Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
April 10, 2010

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny and 38 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Last night we dipped to 32 degrees or below.  There is frost on the shaded ground and roof tops.  I parked next to the boat and looked in.  The seats were covered with frost and water in the bottom had a frozen crust on it.  I guess this is what you would call an early frost.  That can have an effect on the mast crop this fall in certain areas depending on the severity of the frost. 

The water temperature in Little River dropped to 49 degrees in town.  The level dropped too.  Right now the flow is 474 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 304.  To put this into perspective for those who have been fishing this month in the Park on Little River, the flows were 537 cfs on April 1st and 357 cfs on April 5th.  Day before yesterday at the peak after the rain stopped the flow was right around 1,200 cfs.  So, the water is higher than normal like it has been often this Spring but it’s not too high to fish.  Just be careful where you wade.

I believe I would let the water warm up some today before I went fishing in the park.  The cold front is behind us.  It is going to get warmer, highs in the 70’s and lows in the 40’s for the next ten days.  There is very little chance for rain during that period. 

With the high water yesterday we don’t have any reports to tell you about as far as the fishing goes.  It should be fine later today but you never know.  You should see hatches of aquatic insects with adults on the water in different areas.  Black Caddis, March Browns, Quill Gordons, Blue Wing Olives, Red Quills and Dark Hendricksons may be what you will see. The trout may not take dry flies so use a dark one like a Quill Gordon and drop a Bead Head Pheasant Tail off of that.  Even if the fish are a little lethargic due to the cooler water they might take the nymph.  This would also be a good time to fish with streamers down deep.  You might catch something big.

The tailwaters are fishing well.  I’ve been hearing from local anglers who are fishing on them.  Everyone seems happy with the fishing right now though yesterday was probably slow in the Park.

The Little River Journal is ready to go.  We need to add some new customer’s e-mail addresses then shoot it out.  You will get yours sometime this weekend.  Or, I may wait until Monday night.  Mondays are bad days to send e-mail or direct mail advertising due to heavy traffic building up over the weekend and people are busy on Mondays. 

So, all my life or all my adult life as a business owner, I always tried to target any direct mail advertising to hit mid-week and no later than Friday.  I’ve been doing it that way for 38 years.

When I was 23 years old I was running a printing shop and four dry cleaning stores.  My Father and partner lived in Kentucky.  So, there I was in the big city of Nashville, Tennessee with five stores, about 50 employees and two different businesses.  I’m surprised I made it.  I worked a lot.  As luck would have it people much older than me with good experience found me and I hired them.  They didn’t mind working for a kid and we got along fine for the most part.  If we didn’t and I couldn’t change them, I let them go.  I found some good young people too.  The dry cleaning stores were bankrupt and we took them over from the bank and of course the loan became ours too.  But I worked hard and paid off that loan.  My father moved to Nashville a few years after I did. We borrowed more money and started buying newer, more efficient equipment.  I kept opening printing stores and when it was time to sell, there were seven of those and 5 or six dry cleaning stores. 

I’ll never forget those early days.  I lived in a motel for a few months until I could find time to rent an apartment.  My first apartment in Nashville was in the Hermitage area right on Percy Priest Lake.  Nearby was a marina.  I bought a boat and kept it in a covered slip so I could go fishing after work without wasting any time.  The dry cleaning stores opened at 7:00 am so going fishing before work was hard to do. 

But over time I learned everything about that lake.  Back in the early 70’s there wasn’t much boat traffic on Percy Priest.  That changed.  Then I started trout fishing on the Caney Fork.  I bought a canoe and floated the river.  Back then my fishing buddies and I had it to ourselves.  Not any more.  The city grew and the angler population grew as well. 

I also liked to float the Harpeth River in an area called the Narrows.  There I could launch the canoe, drive to the takeout point then walk back to the canoe.  The walking distance was just a few hundred yards but the float was several miles.  The Harpeth makes a big horseshoe shaped bend in that area then comes back within a hundred yards of the starting point.  Wooly Buggers worked well in the Harpeth.  There we caught bass, smallmouth and largemouth.  Back then it was not crowded at all.  But it did become that way as the city grew.

Then the timing was right.  We sold the dry cleaning and printing stores and after a 5 year stint as President of a British owned subsidiary, I moved to Townsend with nothing to do but build a house on some land I bought years earlier. 

After living here a while I was approached by Bill Guinn.  Bill was Chairman of the State Council of Trout Unlimited.  He asked me to start a TU Chapter here to work with the Park.  I accepted the challenge, obtained a list of TU members who lived in Blount County, got 14 of them together and we formed the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  That began in 1992.  We were chartered in 1993 and I served as the first President for 2 ½ years.  Then I married Paula and we got into the fly shop business.

That’s my story or part of it.

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

Byron Begley
April 10, 2010 

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