Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is a beautiful morning in Townsend especially if you are a fly fisherman.  It is overcast and cool, a perfect day indeed.  Traffic is very light as one would expect on a Tuesday in May.  I was at the swinging bridge this morning taking the water temperature and noticed a school of very small minnows in Little River.  Whatever they are, they lost their egg sacs recently and are swimming around hiding from the larger fish.  Yesterday I was outside the shop talking to some customers.  The church bells at Bethel Baptist Church rang.  The lady asked me “Are those church bells?” and, I answered “Yes”.  You know what, church bells are another nice benefit we have here that I frankly take for granted.  For 20 years I have been listening to church bells starting at 8:00 am.  At our house we hear Tuckaleechee Methodist Church bells.  If the AC isn’t running at 8:00 am we hear them ring.  I look out and see Great Smoky Mountains National Park when I’m working and when I’m at home.  Maybe I take that view for granted too.  I hope not. 

In our local newspaper there was an article about a bear that showed up at Heritage Middle School near Maryville.  That’s not big news.  I wouldn’t have mentioned it now, but I just read the article.  Maybe we take bears for granted.  You should read the article.  CLICK HERE.  It offers some good advice to people who don’t live here and don’t know better.  A person was also bitten by a bear in the Park because of human stupidity. 

I can’t imagine better fishing conditions here.  Everything is right.  The water flow in Little River is 247 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date based on 44 years is 229 cfs.  The water temperature at 8:30 was 61 degrees in town.  Lots of aquatic insects are hatching.  Yellow Sally Stoneflies and many different light colored mayflies that can be mimicked by a Light Cahill or Sulphur are on the water, especially late in the day and until dark.  There are caddis and larger stoneflies too.  Terrestrials like ants and beetles are falling in the streams.  I bet an inchworm pattern, especially a Green Weenie will result in a tug on your line.  It’s just a great time of year to fish in the Smokies, especially when the water conditions are this good. 

Yesterday a group of us picked up all the night and day deposits that were made during Troutfest.  We had thousands of dollars in cash and checks to count.  We have credit card deposits made during the event to account for.  I still have to make a deposit today for some last minute sponsorship funds we received.  We don’t have all of the invoices that are due but most have been paid.  To our surprise, the Tennessee Council of Trout Unlimited donated $1,000 to the event and the Chattooga Chapter of TU donated $250.  But we were able to come up with a rough estimate of our revenue, expenses and profit made at the event.  We started out with $4,600 that was held back from last year to be used as seed money this year.  Our revenue from Troutfest is around $70,500. 

We are getting another $7,500 from Trout Unlimited National which is another Embrace-A-Stream Grant.  By the way, Chris Wood who is the new CEO of TU National was at Troutfest last weekend briefly.  Good guy.  So, on the plus side we have around $82,600.  We are estimating our expenses at around $31,000.  If we did our math right and we won’t know for a week or so, we will have around $51,600 to donate to the Park and to place some “Trout in the Classroom” units in local schools.  I think they cost about $1,200 each.  We’ll hold out some seed money for 2011.  Our treasurer will make the entries, pay the bills and give us a Profit and Loss Statement and Balance Sheet.  The numbers we came up with yesterday were done in an informal way and we might have missed some expenses or revenue.  But, whatever the end result, it will be financially significant.  The Little River Chapter has helped raise $2.5 million for the Park Fisheries Department since 1993.  The way that is done is by leveraging.  Our donations whether they are cash or volunteer labor are counted when applying for matching grants.  Basically we can take $20,000 and turn it into $100,000.  We’ve been doing that for almost 20 years.

Want to see what WBIR Channel 10 in Knoxville Reported on Troutfest?  Want to see the video replay of the broadcast?  CLICK HERE.  Channel 10 and reporter Jim Metheny always do a great job.  Their reporting is professional and they take their time to get the story right.  And, they like to report on events that help Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  When the page comes up wait for the video.  I look like I haven’t slept in days.  That is almost the way it was.  It was a long, tiresome week. 

I will be at the Townsend City Commission Meeting tonight to apologize to the community on behalf of Troutfest.  During the event, some people walked across the street to the Myers Cemetery and were casting fly rods.  One local resident called the police and reported the incident.  Someone from the Troutfest Committee found me at the store and I drove up to the event site.  I was surprised to find there were still three people standing in the grass near the graves casting even after the police had been there.  I asked them to please do it somewhere else.  I got the word out and I don’t think it happened again. 

Some residents in our community are upset.  It happened under my watch.  I’m Chairman of Troutfest.  Casting on grass on the Cemetery property is inappropriate.  I’m sorry that happened and I’ll make sure it won’t happen again.  I am also going to offer a donation to the non-profit organization that oversees the cemetery.  I think people will understand that this was not planned.  We respect the graves of these people and the community.

Have a great day.  I’ll be back tomorrow.  Thank you for being here with us.

Byron Begley
May 18, 2010

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