Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is another beautiful morning in Townsend, Tennessee.  It’s early right now but the visitors will be out soon.  Traffic was light when I came to work.  Little River is flowing well.  I wanted to stay on the bank of the river for a while this morning and watch the water flow by.  I call it stream watching.  But, there’s lots to do and time was wasting.  I took the water temperature and came to work. 

The water flow is 120 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 121 cfs.  That is about as close to normal as you can get.  One cubic foot of water per second is almost nothing.  There is a big storm that might make it to us in an hour or so.  One weather website indicates a 60% chance for thunderstorms after 2:00 pm.  Another says we’ve got a 90% chance.  The storm I’m looking at on the radar is headed right toward us from the northwest.  What I’m seeing is 100% chance and this thing looks big.

Anglers are having fun and catching trout.  Fishing has been best in the evenings.  Yellow Sally stonefly imitations are what I would use.  If they don’t work try a Terrestrial.  A beetle or Green Weenie should be in your box.  I talked to a couple of guys from Florida yesterday.  They have never fly fished for trout.  One was wearing a white T-shirt.  I told him he should wear something darker.  Those trout would see him coming a mile away. 

I tried to explain how to fish the Smokies with the three of us standing in the shop.  That’s hard to do.  I have plenty of visuals I’ve made up over the years.  One of my favorites has to do with drift and drag.  I pretend my head is the head of a trout.  My hands are bugs drifting toward my head.  I tell customers that these fish see food moving at the same speed as the current all day long.  While telling them this my hands move toward my face like food drifting in the current and my eyes look at my hands like trout would look at aquatic insects.  I remind people that if an insect is moving faster or slower than the current they usually won’t grab the fly.  They know something is up.

Then I point to a store fixture.  I tell them to cast only that far.  Don’t wade much, make short casts and get a good drift.

I bet some of these customers think I’m nuts.  I’m just trying to help. That’s my job.

Speaking of jobs I spent all day yesterday ordering from Wapsi and talking to customers.  A Wapsi order may have 500 or more different items.  Without interruptions it could all be done in a day.  I’m bringing back foam bodies to be used for beetles, ants and spiders.  These bodies have been around since I was a kid.  For some reason we stopped stocking them.  Now, people are asking for them.  With these bodies, anyone with absolutely no fly tying skills could create an effective fly.  In fact it would be a very good trout fly not to mention other fish like bass and bluegill flies.  So, in a week we’ll have them here.

Somehow I got elected by a group of about 25 citizens in our county to organize a drive to re-build Laurel Lake.  This 80 acre impoundment was drained 20 years ago because the City of Townsend did not have the money to make some safety updates to the dam or that is what I’ve been told.  I remember the lake.  I was a landowner here then but lived in Nashville.

I quickly formed a small committee to develop a concept plan.  The county owns the property.  There is about 130 acres of property in two tracts.  Our committee met Friday.

On the committee is a landscape architect and board member of the largest engineering firm in the State.  He is really excited about the project and can develop the concept plan.  I also found an engineer or I guess he found me.  He is a project planner for one of the larger engineering firms in the U.S.  He has 8 years experience with the Corps of Engineers and has worked on some impoundment projects, one at the Air Force Academy.  Herb from the Visitor Bureau is on the committee of course as well as our County Commissioner from this district.  Re-building that lake and bringing back the youth camp is one of his highest priorities. 

After the meeting I sent an e-mail to our State Senator, Doug Overbey and our State Representative, Art Swann.  I don’t have Art’s official e-mail address.  All I have is his personal address he used before being elected to office.  So, I might not hear from Art and will need to get his official address.

Of course the Senator answered my message the very next day which was yesterday, a Saturday.  Doug is on the ball.  He is very organized.  He has worked with me on three projects that have involved many people and all involved huge money.  They are all in the 7 digits and two are still ongoing.  We often hold community meetings here at the shop.  Doug always shows up with his sleeves rolled up.  I voted for Doug and next time I’ll do more than that.  He knows it too.  I’ve told him. 

I told Kenny who is on the board of the Laurel Valley Homeowners association at a meeting we held a few weeks ago that “This is a powerful place”.  He agreed.  We had a State Senator, State Representative, County Mayor and 4 County Commissioners in the room of about 25 people.  We hold the meetings in our classroom and this building is considered neutral territory.

Three different Tennessee Governors have been in this building.  Our U.S. Senator comes in occasionally.  He is also one of the Governors which he was at one time.  His name is Lamar Alexander. He’s a nice guy. Our road from Maryville to Townsend is named after him. 

Another of my favorite people who came in here often before he passed away was Jim Jarvis.  Jim was our Federal Judge.  He would come by and talk.  We laughed all the time.  I tied small Puglisi flies for him.  They are patterns that you can’t buy anywhere that I know of.  They are tied to imitate a small threadfin shad. They are tied on a #4 Tiemco egg hook.

 I always gave them to Jim.  He insisted that he pay me.  But I stick to my guns on that one.  I won’t and don’t tie flies for money.  I do it as a hobby, probably my only hobby or craft.  It is my only craft. And I only give them to my closest friends or trade for other flies.

Boy did I start rambling this morning.  It is 8:30.  I better get this up on the web and go to work.  Now that I think about it, this fishing report is my other hobby.

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

Byron Begley
June 26, 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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