Townsend, Tennessee
July 19, 2009

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is another cool, sunny morning in the Smokies.  I noticed a lot more wildlife on the gravel road that winds back to our house last night.  Two wild turkeys walked up the road in front of my truck.  I drove slow and they were not in a hurry at all. 

We have rabbits everywhere.  Sometimes I’ll see four to six of them in that short distance.  I see a wild rabbit every time I drive to or from the house.   It didn’t used to be that way.  Before I built the house there was only one on the sixty acres that now have 4 houses.  It is a subdivision with very large lots, ten acres or more each. Back then people hunted on the property.  Not anymore.  Back then a hawk spent the day in a tall tree watching a large field.  He’s gone.  We do have a bobcat that passes through from time to time.  But I don’t hear it scream at night like I used to.  I used to see foxes fairly often, I even saw one with a litter of pups one day.  I have not seen a fox in a long time. 

So the predators left and the rabbits are back.  I guess this is due to urban sprawl.

Fishing is good.  Water flow is average for this date.  Little River looks excellent.  Sam and his dad went up highway 441 and fished some tributaries to Walker Camp Prong.  They caught some brook trout, but Sam had other things to tell me about when they returned.  He came face to face with a bear on the stream.  They were close to each other, too close for comfort.  That happens on streams because of the noise factor.  Neither bear nor human can hear each other.  The rushing water is the problem.

Trout are taking dry flies and nymphs.  I’m still going to suggest beetles, ants and inchworms.  In the evenings I would use a Yellow Sally stonefly pattern or maybe a Light Cahill. If you drop a Green Weenie behind a beetle you should connect. An ant pattern either floating or sunk would also be a good idea. Try a small Chernoble Ant or a rubber legged Stimulator.

Fishing will be better early and late. If you fish during the day you will do better on stretches of the stream that are shady.

We were busy as cats covering up “you know what” yesterday.  We didn’t do a huge amount of business but we had more than enough customers to do that.  I think there were five of us downstairs.  The store and the parking lot was packed most of the day.  People are venturing out and many of the people we see, and I can back up that with data from our point of sale computer are from East Tennessee. 

July is travel time for young people with families.  We see a lot of kids this time of year.  One motel owner I talked to yesterday told me their advanced booking don’t look good but the last minute decision makers are renting rooms.  So, in his case, business is not that bad.  It is down from last year though. 

Our spending habits, our attitude, our security and everything else has been a roller coaster ride lately.  Just look at the market graphs.  They tell the same story, up and down.  Thankfully the trend is up. 

Our business has been the same way.  May was the second best month we ever had.  June had the second worst decrease from the year before in our history.  Last November was the worst.  July is starting out the same way. 

There are signs the recession is recovering.  Our Government loaned money or guaranteed loans to banks.  Now many of those big banks are reporting earnings where there were once losses.  Those bank stocks are selling at much higher prices.  So at some point, we can expect the government to get the money paid back or be released from guarantees.  That is a positive sign to me.  That money didn’t get thrown away or at least not all of it.

New jobless claims are much lower.  The number of continuing claims (workers drawing unemployment for more than a week) fell by a record 642,000 the first week of July.

We still have unemployment at about 9.5% instead of the normal 4 to 5 percent.  Even in good times the unemployment rate is 4.6% like it was in 2006 and 2007.  Last year the average was 5.8%.  I bet most of those people in that 4% category don’t want to work anyway.  So when the news media tells us that 10% of the workforce is unemployed, remember to subtract 4% from that to get back to normal.  Unemployment was higher than it is now back in 1982 and 1983.  The rate was 7.5% in 1992 and 6.9% in 1993.  I don’t think we have ever had full employment.  I feel very bad for those people who have lost their jobs.  Many of them are friends of mine.  I’m hoping like they are that we will see recovery very soon.

And finally, the markets are showing signs of recovery.  Even though the DJIA has been as high as 11,867 during the past 52 weeks it has also been as low as 6,469.  So now the Dow is 35.16% higher than the low but 26.32% lower than the high.  Its not as bad as it was but it could be better is the way I look at it.

I guess I am an cautious optimist. Sure, times are bad but let’s look at the positive signs.  That will be better for our recovery. I’ll get a lot of e-mail about this Fishing Report. 

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

Byron Begley
July 19, 2009


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