Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is a frosty morning.  Heavy frost is visible on all the rooftops in town.  I saw cars with scraped windshields.  The air temperature was 32 degrees when I drove to work.  I took the water temperature at the swinging bridge.  It was a cool 46 degrees.

Fishing is going to be tough, especially in the larger streams.  The force of the water in Little River is too strong for wading.  You could stay close to the bank and make some roll casts or do some high sticking but you need to be careful.  Falling in the river could have terrible consequences.  It’s not worth it.  You may find smaller streams like Anthony Creek around the Cades Cove Picnic Area to be good for fishing.  Take a look at Laurel Creek along the road to Cades Cove.  Wherever you go, there is going to be a lot of water.

Night before last 2.6 inches of rain fell at Park Headquarters.  We had 1.75 inches here.  Photos of the Little Pigeon have been on television and in the newspapers.  It is up and roaring.  Little River is currently discharging 1,300 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 363 cfs.  The gauge is reading 3.89 feet.   Little River has dropped 2.2 feet in the past 24 hours.  If it drops 1 foot over the next 48 hours it should be at a manageable level for anglers though the water will still be high.  I don’t know if it will drop one foot by Saturday morning.  Fishing will get better by the weekend but there is still going to be a lot of water flowing in the streams.

An awful accident happened at the Gatlinburg Sewage Plant yesterday morning.  A 40 foot by 70 foot wall of 12” thick concrete gave way and fell.  Two workers at the sewage plant were killed in the accident.  Over 800,000 gallons of storm water and sewage were released into the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River downstream of the City of Gatlinburg.  The wall was part of a huge holding tank designed and used to hold sewage during peak times.  Since storm water also runs into the concrete tank the level was around half full. 

At first, rescuers began their efforts to find the two men in the river.  Later, heavy equipment was utilized to move the collapsed concrete wall.  The two men were under the wall. 

After the initial rush of sewage from the 800,000 gallon tank entered the river, more new sewage continued to flow in. 

One adverse effect of sewage entering a stream is the reduction of oxygen.  Fish are killed due to the lack of oxygen.  But in this case there were several conditions that had a positive effect on the negative.  The water is cool.  Cooler water holds dissolved oxygen better.  And second, there was plenty of water in the stream to dilute the sewage.  I hoped that maybe those conditions would offset the possibility of a fish kill.  The Little Pigeon River through Sevierville is a trophy smallmouth bass fishery. 

Today, the stories are indicating that sewage is being captured and treated with chlorine before being released into the river.  Chlorine kills fish when it comes in contact with them.  I believe the fish would be better off with no treatment at all with hopes that dilution and cool water would save the aquatic wildlife.  I’m not an expert, I guess those who are in charge are experts.  But, that is my opinion.  We’ll have to see what happens.

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is on the scene and are probably calling the shots.  Maybe they are making sure the chlorine levels released in the river are not toxic to fish.  Maybe the fish will be fine.  But families and friends of those two workers who perished are not fine.  This is a sad and catastrophic event.

You can read the story on the KnoxNews website by CLICKING HERE.  

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

Byron Begley
April 6, 2011


Ross Shaver is in charge of Parking at Troutfest. He just let me know they need volunteers for that purpose. Please contact Ross directly (CLICK HERE) and sign up. You will only need to work four hours during the weekend and you will get a free Volunteer T Shirt. Additionally, your hours will be counted as Park volunteer hours which can be leverage for cash to be used in fisheries projects. So, you are giving back to the Park. Thank you.

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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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