June 29, 2009
Welcome to the Fishing Report. It is sunny and human activity is brisk in our town. The IGA grocery reported yesterday as being their highest day in sales this year. Tourists are here in big numbers compared to the past few weeks. It’ like, "someone opened the gate and here they come". This is a relief for most businesses. Maybe tourist season is late but right now it appears to be strong. We’ll see how much of this activity is local when the Hotel/Motel Tax numbers come out.
Little River looks good. The flow is 182 cubic feet per second. Normal on this date is 101 cfs. The lowest flow on this day was 32 cfs in 1988 and the highest was 1,220 in 2000. Though Little River is flowing way above normal, other streams in the Park are not. Cataloochee, Oconaluftee and Little Pigeon are discharging less than normal for this date. The Little River watershed has received more rain that the others did this Spring I guess.
It is going to cool off. We will see high temperatures in the 80’s and lows in the high 50’s to low 60’s for the next few days. The chance for rain is low for a while. Little River and it’s tributaries offer the best conditions in the Park right now. The water will cool down some and that will be good for fishing.
I would still use terrestrials, Green Weenies and Yellow Sally stonefly patterns in the Smokies. Fishing will be best early and late.
The lakes are fishing well. Bass and bluegill are taking poppers early in the morning and late in the afternoon after the sun gets off the water. If you want to fish on top find the shady banks.
The Troutfest committee met yesterday afternoon at the shop. We are all proud to announce the profit from the event was $36,184. The Little River Chapter will probably keep around $5,000 to be used as seed money for Troutfest 2010. The rest will be donated to the Park. Some funds will go to the Fisheries Department directly and the balance to the Fisheries Endowment. The board of directors of the Chapter will make that decision.
Since Troutfest was so large and the parking crew were making changes in parking areas during peak times, keeping track of the attendance was hard to do. Ross Shaver who is in charge of parking and working with the City and Visitors Bureau estimated the number at 4,500 people. That makes Troutfest one of the largest Fly Fishing Expositions in the Eastern United States. I have been told it is the second largest. Next year we will be prepared to get an accurate count.
We plan to add four new people to the Committee enlarging the number to assign new areas of responsibility. The committee members who served this year will remain on the Committee. We decided to move the whole event except casting demonstrations to one location in the back of the Visitors Center. There we will have 13,600 square feet of covered space using huge tents. All vendors and exhibitors and the music will be basically under one roof like a big store or small convention center. We will use the 10 acres recently acquired by the Visitors Bureau for parking next year.
Our plan also includes holding the banquet on Saturday night at a different location in town if the details can be worked out. Much of the food preparation will be sourced out to a caterer. This year we fed 300 people. Next year there will be more. Our region of Trout Unlimited will be holding their annual meeting here next year at the same time. That will add about 100 people as attendees and many of those will attend the banquet.
This was the first year Troutfest changed it’s focus to a Fly Fishing Exposition. We doubled the attendance and made twice as much money for the Park as we did last year. We all know our jobs, we learned from our mistakes, we have made positive changes so serving on the committee will be easier for all of us and will require less meetings. We are planning to hold our next meeting in October.
I tried to pass the torch or eliminate the Chairman position altogether but I was unsuccessful. I didn’t try too hard. So, I’m chairman again next year. I’m looking forward to it.
Troutfest was a successful event that was absolutely run by committee. All of the important decisions were made by the committee. Volunteers worked hard to pull this off. Everyone should be proud. I know I am. It was also a lot of fun because of the volunteer spirit that made this happen. There were a lot of friends working together for the benefit of all, including Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Fisheries Department. If you were not here I can tell you it was truly amazing and you should not miss Troutfest next year. It will be held the third weekend in May 2010. Put it on your calendar. Those dates will be May 15th and 16th. The banquet will either be held on Friday the 14th or Saturday the 15th.
I can tell you from previous experience, it will be here before we know it.
Thank you for being here and have a great day.
June 29, 2009
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