Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  What a beautiful morning it is in Townsend, Tennessee.  The Great Smoky Mountains are in full Spring Color.  Wildlife think it is late Spring.  They’ve been tricked.  They seem to be in a hurry.  Why?  For instance, it is 66 degrees right now at 9:00 am.  The high today is supposed to be 87 degrees.  We have had hot days, warm nights and plenty of rain.  Keep in mind, the normal high for April here is 69 degrees.  The average low is 39 degrees.  It has been way warmer than that.  We’ll be back closer to normal later this week.

Lots of people are out enjoying what we have this morning.  Walkers, runners, bicyclers, and people watching the river flow by are out in droves.  Little River’s flow has dropped.  I think this flow is perfect for fishing and river watching.  What I call Goose Island is now visible again.  A gaggle of geese are gathered on Goose Island surrounded by the gurgling sound of Little River.  They seem to be at peace.  They should be paired up and avoiding the gang right now.  I guess they can resist getting their island back from the grasp of the high water.

Flow is currently 430 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 315 cfs.  Five days ago, the flow was at about 4,500 cfs.  We’re getting back to normal.  The water temperature this morning was a perfect 58 degrees. 

Fishing is excellent.  You need to learn how to fish higher water, and it is time you did if you don’t.  The conditions are conducive to trout feeding activity.  It doesn’t get much better than this.  Trout will feed on the surface or below.  It doesn’t matter that much.  Patterns that are good in the Smokies, are good now.  For a dry I would choose a March Brown, Parachute Adams, Red Quill, Thunderhead, Elk Hair Caddis, Yellow Stimulator or any large stonefly pattern.  Chuck found one of, if not the largest golden stoneflies outside the shop last night at closing time I’ve ever seen.  He, Glen and Ethan played with it for a while as I watched.  It looked big enough to hurt you. 

Nymphs will work too.  After seeing what I saw last night I would be tempted to fish a big Tellico Nymph.  But, you can’t beat a Bead Head Pheasant Tail, George Nymph, Prince Nymph or Hare’s Ear.  I don’t think it matters much right now.  Presentation and stealth will prevail.  If you stay hidden, get a good drift, don’t spook the trout and you are not fishing behind someone, you will catch trout today.

The fishing will only get better and the cooling trend coming should not hurt a thing.  This is prime time.

Have you ever said, “If I were ten or fifteen years younger I would….?”  I’ve been saying that a lot lately.  Maybe it is because I’m pushing 60 years old.  But, lately I have become interested in aquaponics.  I got on the kick about a year ago, kind of forgot about it then I read the book “Four Fish” by Paul Greenberg. 

The book is not about fly fishing.  The subtitle is “The Future of the Last Wild Food”.  It is a New York best seller.  This book describes commercial fishing for salmon, tuna, sea bass and cod.  It describes the over-fishing, depletion of our resources, fish farming, the harm to our wild stocks from fish farming and the fact that our world is not large enough to grow food for it’s population in the future.  I loaned my copy to Michael Talley and he is reading it now.

Now I’ll be back to surfing the web and learning more about aquaponics. Aquaponic farming is basically, raising fish (tilapia) in tanks, then circulating the water they live in through trays that grow vegetables.  The plants filter the water while consuming nourishment, then the water flows back into the fish tanks.  It is basically a closed system that produces a huge amount of food in a small space.  There is virtually no waste.  And, this is all done indoors or in environmentally controlled greenhouses.  You can set up a small operation for your own consumption or spend millions on a full blown commercial operation.  Aquaponics may in fact be a significant sustainable source of protein for humans someday.  

I was looking at my favorite news websites this morning and found this article in the Chicago Tribune.  CLICK HERE.  This guy is turning a former meat packing plant into a aquaponic farm. 

If I were 45 years old, I would buy some inexpensive land near my house and build a aquaponic farm.  I guess that won’t happen.  Maybe Michael Talley will do it and let me be his consultant.  After all, people over 60 years old are consultants, are they not?

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

Byron Begley
April 10, 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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