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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is overcast and 66 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Fog is following the path of Little River through town.  Traffic was light this morning.  More school systems are cranking up for the year.  We are not seeing many young families in our store.  I don’t think I’ve seen one so far this week.  Fishermen are fairly active.  They are taking advantage of our cool temperatures and good flows in the streams.  August has been good to anglers in East Tennessee.

Little River is flowing at 109 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 94 cfs.  Sometime yesterday some rain fell in the mountains.  The river level rose during the day.  It is dropping now and the water is clear.  I checked that early.  We should get more rain on Friday and that evening.  We will have partly cloudy skies on Saturday and Sunday.  It is going to be very cool too.

The Park Service Fisheries team, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Trout Unlimited volunteers were on the Middle Prong of Little River yesterday doing some trout population sampling.  Bill, who works here was with them.  They were planning to collect the trout using electroshocking and check each fish captured.  They document the species, length and weight of each trout.  The other fish are separated out, counted and weighed in bulk.  All the fish captured are released.  They got started and the creek became turbid from the rain that fell somewhere upstream.  The work was called off.  You can’t see the fish to net them and wading becomes more dangerous. 

Fishing is good and it will only get better later this week in the Smokies.  We are going to see some sun today and tomorrow. Dry flies and nymphs will work.  I would either use a Yellow dry fly of some sort or a beetle for the dry.  My dropper would be a Green Weenie.  I might fish the Green Weenie alone and weighted.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s what I would start with.

I started looking at weather stations to purchase and install at the shop.  There is not one currently reporting to Wunderground from anywhere near here.  The closest reporting site is in Maryville.  I looked at equipment manufactured by Davis.  It looks like the cost to do this will be about $1,500 including a pole to put the senders high above our building to get an accurate wind reading.  These devices are solar powered and send data through a wireless system. This is something I will research for months.  I don’t spend $1,500 quickly.  Additionally, I’m planning to look into a web cam to be mounted outside my window and pointing to the Park. All of this data and photographs would be posted on our website live.  I’m just looking, not buying.

I took 150 of our newest design t-shirts to the embroiderer yesterday morning.  They will be ready to sell in a few days.  I wish now that I had bought 300.  I have another new design that is ready to be printed.  All I need to do is order the shirts and have them shipped to the printer in Nashville.  I will probably do that today or tomorrow.

Wildlife is active right now.  First, I saw a wild turkey and her single poult on our private road this morning.  They were not anxious to get out of my way.  The poult looked like a small adult.  Recently I saw a hen with 4 or 5 juveniles.  Then, I saw several adult turkeys in our neighbor’s field.  A rabbit ran in front of me on our road. 

Last night I went outside to get something out of my truck.  Sometime, probably night before last, a bear had pawed my back window.  There were three distinct paw prints at about the height of my head.  They wiped dirt down the window to the paint but didn’t scratch anything. I washed my truck about three days ago.  There was no food in my truck.

We live with bears at our house.  Remember, on July 4th a sow with a cub hit one of our windows.  I heard the noise and looked out the window.  Both bears were standing there on all fours looking in.  They were trying to get to some artificial apples in the window sill.  They walked off when I went outside.

If you look at our house on Google Earth you can see that we are surrounded by thousands of acres of uninhabited forest.  There are a few homes sprinkled in but open fields are rare and dense forest is the dominate landscape.  Great Smoky Mountains National Park can be seen from our house.

We live about one half mile as the crow flies from Laurel Valley, a developed community with a golf course, clubhouse, a bed and breakfast and hundreds of homes.  They have real bear problems up there.  I drove through the gate last week and noticed some “bear warning signs” along the road.  Laurel Valley even has a bear committee. The warnings are intended to remind residents to take precautions not to draw bears to their home.  Leaving garbage outside and bird feeders cause the worst problems for the residents.  Tourists who rent cabins there have been known to feed bears for their enjoyment.  Bears become habituated to these free meals and they also become un-afraid of humans.  When that happens the bear is usually trapped and re-located, or killed.

I’ve been living with bears for almost 20 years and don’t think much about it.  We walk outside after dark without any fear.  The only time we are concerned is when one or more start acting strange.  We’ve had those times.  Neighbors call each other and during those rare times I am usually armed when outside at night. But for the most part,
we all get along.  Hard or soft mast crop failures usually bring the hungry animals out to the homes trying to find food.  They become aggressive when that happens.  They are hungry.  I don’t know about the future of acorns this year.  The berries seem to be fine. 

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

Byron Begley
August 15, 2012

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