Townsend, Tennessee
June 30, 2009

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  The sky is clear but it is cooler than it has been.  It is going to be very cool in the mountains at night for three days.  Good camping weather is in store for you.  There is a slight chance for rain Thursday night, Friday and Saturday.  When we get into next week the chance for rain is greater.

Little River looks good this morning.  I talked to one guy who was fishing from the big rock below the swinging bridge.  I talked to him last week too.  He was not catching trout.  I don't think he was getting down deep enough.  The water is 66 degrees in town, two degrees cooler than yesterday morning.  The water level is great and higher than normal for this date. 

Brian Courtney fished yesterday morning early.  The fishing was good but he said the West Prong of Little River was off color.  Maybe a small stray shower dropped some rain in that watershed.  The main river below the confluence did not rise during the day.

Fish early and late.  When the sun is on the water the fish are careful.  If you do fish during the day find the shady spots.  The higher you go the cooler the water and the better the fishing.  But, Brian was fishing low yesterday morning and did fine.

In the Park I would use terrestrials like beetles, ants and Green Weenies.  In the evenings switch to a Yellow Sally pattern.  If fishing is slow on top try nymphs fished deep. 

Lake fishing with poppers has been excellent, even during the day if you fish the shady banks.  Largemouth, smallmouth and bluegill are hitting on the surface. 

Smallmouth fishing in the lower Little River is off and on.  Again, early and late are better this time of year.

I can’t believe it is almost July.  July is usually our hottest and wettest month of the year.  Our average high in July is 85 degrees.  The average low is 62 degrees.  And, the average rainfall is 6.07”.  If we have average conditions the fishing will be good.

With the 4th of July holiday nearing, small businesses in our valley will be hopping.  The tubing business is in high gear.  Campgrounds are going to be busy and hopefully the motels and cabins will be full.  Our economy needs a break and this may be the time for that.  All indications are that tourism is good at least for now.

Almost every business in our valley is family owned and operated.  Many struggle, others do fine.  Leisure travel will hopefully be strong this summer.  We know for sure that corporate retreats, which bolster the revenue of larger lodges are way off from two years ago.  That business may not come back for a long time.  The larger lodges will probably shift their marketing efforts more to the leisure side to make up the difference.  One lodge operator told me “The corporate retreat business was icing on the cake.”  “Now, they are eating dry cake.” 

“Groups”, which are important to the motel business seem to be holding their annual meetings and conclaves.  I wonder how well attended they are.  Troutfest is an example of a group event.  I bet Troutfest put more “heads in beds” than any event held in our valley this year.  I know, during that weekend the accommodations business, restaurants and other businesses did well.  I heard it from a lot of small business owners.

I believe there is one infrastructure enhancement that could be built in our town would really help everyone’s business.   That structure would be a 20,000 to 30,0000 square foot covered pavilion with parking for 2,000 cars.  We spent $6,500 for tents, tables and chairs for Troutfest.  Most of that was the cost of the tents.  What if we paid $5,000 to rent a pavilion for the weekend.  If more people like us did that, the investment would be returned many times over with more Troutfest-like events and putting more “heads in beds” plus the restaurants and other businesses would do well.

The problem is there is not a place to hold Troutfest-like events.  It has to be done with tents.  We know that when there is any event in Townsend, rain is our worst enemy.

I worked for 18 months on the purchase of the ten acres next to the visitors center.  The biggest complaint I heard was, “We were going to build something that would compete with other businesses or organizations.”  I don’t know what will be built on that property.  We’ll probably let cattle graze most of the year and use it for parking when needed until someone comes up with a better idea.

But I think, if we had a facility tucked away where it could not be seen, and keep the acreage green and only used for parking we would attract more Troutfest-like events, prosperity would improve in our valley and the greenspace would be preserved.  And, how would that compete with anyone.  There is not a 20,000 to 30,000 square foot facility in our valley.  The meeting rooms we have are 1/10th that size at the most.

Maybe I’m missing something.

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

Byron Begley
June 30, 2009


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