years, some lucky people bought land on the East Prong of the Little River and built cabins to be used as weekend and summer homes.  I know some of the decedents of those people.  One of my good friends spent his summers living in one of those cabins.  Another old friend of mine who is now deceased told me his father built the Appalachian Club.  That club was a meeting and party house for the residents.  You can read the article by CLICKING HERE. 

I remember fishing in that area when these cabins were still inhabited.  I always thought “those lucky people”.  When the Park Service obtained the land they allowed those owners to lease and continue to use the cabins.  That time spanned over several decades.  When the time came for the people to move out they did all they could to stay.  I don’t blame them.  Some people even got then Vice-President Al Gore involved, hoping he could help.  That didn’t work.  They had to move out.

The Park Service couldn’t decide what to do with the buildings.  I attended public meetings where this topic was discussed.  The cost to renovate and bring them up to code was prohibitive at the time.  The Park budget was only around $10 million per year from what I remember.  I guess they are getting the money and finally preserving them for public interpretive use.  I’m glad they didn’t tear them all down.  That was one of the options. The cabins and the Appalachian Club are part of our heritage here.  Many people have fond memories having had the opportunity to use them.  I have fond memories wishing I could have owned one. 

Wow, we are selling Troutfest banquet tickets like hotcakes!  Online orders and people coming in the shop to buy them surprises me.  I guess that little ad below is helping.  We already have small posters on our front counter along with cards to hand out to customers.  Posters and cards will be sent to fly shops and sporting goods stores later this month.  Our list of stores is about 90 and they are mainly located in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic United States.  We printed 20,000 small cards for the stores to hand out to customers.  When we started this advertising program our attendance really took off.  If I remember correctly this project costs about $1,200.  It takes a couple of days for two or three of us to package and mail the advertising materials.  We also call each store and talk to the manager or owner to let them know the advertising package is coming.  I like doing that because I get to “talk shop” with people in the same situation I’m in. 

If we decided to increase attendance even more, the logical next step would be to include stores in more than 8 states.  The incremental cost would be about $12 per store.  One state that really came on strong under this marketing plan was Ohio. We see activity from Indiana too.  We could add Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi and Missouri and see some great results, I think.

I talked to Ron Becker on Super Bowl Sunday.  He said about 60 volunteers had signed up using our new Online Volunteer software already.  Check it out by CLICKING HERE.

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

Byron Begley
February 14, 2011 


2011 Tennessee Trout Unlimited Summer Camp

Tennessee TU is sponsoring a week-long summer aquatic biology and trout fishing camp at Great Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont. The camp will be held Monday, June 20 - Saturday, June 25 and is for middle school-age boys and girls. Cost of the camp is $465. Go to TU Clinch River Chapter website, for more information and an application.  Applications are due March 1st.  This is an opportunity of a lifetime for young people.

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Volunteer for Troutfest


Our fly tying classes will be offered in January and February 2011.   To sign up just call the shop at 877-448-3474.  You can read more on our website in the Schools Section.  The fly tying class schedule follows:

Saturday January 8 – Beginner Fly Tying
Saturday January 15 – Intermediate Fly Tying
Saturday January 22 – Advanced Fly Tying
Saturday February 5 – Beginner Fly Tying
Saturday February 19 – Intermediate Fly Tying
Saturday February 26 – Advanced Fly Tying


Our fly fishing classes will be offered from March to October 2011.   To sign up just call the shop at 877-448-3474.  You can read more on our website in the Schools Section.  The fly fishing class schedule follows:

Saturday March 26 – Beginner Day One
Saturday April 9 – Beginner Day One
Saturday April 30 – Beginner Day One
Sunday May 1 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday May 7 – Beginner Day One
Saturday May 21 – Beginner Day One
Sunday May 22 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday June 11 – Beginner Day One
Saturday June 25 – Beginner Day One
Sunday June 26 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday July 9 – Beginner Day One
Saturday July 23 – Beginner Day One
Sunday July 24 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday September 10 – Beginner Day One
Saturday September 24 – Beginner Day One
Sunday September 25 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday October 8 – Beginner Day One
Saturday October 22 – Beginner Day One
Sunday October 23 – Beginner Onstream Day Two

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