Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
March 27, 2010

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is foggy and cold, 32 degrees in Townsend this morning.  My truck reported 34 degrees, the Weather Channel website argued that it is 32.  I’m going with the Weather Channel because it is more newsworthy.  It’s freezing outside!  I heard some turkeys gobbling and clucking and they had to be near the house.  I could hear them inside.  I think they were taunting me.  

Little River looks spectacular.  The water level is higher than normal.  Normal for this date is 325 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Today the flow is 430 cfs.  The temperature was a very cool 44 degrees, down from 49 degrees yesterday morning.  If you go fishing in the Park today and you plan on using dry flies wait a while until the water warms up.  But, you could use streamers or nymphs and catch some trout early this morning. 

I know a lot of people are camping at Elkmont.  I talked to several yesterday.  I bet most of them are still in the bag or sitting next to the fire right now.  I would be. 

Today is going to be a nice one, sunny and 65 degrees.  The water will warm today and continue to do that for a few days.  We’ll have a warm rain tomorrow.  By the end of the week we may have high temperatures in the mid 70’s. 

You will see Quill Gordons, Blue Quills, Blue Wing Olives and some other aquatic insects on the water.  The hatch intensity will increase this week and persist at least until April 5th unless the weather folks are way off.  The hatches will be heavier in the afternoons.  I would use a Quill Gordon Dry in a size #12 and drop a #16 Bead Head Pheasant Tail off the dry about 16” back when the hatches are underway.

The word is out but don’t tell anyone.  That is what I keep hearing from officials.  Don’t tell anyone?  Are you kidding?  Everyone knows it.  I bet I’ve heard it from ten different people.  It’s not like this is some big secret.  There was a guy talking about it on television or that is what someone told me.  I looked in our local newspaper.  They don’t know yet or maybe they were told not to tell anyone.

Evidently, The Cades Cove Loop Road will open earlier than expected or that is the rumor.  The road is being completely renovated and the 11 mile scenic stretch was to be closed March 1st through May 15th.  The contractor has a monetary incentive to finish early and they are cranking up there.  One of the workers said they were going to finish early.  I’ve heard it might re-open as early as April 15th and I’ve heard sometime in April.  So maybe the road will open two or three weeks earlier than expected.  Or it may open on schedule.  Either one is good news.

So what’s the big deal?  Well, Cades Cove ranks with Little River as one of our top two attractions that bring tourists to our area.  Having that road closed is not good for the tourism industry.  I think the big news is, the project won’t drag on for months past the expected completion date.  How often is a major construction project finished on the expected completion date?  I don’t remember one.  None of mine have.  Evidently this one will be on time or early.  Great job Harrison Construction and National Park Service personnel!

The bad news was in the Maryville Daily Times this morning.  The rock slide on U.S 129 which occurred 2 miles south of Chilhowee Dam, closed that road from somewhere near the Foothills Parkway to the North Carolina line.  It won’t be cleared and stabilized until the end of July.  This is the route that appeals to motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts.  Due to the number of curves in the road, it has been named “The Dragon” or “The Tail of the Dragon”.  Closing this road has created a lot of problems for people trying to reach areas near the Little Tennessee River impoundments and towns on the North Carolina side of the Smokies from the Tennessee side.  Commercial trucks carrying goods to Cherokee or Bryson City from Tennessee have a long road to hold.  They can’t use 441 in the National Park.  It’s illegal.  So this is a mess.  Businesses that rely on the Dragon as a tourist attraction are going to be hurting for a while. 

Paula and I like to fish on the Little Tennessee River.  That’s about the only place we fish around here.  So, we may have to make some adjustments for a while.  We’ll find out next Friday.

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

Byron Begley
March 27, 2010


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