Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  We got some heavy rain last night.  I woke up once and listened as it poured continuously.  By midnight, the airport received 1.77 inches which was a record for yesterday’s date. At the shop our rain gauge reported 2.2 inches over a 24 hour period beginning at 8:30 am yesterday.  As you can imagine, Little River is rolling.  The water is a dark tannin color due to the leaves and in town there is some silt causing more turbidity.  The water temperature is currently 61 degrees at 8:30 am. 

The rain has stopped temporarily and it looks like the river has peaked for now.  The reading on the gauge below the “Y” is 3.57 feet or 1,050 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 78 cfs.  That’s quite a difference.  I would consider the streams blown out at this point.  Wading is dangerous.  I wouldn’t do it.  If you go fishing stand on the bank and try making casts or use a spinning rod.  Fishing in high turbid water can be very good but you have to be careful.

There is more rain expected today.  Once this front passes we will have some sunny but cool days.  I expect the water levels will be back to “fishable” by the weekend depending on how much more rain we get.

High water is good for nymphing and for catching large trout.  Joe, Ethan and Jack fished yesterday despite the windy conditions.  I don’t know how many they caught, probably several.  Jack only saw one good brown trout and one redd made by an early spawner.  But, the water was dark due to the leaves and the tannin from the leaves so visibility was not good.

Over the next few days I would use nymphs.  Girdle Bugs, big stonefly patterns, Prince Nymphs and Copper Johns would be my choice.  You might want to try a Slumpbuster, Meatwhistle or a similar heavy weighted fly.

Tomorrow night we will have a Town Meeting to get public input on how the right-of-way use should be determined.  Some people want to buy the large strip of land next to their property so they can build, develop, park cars and put signs on it.  Some people will need to buy some of the land to satisfy existing encroachments such as parking lots, buildings and signs.  I think the City Commission is fine with that. 

But, the City wants to save any excess for future use.  I hope we will have a long discussion about this issue tomorrow night.  Why save the land?  For one thing many people feel the greenspace and rural atmosphere is a benefit to our tourism business.  Maybe we will need some of that land in the corridor for other uses in the future, ten or twenty years from now. 

One use would be improved walkability.  We have a sidewalk on one side of the road and a bicycle path on the other. Both run from near the Park entrance out several miles to the other end of town.   There are two tunnels that pedestrians and bicyclists can use to get under the road from one side to the other.  They are spaced miles apart and crossing the road during peak tourist times is dangerous.  We may need more sidewalks, crosswalks and maybe some pedestrian bridges.  So, walkability is important, we all know that.

We don’t know what transportation needs will be important to enter the Park in the future.  Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited in the Country.  I know that Zion National Park has limited vehicle access during peak times there.  Visitors rely on a mass transit system to get them into and out of the Park during those times.  We may need one here some day.  Transit systems require parking and safe areas to load people onto buses.  That’s another potential use of the right-of-way property.  And that would give us an edge over Gatlinburg from a tourism perspective.

Are we going to be driving electric cars, electric bicycles and some form of golf carts in the future?  Maybe so.  What if gasoline hits $10 or $15 per gallon at some point?  I will be driving something electric if it does.  That would require a whole new transportation plan.  Again, land for parking and charging batteries would be needed. There is a very interesting article on the KNOXNEWS WEBISTE (CLICK HERE) about a new business in Knoxville that is making and selling electric bicycles for under $700.  They are setting up dealers now.  You should read this one.

We could have a train or trolley system in our future here.  A lot of people think a train would be a very appropriate way to build a tourism based economy like we have while still sustaining our heritage and lifestyle.  Residents who grew up here have a close historic relationship with rail systems or trains.  We even have a train museum here.  Townsend was the base for a train system years ago due to the logging industry.

We do not have a sewer system.  There are some small ones serving multiple businesses but not a real, full-blown system.  We may need one some day.  That takes land.

Some of these notions may be way out there but maybe not too far out.  That is what our City Commissioners are considering.

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

Byron Begley
October 27, 2010

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