Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  Wow, we got some wind last night and heavy rain this morning.  Leaves are falling.  When I arrived at the swinging bridge this morning the river appeared to have large brown and gold islands scattered in areas void of flowing water.  The leaves have piled up and everywhere you look in the water you see them.  The wind last night partially stripped the trees.  It’s warm, 60 degrees.  The water temperature is warmer too, 57 degrees.  More rain is expected over the next two days. 

The flow in Little River is rising pretty fast.  Right now the gauge near the “Y” is reading 1.5 feet or 70 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 86 cfs.  I think we’ll go way past that before the day is over.  The National Weather Service reported some areas around us got 1” to 1.5” of rainfall.  Our gauge showed .70 inches.  A lot of the rain that moved through missed us.

This may not be a good day to be fishing in the Park for safety reasons.  We may get some severe thunderstorms with damaging wind.  But, after this front passes the fishing will be excellent.  More water means better fishing especially if the water is stained a little.  Dry flies may not be productive but nymphs and streamers will.  After the water clears, dries will be productive again.  Trout are feeding now on insects and worms that have been washed into the stream.  Try a San Juan Worm in the natural worm color.  It works well here at times and on the tailwaters when we have rain events.

I would probably tie a Girdle Bug onto some 8 pound tippet and hope for a big brown trout.  But, wait until the chance for severe thunderstorms pass.  This is not a good day to be on the lakes.  You might get your boat spun around or worse.

I’m looking at the radar now.  It appears the worst of this storm has passed.  Maybe you should go fishing.  Be careful.

I’m going to be the facilitator of a town meeting Thursday evening.  We are going to provide a forum for public input concerning the Right of Way in our city.  As the liaison between the city and Tennessee Department of  Transportation my job is to communicate the City’s position on how decades old encroachments are settled.  The City wants all non-moveable and essential encroachments to be settled either by a purchase or lease between landowners and TDOT.  But, the City also wants to limit the amount of land sold and taken out of the public ROW.  Some people want to buy all the land they can even if they don’t have improvements on the property.

After all encroachments are settled, the City wants to lease the remaining Right of Way for several reasons.  First, we don’t want any more encroachments like the ones that got us in this mess.  Second, the City wants to keep plenty of greenspace to preserve the rural scenic appearance of the town.  And third, the City would like to have that extra land available for future public needs.

We don’t know what the future will hold for us.  The Park is the most visited National Park in the Country.  At some point the Park Service could limit the vehicle traffic entering the gates especially during peak travel times.  That would require some sort of mass transit system and the need for public parking.  The excess right of way could be used for that.  We may need and get a sewer system.  That takes land.  Most people think our town would be better off with more pedestrian and wheelchair mobility.  That would require crosswalks, sidewalks on level land, overpasses and that requires land.  Will we be driving electric vehicles or golf carts in town in the future?  They may require special lanes, parking and plug-ins for charging batteries.

I’m not the decision maker, only the messenger.  In my opinion though, the City needs to look into the future, make plans, get estimates, obtain designs and have shovel ready projects approved in case we are able to get our hands on some grant money.  The City of Alcoa just built a huge overpass for pedestrians.  It was planned and ready for construction when stimulus money was offered for shovel ready projects.

Planning for these opportunities require public input.  I’m hoping Thursday night will be the first of many town meetings to discuss our future.  Several hundred people have been notified about this meeting.  I hope a lot of people show up.  Due to the importance of this meeting I might get some heat.  But, that’s the way good planning starts.  People should be heard. 

It is going to be an interesting night.

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

Byron Begley
October 25, 2010

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