Townsend, Tennessee
October 28, 2009

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is a beautiful morning in Townsend.  I’m at home working on the Little River Journal without interruptions.  But I did step outside and look around.  A lot of leaves fell yesterday and last night.  We experienced constant rain all day yesterday and most of the night.  The gauge at the shop measured 1.15” of rainfall.  The Airport got .65”. 

Today the sun is bright, the air is clear and I can see Rich Mountain from our front porch in high resolution detail.  The high temperature today will be around 70 degrees and it will reach the mid 70’s by Friday.  It will be warm at night through the week. The rain will return Friday night.

The water temperature will rise in our streams and the fishing will be good.  Little River is moving very strong this morning.  The current flow is 505 cubic feet per second and it is dropping.  This is a new record for this date.  The highest flow on October 27th for the past 44 years was 459 cfs in 2007.  That’s hard to believe, that was a drought year.  I bet we were feeling good that day.  Normal for this date is 84 cfs.

Be careful wading.  There is a lot of flow, the streams are high.  I would stay near the bank and chunk nymphs or streamers into the runs and eddys.  I don’t know if Little River is stained.  I haven’t seen it today.  The rain we experienced yesterday was not heavy, it just kept doing it all day. Brown trout and brookies are in the spawning mode.  The brook trout are beautiful in their spawning colors.  You are going to hook a lot of leaves today if you go.  Be prepared for that frustration.  Personally I would wait until tomorrow to go fishing in the Smokies.  The water will be lower and warmer.

Paula and I plan to go fishing on one of the lakes Friday.  There is only a 20% chance for rain.  Those are some of the best odds we’ve had this year.  Usually when we have planned to go fishing the chance for rain runs up to 100%.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission will meet tomorrow at 1:00 and on Friday at 9:00 am.  The meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn on Cedar Bluff Road in Knoxville.  I called the Director’s office yesterday and talked to his assistant.  She said the Wildlife Management Committee will make presentations to the Commission first then the Fisheries Management Committee will begin their open meeting.  She did not know when the Fisheries Management Committee would meet.  My guess is 2:00 pm.  I’ll be there at 1:00.  The Committees will make their decisions about 2010 regulation changes and vote.  Then, on Friday the whole Commission will vote on the Committee proposals.  Usually, when a Committee decides on something it will pass.

So, what’s the excitement about.  One is the Caney Fork River below Center Hill Dam proposed regulation changes.  TWRA is proposing that the rainbow and brook trout have a protected slot limit of 14” to 20” on that river.  But, an angler could keep one over 20”.  Also they have proposed changing the minimum size of brown trout that can be harvested  to 22”, up from 18”.  Additionally they propose to decrease the creel limit on brown trout to one fish instead of two. 

But they are also going to consider some other changes not proposed by the agency biologists, but due to public input.  Those changes would be:

Making the brown trout protected size up to 24” with only one harvested over 24”. 
Changing the creel limit to 5 trout per person per day, which is currently 7 trout.

I didn’t see it on the agenda but there is a rumor the Commission will discuss a Guide License.  Guides would have to pay a fee, show proof of Liability Insurance and proof of a completed CPR course. 

I support the proposed new rainbow and brook trout regulations, raising the brown trout protected size to 24” and lowering the creel limit to 5 fish. I plan to stand up and say that to the commission.  I’m sorry to those who disagree.  I’m just one person, with my own opinion, and one with very little influence.  I believe these regulations will improve the fishery and make the Caney Fork one of, if not “the” best trout fisheries in the East.

On the agenda Friday are two presentations.  One is to Chris Simpson for Wildlife Biologist of the Year.  The other is to Jim Habera for Fisheries Biologist of the Year.  Congratulations to these two worthy recipients.  Your awards are well deserved.  Jim is a friend of mine who I have known for years.  Way to go buddy!

I’m hoping the Agency will let me take photos and report to you in the November issue of the Little River Journal.  I wouldn’t blame them if they don’t let me do it.  My big flash unit would be a distraction to them.  But I’m going to take a camera or two anyway and try.

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

Byron Begley
October 28, 2009 

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