Townsend, Tennessee

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is overcast right now and Townsend is active for a Monday morning.  Though it is not even close to tourist season, there seem to be a lot of people here.  At the bank the other day the ladies there told me local businesses are talking about business being good.  Business is good at the shop but not like it should be.  Finding a place to fish is tough right now.  High water all over this State and much of the Southeast has curtailed fly fishing temporarily unless you are fishing from a boat. High water or drought in States such as Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky have an affect on our business.  

I’m not complaining.  No way.  We are out of the drought here according to USGS and NOAA at least on this side of the Park.  People are getting outside even though it has been raining almost every weekend.  The economy is picking up, the markets are up so people are feeling better.

Bill Bolinger said he and Mike hiked up Lynn Camp Prong Saturday.  He told me that creek was full of water and the Cascade was looking good.  Little River is very high as are most of the streams in the Smokies.  Many are running at about 3 times normal flow for this time of year.  The smaller streams are fishable and the fishing is good but you need to be careful.  That water can tip you over and carry you down stream.  Stay close to the bank and roll cast some nymphs or streamers. 

The higher elevation brookie streams are a good bet right now.  Several anglers have ventured up there and done extremely well.  They are high gradient streams and they run off quickly.  The chance for more rain is lower this week from what we have been seeing lately.  The rivers will get better every day unless there is a surprise storm in a watershed.

Troutfest is approaching fast.  You can still buy Banquet tickets here and online but you will need to pick them up at the store instead of having us mail them.  Call 877-448-3474 to purchase them and they will be here waiting for you.  Same thing goes if you buy them online.  CLICK HERE.  Banquet/Auction tickets are $50 each.  We have over $25,000 worth of items to raffle, auction or silent auction.

The Park Service will be well represented at the Banquet.  Dale, the Park Superintendent can’t make it.  His son is graduating from college.  Kevin, the Assistant Superintendent, Steve Moore and Matt Kulp who are the Fisheries Biologists will be there.  I asked that they dress in Class A Uniforms with round “Smokey the Bear”  hats.  Steve says I owe him big time for that.  The banquet dress for the rest of us will be casual.  

Joe Humphreys will be in town Wednesday night.  He and Walter have been planning to fish together for about 9 months now.  I just met Rob from Missouri.  He just got into town to fish and attend Troutfest.  Some of his friends are on their way.  One is coming from Alaska.  Lefty Kreh and Bob Clouser will be here Friday.  All of our manufacturers owners and reps will trickle in Friday.  Stan Bogdan will be here Thursday to personally deliver the new Bogdan reel that we will auction Friday night at the Banquet.  It is a trout reel and Stan made it himself just for our event.

There is still a lot of work to be done.  Jack, Joe and I are going to mark the tent placement tomorrow night.  Some tents will be erected on Wednesday and the big one will go up Thursday.  The largest tent is 60’ x 120’.   Food will be prepared in commercial licensed kitchens.  The pasta salad will be prepared on Friday at Trailhead Restaurant here in Townsend.  Paula, Tee and Tim will spend the day doing that. 

Fly tyers will be traveling here from many states.  We will have 40 tyers demonstrating in 4 hour shifts all weekend, ten at a time.  We are charging $10 for a 2 day pass to the tying tent to make money for the Park.  All proceeds from Troutfest are donated to Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fisheries Department.

We have a large list of vendors who are mostly artists who specialize in fishing art.  We have several food vendors on the grounds to feed  you while you are here.  There is no charge for parking or admission to the Fly Fishing Exposition.  You will be able to attend seminars and demonstrations by some of the best fly fishermen in the world, right here at Troutfest and there is no charge for that either.  You just have to make a small donation to hang around the tying tent all weekend and buy your food.

I’m excited but, being Chairman this year I’m feeling the heat.  I hope a lot of people come and that will set the standard for future Troutfest events.

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

Byron Begley
May 11, 2009

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