Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is windy and warm in Townsend, Tennessee.  I left home at 7:00 am.  It was still dark. When I drove past the cemetery at the intersection of Old Cades Cove Road and Old Tuckaleechee Road I saw a beautiful view.  Light from the East had lit the sky dimly.  The mountains were solid black.  I would have given anything to have had the time, a tripod and a camera.  And now, from my office the same scene is even more beautiful.  The black mountains are backlit with a pink light. I can’t see any detail on the mountains, just a black silhouette.  I should get here more often at this time of morning.  I guess I will soon, when the time changes.

Uh oh!  The USGS flow gauge went down sometime during the early evening yesterday.  Flow data is fed via satellite from that little building on Little River just inside the Park to an office in Knoxville and another in Nashville.  Then it is fed to a website in Nashville.  We all refer that website often.  I look every day. I can tell you that the flow is about normal for this date.  Median flow for October 27 is 79 cfs.

I will call Terry Phillips at the USGS office in Knoxville.  He maintains this flow gauge.  If I don’t contact him it could be days before anyone else will.  He has lots of sites to maintain.  And though the data could be reaching his office and the gauge equipment could be actually working, the problem could be with the internet feed.  What he looks at is not what we look at.  So, he doesn’t know it is not working sometimes.  We know each other pretty well now.  I am his local contact.

Fishing should be good but this wind is going to give you fits.  The leaves in the water are going to be a problem too.  Sometime during the Fall, every year, it seems like the trees have leaves one day and they are gone the next.  The massive shedding always happens on a windy day.  A cold front is moving in and rain will accompany it.  Lows will be near freezing by the weekend.

Brown and brook trout are spawning.  In some cases it may be over, especially in the highest elevations.  But all trout are feeding.  Josh had a guided trip in the Park yesterday.  He had a fellow with him who was new to the sport and had never fished in the Smokies.  He caught only four trout all day.  But, the trees gave him problems as you can imagine.  And he missed plenty of strikes.

Some excellent anglers are also in the streams this week.  They are catching plenty of trout.  Dry flies and nymphs are working.  Just use typical Smokies patterns like a Tellico, Prince Nymph, Pheasant Tail, Copper John or Hare’s Ear.  For a dry fly you should definitely have some Blue Wing Olive patterns in your box.  Elk Hair Caddis, Stimulators and Parachute Adams in varying sizes should work fine too.  Be on the lookout for large brown trout.

We are holding a Laurel Lake ad-hoc committee at 9:00 am.  I am chairman of a group that hopes to re-build Laurel Lake.  The impoundment was drained 20 years ago after being deemed unsafe by the State of Tennessee.  Government Officials, neighbors to the lake including me and other people who want to see this beautiful lake restored are involved.  Our committee consists of a State Senator, two State Representatives, 4 County Commissioners, the County Mayor and about 15 other people.

I formed the ad-hoc committee to design a concept plan.  One member is a partner at Barge Wagonner engineering, one of the largest firms in the State.  Another engineer serves.  He will eventually live next to the lake.  He has worked for the Corps of Engineers and has been involved in many impoundment projects.  Herb Handly is a retired head of the Visitors Bureau here.  Gordon Wright is a County Commissioner who grew up fishing, swimming and scuba diving in the lake.  Chad Rochelle is a realtor and runs the golf course at Laurel Valley which is next to the lake.  My qualifications are, I like lakes.  A writer for the Daily Times asked is she could be here for the meeting.  So she may attend.

After the concept plan is finished and approved by the committee the County Mayor will write a letter to Doug Overby (State Senator) and Art Swann (State Representative). He will ask them to begin working with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. They will work out the details on how to fix this dam.  The United States Marine Corp engineer unit in Knoxville will do the excavation work.  The whole 150 or so acres will be a County Park.  The lake should be about 50 acres in surface area. 

We are trying to do this project with all volunteer labor.  We won’t have any trouble finding more volunteers.  I bet we could build the hiking trails in a week.

So in one hour we will begin.  I can’t wait.  Now, daylight has illuminated the valley and the mountains.  Good morning!

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

Byron Begley
October 27, 2011 

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