Townsend, Tennessee
September 21, 2009

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is cloudy, foggy and we’ve got a little rain going on right now in Townsend.  The National Weather Service says there is a 100% chance.   They hit that one perfect.  And, there may be heavy rain.  There’s a good chance for rain tomorrow.

Little River looks really good right now.  The flow is high and there is some stain in the water.  If we don’t get a flood this would be a perfect day to fish.  The trout won’t be as spooky and you have a good chance of catching some larger, more wary fish.  I would try some streamers including wooly buggers and Puglisi Rainbow Trout patterns.  Big nymphs might work too.  Try a Prince or Girdle Bug.  The water was warm this morning, 66 degrees at the “Y”.  I think I would go up around Elkmont.  You probably won’t see many anglers or anyone else in the Park.  It’s quiet around here.

I stopped at the flow gauge below the “Y” this morning to take the temperature and read the gauge.  My buddy Terry from the U.S. Geological Survey was there working on the equipment.  It has been out of order for a few days.  The equipment is not transmitting data.  The problem is probably with the GPS that locks onto the satellite several times during the day to transmit the data.  We talked a while and I learned a lot about how they calibrate the gauges on larger rivers.

I’ve done flow tests on streams with the Park Service.  We stretch a rope across the stream then wade across taking readings.  At pre-determined intervals we measure the depth and using a flow meter record the pressure.  Using the width, depth and pressure you can determine the flow rate in cubic feet per second.  Terry performs this test on a regular basis to calibrate the gauges.  And sometimes they do it at high flow.  Heck they even do it on large rivers like the Cumberland and Tennessee River.  I didn’t know until today how that was done.  They can’t wade across and some readings must be taken at flood stage to calibrate the equipment.  He showed me the trick.

On his truck is a huge spool of strong steel cable.  He parks the truck at a bridge then stretches the steel cable across the river, walking across the bridge to get to the other side.  Once secured the cable holds a mechanical robot like machine.  It moves across the river, lowers a heavy weight that goes to the bottom and checks the depth and pressure at pre-determined intervals just like we do on the small streams in the Park.  And from that they get a pretty good idea what the flow rate is, even on large rivers.

He told me a tree that is flowing underneath the surface can cause some big problems.  I guess they would not loose a truck but a lot of expensive equipment could be dragged downriver never to be seen again.  They have to watch for boats too.  Up here they are always watching for kayakers and tubers when calibrating the equipment. 

I asked him about the temperature.  We used to get that information online.  He said there is a new temperature probe but it must not be transmitting the data to Nashville where the websites for our gauges in Tennessee give us the information.  He said he would try to get that set up for us.  I don’t mind dropping a thermometer in the river every day but it would save a lot of time to get the reading online.

So there you have it.  We all learn something every day. 

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

Byron Begley
September 21, 2009

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