Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee.  We were spared the brunt of the storm that caused flash flooding near us.  The epicenter of the huge storm moved to our North and stayed to our West.  We got 1.5” of rain here in a very short period of time, maybe one hour.  The airport got less than that.  Others were not so lucky.  Knoxville and many other areas received as much as 6”.  The streets and roadways were flooded, people were trapped in their cars, homes have water in them and thankfully, at least in Knoxville nobody drowned.  But, parts of East Tennessee had serious problems yesterday.

I was stuck at the Visitors Center when it hit here.  I stayed there and talked to Herb and Jeanie until it passed.  Little River looked like chocolate milk when I left the VC.  Then it started rising.  The river peaked last night at a little over 4.5 feet on the gauge.  Right now the flow is at 3.79’ on the gauge, which equates to 1,240 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 333 cfs.  I checked the water temperature at the swinging bridge.  It was 48 degrees.  The water is fairly clear.  The spring creek that runs behind our house has cleared up some.  Last night it was muddy too.

Wading in the rivers and streams is dangerous right now.  Ethan is headed into the park to fish.  He just left.  He will be fishing from the bank.  This is a great opportunity to catch a big trout or at least see some.  A spinning outfit would be a better choice for fishing today.  A lot of people around here switch from fly fishing to spin fishing when the water is high. They can still fish without having to wade.

The weather looks good for the next 10 days.  There is only a slight chance for rain with a greater chance this weekend, 30%.  The high temperatures will be in the 60’s through Saturday.  We’ll have lows in the 30’s for a couple of nights.  After that the lows should be in the mid to high 40’s.

I would call fishing slow right now due to high water.  We’ll see improvement every day.  The water should drop fairly fast. 

Troutfest is in high gear.  Neil Smith is working hard on the new Troutfest Journal magazine.  Tonight the judges will choose the art submitted by artists for the magazine cover.  The judges are Steve Moore, Brent Golden and Bill Landry.  Tomorrow, Sarah Weeks and I will be shipping the advertising materials to around 90 fly shops and sporting goods stores.  Vendor checks and applications are piling in.  Cindy Thompson called last night.  She and her husband Dave are the partners who handle distribution of Fishpond products.  They are putting together some items for the auction.  I am talking to vendors daily.  Jack Gregory has called all of last year’s vendors.  As we learn some may not return this year, we are replacing those with new vendors who have been on the waiting list. Right now we only have three potential vendors on the waiting list. Most have been placed.

As far as I know we are having plenty of volunteers sign up online.  Ron Becker said we had 60 when I saw him on Super Bowl Sunday.  I have been keeping the volunteer ad on this report below almost every day. 

Through February 22nd we had sold 43 banquet tickets.  That always starts slow.  I’m looking at that list now.  The tickets have been sent to Canton Georgia, Powell Ohio, Miamisburg Ohio, Birmingham Alabama, Marysville Ohio, Knoxville, Murfreesboro Tennessee, Townsend, Versailles Kentucky, Wetumpka Alabama, Mt. Airy Maryland, Atlanta Georgia, Tuscaloosa Alabama, Dayton Tennessee and Lakeside Park Kentucky.  Some were also purchased by a person in Louisville, Tennessee.  As you can see, at this point, most of the tickets have been sold to people who live pretty far away from here.  That is the way our ticket sales go.  The locals are the last to buy.

After the stores in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic/ Midwest get their advertising materials next week, we’ll see a big jump in ticket sales.  Wait and see.

Make your motel, cabin, camping and B & B reservations now.  Don’t wait.  I’m serious.


Park Service fisheries management is holding a public meeting in Townsend on Thursday March 3rd at 7:00 pm.  The meeting will be held at City Hall in the Old Townsend School Auditorium.  CLICK HERE FOR A PDF WITH MORE INFORMATION. 

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

Byron Begley
March 1, 2011


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Volunteer for Troutfest


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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