Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee.  It rained all night.  The rain started falling at 7:00 pm.  It is still coming down.  And get this, there were snow flakes mixed in with the rain when I drove to work.  Ethan and Chuck saw the same thing.  I can’t see the mountains in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They are fogged in.  I bet there is some new snow up there.  Townsend is very quiet.  I only saw a couple of vehicles on my way to work.  I guess everyone slept in today.

The river is rolling and the color is dark brown.  Logs are floating by at what looks to be about 10 miles per hour.  I was careful walking down to the river bank this morning to take the water temperature.  I did not want to fall in today.  The temperature was 48 degrees.

Flow is currently 2,630 cubic feet per second compared to median flow for this date of 400 cfs.  The gauge is reading 5.21 feet.  The flow is till rising with no crest in sight for a while.  Today’s flow set a 45 year record for this date.  Before now, the record was 1,570 cubic feet per second set in 1989.  Our county was under a flood warning earlier this morning.  Well, we still are, I just checked.  We got 1.9 inches of rain at the shop overnight.  The mountains probably got more. 

The rain is about over according to the weather radar.  We may get some snow showers this morning before the storm moves through.

Fishing has been good.  Quill Gordon mayflies are hatching and the trout have been sucking them down.  We are telling customers to use a Quill Gordon dry fly and drop a nymph or wet fly off that.  Apparently that is working.  One angler told me yesterday the hatch started at 1:30 where he was fishing.

Right now we have an excess water problem.  And, we have the potential for a dangerous situation should you happen to fall in the river.  I don’t expect the river to get out of it’s banks and flood Townsend.  But it is going to get higher and who knows, maybe I’m wrong.

So, officially, according to the Fishing Gauge, the fishing is slow.  I would not go fishing today in the Park.  You will need to wait a couple of days.

I’ve been tied up with City of Townsend business a lot lately mainly due to our huge problem with the Tennessee Department of Transportation over encroachments on the State Right of Way.  There are many parking lots and signs that are located on the ROW.  Most are businesses that have been encroaching since the 1950’s.  Some are due to mistakes in land surveys.  Some encroachments occurred because the City and landowners did not know where the ROW boundary was located.  The City Commission has influence on how these encroachments are to be settled.  We are holding a workshop Tuesday night.  This meeting will be well attended by business owners.  I serve as Chairman of the Planning Commission and the TDOT liaison representing the city.

There are going to be three proposals on the table Tuesday night.  I presented my proposal at the last City Commission meeting.  I proposed that each landowner should be allowed to purchase from the State, the parking lots, buildings and signs that are located on the ROW.  Pat, our Mayor presented a different proposal.  He suggested that the signs should be moved back off the ROW, that the city would designate the parking lots as public parking and buildings or the property under them could be purchased by the adjoining landowners.

A third proposal will be presented by business owners in Townsend.  That proposal would allow adjoining business owners to purchase a strip of land on the street side of their business.  That strip will be the same footage throughout the town but differ depending on which side of the road the business is on.  That strip would satisfy the encroachments and allow those who don’t have encroachments to purchase more land to use for parking.  Signs on the North side of the road would be kept where they are using city ordinances that would need to be written by the Planning Commission and adopted by the City Commission.

Under that plan most of the right-of-way would still be preserved as green space on the south side of the highway.

So of the three proposals, mine is in the middle.  Paula and I personally don’t want to buy more land.  But, we don’t want to move the sign back 4 feet if TDOT’s land survey is correct and that is yet to be determined.  We have two surveys that indicate our parking lot and sign are actually 5 feet back from the ROW boundary line.  For us personally, I like some of the Mayor’s plan.  But, since our parking lot is accessed from a side street, we can control the parking lot even though 4 feet of it would be under jurisdiction of the City.

Other businesses in Townsend would not have the control under the Mayor’s plan and they want to buy their parking lots.  I don’t blame them.

So, Tuesday night is going to be an interesting meeting.  I feel obligated to be neutral but I broke away from that notion when I presented the City with my plan in February.

I got an e-mail from the Region Director of Transportation on Friday.  They are asking that we make our proposal to them by April 1st.  The Deputy Commissioner of Transportation will be at that meeting.  So, the pressure is on.  I’m hoping Pat will go with me and we can make the presentation together.

Townsend is a great place to live and work.  I love it here.  I like the people who live here.  We’ll get through this and be better for it.  Many people who I barely knew before this situation brought us together have vented their frustrations to me in this room.  But, they have all, without exception, been very nice to me.  I feel closer to them.  I understand how they feel and what they think.

It is snowing here now.  Big flakes are falling to the ground. 

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

Byron Begley
March 6, 2011 

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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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