Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny and 75 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I think this is the warmest morning we have had this year.  Traffic was normal and I saw a few people walking on the trails and sidewalks in town.  This heat is keeping people indoors, me included. 

Daytime high temperatures are predicted to be above normal.  Lows at night are way above normal.  The internet tells me that June was the 4th warmest month in recorded history for the world.  I believe it.  The internet also states that the average low temperature for Townsend in July is between 60.5 to 63 degrees.  The websites don’t all agree.  Needless to say, our temperatures at night are way above normal.

Little River looked good this morning.  Flow is right at normal.  Currently, the flow is 117 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 112 cfs.  The water temperature is 70.8 degrees at 8:00 am. 

Fishing is good.  Anglers are catching trout on dry flies and nymphs.  It seems lately, nymph fishing has been best.  We had higher flows over the past few days. Maybe that has something to do with it.  For sure, your fishing will be better early and late.  Fishing for brook trout in the higher elevations has been very good.  The water is cool up there above 2,500 feet. 

Anglers are reporting good smallmouth bass fishing in the lowland rivers.  The higher water we have had benefited the fishermen.  The bass are taking top water flies early and late.  During the day, they can be caught by casting under overhanging trees, where the water is shaded.

I am looking forward to September.  Cooler temperatures will improve the fishing and hopefully be more comfortable.  There will be more fly fishermen visiting Townsend.  The kids will be in school so it gets really quiet around here. 

Our school system is beginning the school year on Monday August 6th.  It seems to be getting earlier every year.  When I was a kid, we went back to school in September.  August was vacation time.  We were swimming, water skiing and fishing in August.  Things have changed during the past 50 years, more than I want to think about.

Mike Bryant and I are going to a meeting at the Chamber of Commerce this afternoon.  We will be talking to the CEO about options for Troutfest. Mike will be the new President of the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited next year.  That is a big job but he is up to the task.  He has vast experience at leading fly fishing clubs and holding fly fishing expositions in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Troutfest is a important event for our County.  The economic impact has not been quantified but we all know it is substantial.  What started as a small banquet and expo grew exponentially over the past 4 years.  To make it happen takes a handful of people working 200 plus hours and another 125 volunteers at the weekend event.

My worst fear when I was chairman for three years was a bad storm.  A storm like we had on July 5th could blow down the tents, ruin the contents of the tents, hurt someone or worse and bankrupt our TU Chapter.  Bill Guinn was chairman ths year.  He shared my concerns.  The problem is, we don’t have an indoor facility in Townsend that is large enough for the banquet.  We have been holding it in a 7,000 square foot tent. 

Almost all of our profits are derived from the banquet.  The exposition is pretty much a “break even” event.  Many vendors spend a lot of money to be here.  For instance, the folks from Temple Fork drive from Dallas, Texas.  Simms comes from Tampa in a huge motor home showroom.  People fly in from all over the East United States.  Lefty comes from Maryland, Joe Humphreys from Pennsylvania, Bob Clouser from Pennsylvania and Jason Borger from Wisconsin.  Zach Matthews drove here from Atlanta. Vendors drive here with their goods from all over the east US.  There is a lot at stake.  One storm could ruin it all in a few minutes.

So, that’s what we are up against.  That is one of our concerns.

Troutfest has raised between $7,000 and $34,000 each year.  We are often able to leverage that to receive grants.  The money is donated to Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fisheries Department.  This year we held the 9th consecutive Troutfest. 

So, planning for the future is crucial.  And, that is what we are doing today.

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

Byron Begley
July 24, 2012

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