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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains.  The skies are clear and the temperature is 61 degrees in Townsend, Tennessee this morning.  This will be a beautiful Fall day.  Rain is coming tomorrow and it should last through Thursday night.  Then, it is going to cool off.  We’ll have lows in the 40’s in a couple of days, just in time for the opening of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Little River is flowing at 91 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.58 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 88 cfs.  As you can see, we are just barely over normal flow.  Normal flow for October is fairly low.  I think that will change soon.  The water temperature is a cool 60.9 degrees again.  That will change too.

Fishing is good in the Southern Appalachians.  I have talked to several anglers who support that theory.  Some people are walking into the Smokies and fishing at either Metcalf Bottoms or at the Townsend entrance.  Rangers are letting people in the Park on foot.  If you are willing to hoof it, you will catch some Smokies trout.  Others are fishing in the Cherokee National Forest.  I talked to one fellow yesterday afternoon who fished the Tellico River area the day before.  He said fishing was great.  He was fishing with a friend of mine.

Trout are taking both dry flies and nymphs.  Yellow dry flies are what we are recommending.  Orange Stimulators and Orange Palmers will work too.  Green Weenies and Barbie Bugs are still catching fish.  Most important right now is stealth and presentation.  The water is fairly low so you need to do everything possible to avoid being seen by the trout.  That fly also needs to drift at the same speed as the current it is in.

Brown trout, big ones, are out in the open during the day.  We are going to have some awesome “catch of a lifetime” opportunities starting tomorrow.  It is going to be overcast and probably raining off and on.  Awesome.

Until we get some more water, I think the smallmouth bass fishing has become tougher for wade fishermen in Little River.  But, with the cloud cover coming and probably some rain, that too should change.

It looks like TVA will be generating all day below Norris Dam.  That’s not good for wade fishermen.  The schedule looks about the same at Cherokee Dam for today.

I believe, from what I’m reading that Great Smoky Mountains National Park will open very soon.  Bill Haslam, our Governor got the word Friday afternoon from the U.S. Department of the Interior. He could open the Park by purchasing as many days as he wants for $60,100 per day.  If you do the math on how much Tennessee is losing in tourism revenue, and the taxes derived from that, sixty grand per day is a no-brainer. 

The problem is, the banks were closed Friday before the Department of the Interior gave him the number.  Then, the banks were closed for the weekend.  Well guess what, yesterday was Columbus Day.  The banks were closed for that. 

It seems to me, if you could close down the U.S. Federal Government, you could open a bank long enough to transfer some funds to open the Park.  Why not write a check and deliver it personally in a jet?  Heck, e-mail them an IOU.  I would have driven to Washington Saturday in my truck and delivered the check myself. 

The problem probably is, there would be nobody in Washington to accept a check or IOU because it was after 5:00 pm on Friday before a weekend and a national holiday.  I’m sorry if I’m sounding a little bummed out by this but I can’t help it.

Governor Haslam promises to be working on the problem this morning.  You can read the article in the Daily Times by CLICKING HERE.

I make it a policy not to mix business and politics.  I have turned down countless people who I know personally, when running for public office, from placing their signs on our property.  You have probably noticed that I never mention politics on the Fishing Report.

I made one exception when Bill Haslam was running for Governor and I’m going to come clean right now.  I sat next to Mark Cate one day every month for two years, when we both served on the Blount County Chamber of Commerce board.  Mark and I always had a great time at those meetings.  We become friends.  When Bill Haslam decided to run for Governor, Mark was one of the people involved in his campaign.  Later Mark became the Governor’s Chief of Staff.  Now he is the special advisor to the Governor, I think. 

Mark asked me to be part of a business round table discussion held in Maryville during the campaign.  I was one of 16 business owners in the room.  There were many people from the press there of course. I sat next to Bill’s wife and really liked her.  She and I talked quite a bit.  I did ask Bill some questions but I don’t remember what they were.  I’m sure they had something to do with fishing or hunting.  We had fun, Bill seemed like a good guy and it was over before I knew it.

Later in the campaign, it was time for the candidate to show up in Townsend for a whistle stop.  That could not happen at the two most likely spots in town because they were funded or partially funded by County Government.  Since our store is a place that everyone knows exists, mainly because it is next to the Post Office, Mark asked if they could hold the “meet and greet” here.  I said yes.

The big day came.  An advanced party showed up and placed “Bill Haslam for Governor” signs all over the place.  Soon after that, the big motor home pulled in.  I walked out and greeted Bill and his family as they stepped out of the bus.  Lots of people showed up.  Bill, his wife and kids were in the shop talking to the citizens who came to see them.  After a while they left.  The signs remained.

I thought about removing the signs that night when I left work.  I hated to do that.  All day the next day I fretted about those signs.  I thought about how many friends I had turned down over the years.  So, the second night I pulled up the signs and sent Mark an e-mail telling them I had them at home. 

The Governor and his family live about 8 miles from the store when they are not in Nashville.  He’s a good guy and as far as I know he is doing a good job.  I don’t keep up with State government much. 

The funny thing is, people around here thought that the Governor and I were friends. I was perceived, inaccurately as being a man of influence.  I didn’t know it.  During our big controversy with the Department of Transportation here, I was in charge of trying to fix it on behalf of the city.  At a public meeting, I was asked “Why don’t you call the governor?”  I was asked that several times in meetings.  My answer was, “I don’t know the Governor and have no idea how to call him”.  “I’ve met him but I’m sure he doesn’t remember me”.  I was telling the truth.  That notion goes back to that whistle stop. 

Anyway, I think the Park will open quickly and we will be fishing and driving anywhere we want.  Also, I’m looking forward to those furloughed employees getting back to work. I hope we don’t encounter some sort of snag.  

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

Byron Begley
October 15, 2013

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