Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is cool this morning, 65 degrees in town.  It was probably cooler than that at our house but I forgot to look.  I was actually looking for an elk on my way out the driveway.  Maybe someday.  There is not much going on in town right now except for the TDOT right of way issue.  Tourism is slow in Townsend Tennnessee and it will be until early Fall. There are a lot of visitors in the Smokies on the weekends.  Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s records show that the Townsend entrance saw more visitors in July compared to the same month last year. I would say a lot of them live in this area and probably had a bunch of tubes in the back of the truck.

Little River looks good.  The water is somewhat low, lower than average.  The flow is 77 cubic feet per second (cfs). Median flow for this date is 110 cfs.  At 77 cfs, to put this into perspective, Little River dropped to around 40 cfs for a few days in July.  The water temperature in town was 68 degrees when I took it early this morning.  The water has not been that cool in a while.

The weather websites disagree about the high temperatures during the day over the next ten.  One organization thinks the high will reach 90 for three days.  Another is saying it will be in the high 80’s.  They both agree it will be cool at night.  That just proves to me that forecasting the weather is not an exact science and is subject to change.  I’m always swayed by my preferences when deciding which weather organization to believe.  I like snow.  If one weather site says we are going to get 5 inches and another believes we’ll just get a dusting, I believe and pull for the 5 inches.

You should do fine fishing for trout in the Smokies.  The low water requires a careful approach and presentation.  Once the trout sees you, it’s over.  Stay hidden.  You will find the rainbows in the riffles behind rocks in the pockets.  The browns will be in water that is a little slower, in the shade and under cover.  Brook trout will be hidden too.  I would choose a foam beetle today.  I would fish in the shady areas.  If I were not working I would hike in a bit above Elkmont. 

Another article appeared in the Daily Times concerning the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s order for 80 properties in town to move swimming pools, fences, signs, cabins and parking lots.  Some of these encroachments can be solved with a simple survey.  Others can be taken care of with a minimal amount of effort and money.  But there are some hardship cases involving lots of cash and the possible loss of entire parking lots.  The right of way purchase program started in the late 1940’s here.  Some businesses have been in the families for generations.  I know one business man who’s grandfather had a piece of their parking lot on the right of way and it’s still there, being managed by his grandson. 

So, this was brought about by one man who says he was singled out and forced to comply with city ordinances for new structures he placed on the ROW.  He says the city has been “selective, capricious and malicious”.  He also said our Mayor made an untrue statement in a recent City Commission Meeting about him.  I was there.  The Mayor never mentioned this man’s name or if he did, I didn’t hear it.  You can read this article HERE in the DAILY TIMES.  You should do it.  There is a lesson to be learned here.

I became Chairman of Troutfest in 2008.  I was asked to serve and change the venue to a fly fishing exposition.  During prior Troutfests, we used the right of way at the Visitors Center.  We parked cars on the ROW.  We sold spaces to vendors on the ROW.  We had signs on the ROW.  Heck, everyone did it and we had been doing it for years.

After the event in 2009, Ron, our Vice Mayor and Claude our city Building Inspector came by to see me.  They asked that I meet with them and Herb who is President of the Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau.  The bureau owns the Visitors Center.  I agreed, we set a time, and Herb, Claude and I sat down.  Claude presented a letter from the City telling us we were in violation of city ordinances by using the ROW during festivals, including Troutfest.  We had a festival coming up soon and changing the layout was practically impossible at that point.  So I asked for a hearing with the Board of Zoning Appeals.  Herb and I met with them.  The board granted us a one time variance for the Pottery Festival last year. 

I told Claude I would comply completely with Troutfest and we simply moved the event to the rear of the Visitors Center.  As a matter of fact, everyone said they liked it better in the back.  The 2010 event was the best ever and one reason was, it was concentrated, not spread out. 

So, evidently this man thinks he has been singled out.  I got the same treatment.  I thought the Vice Mayor and Building Inspector were nice to me. They were. But, they still meant business. I didn’t get mad or write a letter to TDOT.  We simply complied. I care about the future of Townsend and the people who live and work here. I would not ever think of doing anything that would hurt my neighbors. In fact, I'm working on this problem right now so maybe I can help my neighbors.  

I might add that Iva Butler, the lady who wrote this article and many others that cover stories I have been involved in always gets her facts right on.  And I would love to have her writing skills.  On two occasions I have addressed a fairly large crowd and handed her a typed statement, just in case.  But I probably didn’t need to.  She always gets the story correct and they are all well written.  What a great asset Iva is to our community.

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

Byron Begley
August 26, 2010

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