Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
March 17, 2010

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is cloudy again in Townsend.  The temperature is 45 degrees but should rise to over 55 today.  It felt, looked and sounded like Spring outside.  I could hear birds over the rushing sound of Little River.  The water is clear and strong.  The water temperature is 44 degrees again.

The water levels are more angler friendly.  There are some areas where wading will be difficult but it is getting better by the day or by the hour.  There is not much chance for rain until Sunday so we should see the water level continue to fall this week.  We do have some snow high up so we could see some fluctuation over the next few days.  As of yesterday morning there was still 9” of snow at Newfound Gap and 34” at Mount Leconte. 

I have not talked to anyone who has been fishing in the Park for the past two days. Rob Fightmaster is here at the shop right now.  I suspect he has a guided trip today.  If you go, be ready for about anything.  There will be some Quill Gordons and Blue Quills on the water though the hatches will be sporadic.  You may find Blue Wing Olives.  Depending on where you are and what time of day it is, you may not see any aquatic insect activity.  Based on how things looked this morning, I would probably fish nymphs at first.  Try a weighted Pheasant Tail with a Quill Gordon wet fly as a dropper.  Later, and if you see insects on the water switch to a dry fly with the Quill Gordon wet fly as a dropper.  The dry fly could be a Quill Gordon, Blue Quill, Adams, Parachute Adams or some similar pattern in size #12 or smaller.  If you are feeling under powered, put on a #10 dry.

Fishing should improve as we get closer to the weekend.  Sunday may be a wash due to rain.  But don’t let that deter you from fishing.  Sometimes in the Spring rain can be a benefit to the dry fly fisherman.  The insects are on the water and have a hard time flying off in the rain.  That makes them a prime target for trout. 

The Park and Townsend is null and void of people.  The tourism business has been tough due mainly to weather.  Most people don’t like to visit the mountains when it rains.  And lately, snow and ice have closed the Park to automobiles.  That has been really hard on people here trying to make a living on tourism. 

But, the weather will improve and hopefully so will the leisure tourism business.  Maybe this weekend will be busy.  Cades Cove is closed for road re-construction.  That’s not helping.

We are getting a new covered bridge.  To be more accurate, the old concrete Wilson Bridge in town is going to be covered.  This bridge spans Little River near the entrance to town from the Maryville side.  A post and beam structure will cover it, and the bridge will be used by pedestrians and bicycle riders only.  I’ve seen the design and it will be beautiful.  Construction should begin June 1st.  The cost will be over $200,000.

Last night I Googled “covered bridges Tennesssee”.  I found one site that had photographs of a bunch of them.  I could not find one as unique as ours will be, nor as beautiful though there may be some bias in this statement.  Our bridge will become a highlight on every website in our area.  We’ll all have pictures of our covered bridge on all marketing efforts in our County.  Artists will draw or paint pictures of the bridge.  We’ll have photographs of  fly fishermen and canoes in the perfect position and light everywhere you look on media that describes our town.  We are known for Cades Cove and Little River.  We are known as the Peaceful Side of the Smokies.  Now we will be know as “all the above and a bridge”. 

I’m looking forward to this.  It gives our town something extra that you don’t find many of in our part of the country.

I’m hoping the Caylor Brothers get the contract.  Delmar and Gene are master craftsmen when it comes to timber frame construction.  Also, these guys have been interested in this bridge from the beginning, not as a way to make money, but because they want to see this done.  Delmar built a model a few years ago.  It is displayed proudly in our visitor’s center.  The Caylor Brothers built the bridge to Senator Lamar Alexander’s home.  It is a masterpiece.  I noticed it was not on the website of covered bridges.  All the land where this one is located is private. 

I was standing on Senator Alexander’s bridge one day watching trout feeding in the creek below.  He came down and talked to me about the covered bridge.  That’s how I found out it was built by the Caylor Brothers.

My plan is to develop a photo journal archive covering each day of construction of our bridge.  I bet it will end up on this website.

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

Byron Begley
March 17, 2010 

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