Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny, warm and beautiful in Townsend, Tennessee.  Visitors are here, a bunch of them.  Our motels, rental cabins and lodges are enjoying a prosperous weekend.  The Spring Festival held at the Visitors Center, Heritage Center, and Railroad Museum has brought in the crowd again.  Cades Cove is open to visitors.  We all like that.  The Park looks wonderful though the green flora has not quite made it to the top of the highest peaks.  And, for you people who love to look at beautiful rivers, Little River is all decked out today with flowers, greenery and lots of clear, cool water.  As Charlie Daniels said often, “Aint it good to be alive and be in Tennessee?”  It is.

Fishing is excellent, especially later in the day.  Bugs are hatching and hovering over and on the many miles of trout streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The water may seem high to some anglers.  It seems perfect to others.  The flow in Little River is 357 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for today is 231 cfs.  The water temperature in town is 57 degrees.

If I were to pick a dry fly it would be something yellow, probably a Neversink Caddis #16.  Whoever named the Neversink Caddis didn’t realize at the time that trout think it is a stonefly.  Or, maybe it was named the “Neversink Stonefly” and someone wrote down caddis by mistake and it stuck.  But, that little fly catches more trout than just about anything we sell.  The Yellow Sally Stonefly hatch has begun and those little bright colored bugs will be feeding trout throughout the Spring, Summer and into the early Fall. 

Drop some kind of nymph off the Neversink if you want to.  Or just fish with the one lonely fly.  If we get some rain over the next day or so, and we should, pull out some streamers, lead split shot and dredge for some nice, big brown trout.  Even if we don’t get the rain but the sky is dark, try them then.  It might make your day.  It might make your year.

We are not counting on the big deluge here.  It might happen.  Unfortunately Kentucky is getting hammered right now and this is Derby Day.  The Kentucky Derby party started in the Bluegrass State days ago and the 136th run for the roses will clear the post at 6:28 pm.  I planned to wash the boat tonight but that will have to wait until tomorrow.  I’ll be out of here at the crack of closing time today to run home, hear “My Old Kentucky Home”, and watch the race.  I wouldn’t go to this much trouble for a car race, no way.  I swore I would never attend a steeplechase again and I won’t.  I’ve seen too many beautiful animals die in those races.  But the Derby is different.  I have rarely missed it.

Some great people from the Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited came to the shop yesterday.  Buzz Buffington wanted to meet with me and Paula.  Paula couldn’t be here but now she wishes she had.  I was downstairs talking to customers and saw Buzz come in.  Then I saw a bunch of other friends and nothing seemed odd.  But, right at 11:30 Buzz called everyone over to the front counter and presented our store with a beautiful award, framed in bamboo, with some words that still make me tear up.  The Clinch River Chapter was honoring us for what we have done over the years to help them do their good work.  Also present was Bill Guinn who served as our State Chairman about 20 years ago.  He’s the guy who urged me to start the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  After the ceremony, most of us went to lunch.  What a great group of folks.

The Clinch River Chapter members have done a lot of good work for the watershed they support but more than that, they have helped people get into the sport of fly fishing.  They have helped a lot of young people.  I like that.  But there is also an attitude that these people have that strikes deeper than just education about the trout fishery and the sport.  They are people who help people in a very broad sense of the word.  If someone joins the Chapter, there is a whole gang of people who invite the new person to go fishing.  They take that very seriously.  And the new angler gets some of the best training anyone could hope to get. 

So, what the Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited does is welcome new members and solidify the relationship by building close friendships.  They have done this so well. Our small part is providing the fly tying materials for their fly tying class that is held every winter.  This is a super fly tying class.  It is held at night over a period of weeks.  The student/instructor ratio is excellent.  The students get lots of attention.  And they have the time to practice between sessions. 

All of us here are honored that the Clinch River Chapter members took the time to drive over here and thank us.  The award will hang behind our front counter forever.  Check it out next time you are in the shop. If you want to get involved as a person who helps other people, join the Clinch River Chapter.  You will make a lot of new friends and they will be good friends.

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

Byron Begley
May 1, 2010 

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