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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is very foggy and 62 degrees in Townsend this morning.  It is Friday and tomorrow Paula and I are taking a week off.  We’ll be pounding the lakes with flies all week.

We have some beautiful Fall-like weather in the forecast next week.  We’ll probably get some rain too.  The high temperature Monday is supposed to be 71 degrees with highs in the 70’s most of the week.  And, we’ll see lows in the 40’s to 50’s.  This is going to be awesome.

Right now, Little River is flowing low at 35 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 75 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:55 was 65 degrees. 

People are catching trout.  And, people are catching or hooking some really nice trout too.  But, it’s not easy.  The fish are concentrated and hiding from predators in riffles and runs.  Some browns have been spotted.  Your skills are going to be tested until we get some rain. 

I would fish the riffles and runs with a dry fly and a dropper.  Another excellent idea would be to use a Green Weenie, add some split shot and pinch on a strike indicator.  You should catch trout using that combination. 

I’m hoping the smallmouth bass will move into shallower water on the lakes next week.  Some lakes are cooler than others.  Every lake is different.  What fly fishermen need right now in the lakes is cooler water.  That seems to be in our future soon.

The trees are beginning to turn and acorns are falling.  Herb, Michael and I rode to a meeting together yesterday.  Herb has been hiking in the higher elevations.  He thinks we are going to have an early leaf season.  Leaf season refers to the changing of colors and the tourism business drawn to the natural beauty in the Smokies by that event. 

Fall is when brown trout and brook trout spawn in the Smokies.  At that time you will see some big browns out in the open, seemingly less cautious and taking chances.  Seeing those big fish spawn is an angler’s dream.  The brook trout become even more colorful.  There is nothing more beautiful than a spawning speck. I don’t know about you but I’m ready for Fall.  I hope it is a wet Fall.

We held a big meeting yesterday.  I called a Laurel Lake Concept Plan Committee meeting and added three new members, people who represent some major stakeholders in this project.  We made some changes in the plan, some very significant changes.  We decided to make this lake and 144 acre park more “passive”.  Passive parks have less planned amenities.  There won’t be a disc golf course or volleyball courts.  We will have some picnic shelters and bathrooms.  A boat dock will be part of the plan.  But, for the most part, this park will have a beautiful 35 to 50 acre lake, hiking trails, wetlands and wildlife habitat.  I’m hoping to construct some waterfowl habitat.

I asked Ed, our County Mayor if he wanted to have his staff start the design and permit application process.  He said he wanted me to do it.

Well, I won’t actually do it.  I’ll try to organize it.  The first big hurdle to re-building this lake will require a environmental permit from Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).  We have people, living in our County who are experts at planning and permitting impoundments and wetlands.  I’ll just try to get them involved and donating their time.  I already know two guys who are experts.  Both have experience working with governments on projects like this or similar to this.  And, they have agreed to help.  There is another expert who I plan to contact.  Then, we’ll have the environmental team. Then we’ll move forward starting now.

If we can come up with a suitable plan and get a environmental permit we’ll move to phase II, the lake engineering.  We’ll be doing core drilling and geotechnical testing.  We’ll have to make sure the dam is safe.  We’ll need to be sure the lakebed doesn’t have sink holes that will cause this project to fail.  There will be oversight by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the TDEC Safe Dam Project. 

This is becoming a very serious project and I’ll tell you what, I’m feeling the heat. What we have going for us, more than anything else, is widespread public support.  That’s a good start and without that, the project would fail on it's own.  It has taken a year to get to this point.

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

Byron Begley
September 14, 2012 

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