Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  What a nice morning it is in Townsend, Tennessee.  The air is a cool 65 degrees at 7:25 am.  I stopped by the swinging bridge and took the water temperature.  It was 65 too.  The river is beautiful right now.  Flow is slightly above normal for this time of year.  A fellow was sitting on one of the big rocks, fishing with bait for rainbow trout.  He didn’t want to talk much but said the fishing was slow so far.  The fog is burning off and the sun is peeking out right now.

Flow is currently 145 cubic feet per second at the flow station below the “Y” just inside the Park.  Median flow for this date is 127 cfs.  The high today will be around 85 degrees.  The low tonight is expected to be 64 degrees.  That is going to feel good.  This will be a good weekend to fish in the Smokies.  The water flow and temperature are favorable. 

Traffic was light when I came to work but it will pick up soon. The motel parking lots have more cars than usual.  It is vacation time.  People come here after school lets out for an inexpensive vacation.  Other are here and stay in the lodges and bed and breakfasts.  And then there are the campers.  Townsend is a great camping destination.  We have plenty of privately owned campgrounds on the river and two nearby in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  There are also scores of backcountry sites for those who backpack. 

Fishing is good.  I talked to a lot of anglers yesterday.  They were mostly catching trout on dry flies, yellow dry flies.  That’s the color right now. You are trying to match the Yellow Sally Stonefly, that tiny aquatic insect that find themselves eaten by trout and bats before dark.  The streams come alive with Sallies in the evenings.  Their predators react.  Terrestrials are also good flies to use right now.  Ants, beetles and inchworm imitations often work better than anything else.

We’ve got our Troutfest dates set and hopefully forever.  We decided to move Troutfest to the last weekend in April starting in 2012.  We have a new festival in our County that is very important to our citizens and it will become larger as time goes on.  It is the Highland Games and it will be held during the third weekend in May.  Bill Guinn, Rufus King and I planned a meeting yesterday with Bryan Daniels who is the CEO of the Blount Partnership to solidify the last weekend in April as Troutfest Weekend.  Under his responsibility, one of the partners, The Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau owns and manages the Visitors Center in town where Troutfest is held.

We were ready to make the change and I pre-announced it in the Fishing Report.  That turned out to be a very good thing.  I got an e-mail a few hours later and learned that the Southeast Fly Fishing Federation had moved their event from June to the last weekend in April for 2012.  That great event is held in Helen, Georgia.

After exchanging several e-mails with the FFF Southeast Board members we knew we could not conflict with them and hold a big event so close to Helen, Georgia on the same weekend.  That would ruin it for all of us.

So here is what we worked out.  Troutfest will be held in 2012 on the third weekend in May.  The FFF Southeast Festival will be held on the last weekend in April.  Then, starting in 2013 the last weekend in April will be Troutfest weekend.  The Southeast Fly Fishing Federation Festival will move to another weekend, I would guess in early May.  We could not hold Troutfest the first weekend in May because the Spring Festival is held at the Visitors center that weekend every year and it’s the only place in Townsend large enough for Troutfest. 

The main reason we need to move away from the Highland Games weekend is, as it grows, motel rooms, cabins and lodges might have limited availability in our County.  Troutfest pretty much fills the motels and lots of cabins.  We think we’ll be OK next year but you should make your reservations early.

I’m excited about the Highland Games.  I heard that 6,500 people attended this year.  This is the first time the Games have been held in Blount County.  It will grow.

I want to personally thank Anthony Hipps, James Watkins and Mike Arnold of the Southeast Region of the Fly Fishing Federation. They worked with us on this and they deserve a lot of credit for making their event one that all of you should plan to attend.  Helen is a beautiful place and having attended three of their festivals, I can tell you I learned a lot, especially about fly tying.  They are all a bunch of good people and we would do everything possible to make that event successful and not hurt them in any way.

Fly fishing events like Troutfest, the Virginia Fly Fishing Festival, The South Holston Festival at Rivers Way, the FFF Fly Fishing Festival, Casting for Recovery and the many other non-profit events are good for all of us and good for fly fishing.  They are good for the environment.  They are good for people.

I am relieved this all worked out well.  I know about 6 or more of us fretted for days.  We all agreed that we will communicate better. If James Watkins had not read this fishing report that day a really bad thing would have happened.  I’m going to keep those guys on my list of people to e-mail often from now on.

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

Byron Begley
June 25, 2011 

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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 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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