Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  The sun shines bright on Townsend this morning.  Traffic is very light at this time.  I did notice quite a few people walking on the bicycle trail and a couple of people riding bicycles.  A few trees are starting to show their fall colors and leaves are dropping already.  It will be a while before people start showing up for the big color change but you can tell Fall is not far off.  The only problem is, it’s still hot.  Daily highs are going to be in the high 80’s for a while. 

Little River is flowing below normal again.  We have a chance for rain today so that may change.  But for now, the flow is 53 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 71 cfs. 

Fishing has been good.  Trout are feeding and active due to the cooler water temperatures in the streams.  You might want to fish higher up during the day where the water will be coolest.  I would choose the Elkmont area and above, high up on the Middle Prong of the Little River or drive up the West Prong of the Little Pigeon to the higher elevations.  I would still stick with terrestrials and attractor dry patterns.  Beetles, ants and small Yellow Stimulators should work fine.  Green Weenies are working well too.  Stay hidden, use light tippet and get a good drift.  You can get closer to the trout in the riffles and faster moving water.

The Park has a new Chief Ranger, Clayton Jordan.  He seems to be very qualified for the job.  I think our last Chief is working in Grand Canyon now.  You can read more about Clayton in the DAILY TIMES HERE

The Tennessee Department of Transportation will be meeting with Townsend residents and business owners on October 5th.  The problem started this year when a property owner wrote TDOT a letter and said he was being treated unfairly.  The city forced him to remove some new structures he placed on the right-of-way.  TDOT investigated and found about 80 encroachments on the ROW, some dating back to the 1950’s.  The department sent letters to the property owners telling them to move the encroachments.  The encroachments included fences, signs, swimming pools and portions of buildings.  Others were small things such as boulders, landscaping and lighting.  Also there are parking lots that have been serving businesses for decades.  In a few cases, all of a business’ parking is on the right-of-way.  So, it’s a mess.  TDOT is planning to sell or lease the property where these encroachments exist to the adjoining landowners if it can be determined the property to be sold or leased is excess.

The City of Townsend asked me to be the liaison with TDOT.  So, I’m meeting with the Regional Director this afternoon.  I also hope to meet with the man who is in charge of the Excess Land Coordinator too.  I’m hoping our City can lease the remaining right-of-way and I'll work with him on that.

The right-of-way, which is very wide (about 300 feet) has just been surveyed by an independent company.  I can’t wait to see it. 

I’ve found myself in a lot of meetings lately because of this.  I had several yesterday.  I’m also in close contact with our State Senator who has been a huge help.  I don’t know how the State operates and I’m going to have to learn fast.  I’m excited about meeting with the folks at TDOT today.  The director of our region seems like a nice guy.  He’s also very smart and young.  The Department of Transportation is a vital government entity.  Lots of big money is spent and a lot of the money comes from the Federal Government. 

After the smoke clears here, my plan is to look into and apply for all available grants for highway improvement and enhancements.  It was announced yesterday that Townsend just received a $5,000 grant for our police department from TDOT.  Some other cities will receive several hundred thousand dollars.  Our City’s Land Use and Transportation Plan is up to date and runs through the next ten years.  Our ultimate goal is to bury the power lines, add street lights that comply with the Night Skies Alliance and make our town more friendly to pedestrians. 

It is essential that we have a good working relationship with TDOT.  That is going to be my job.  I also want to make sure we can do something for my friends who own businesses in Townsend.  Some of these cases are what I would call an “extreme hardship”. 

So, it’s going to be another interesting day.

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

Byron Begley
September 16, 2010

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