Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee.  It is beautiful out there.  The air is very clear and cold.  The Great Smoky Mountains look spectacular.  The sky is partly cloudy.  Those clouds are puffy white.  A flock of crows just flew by.  What a great day.  I’m off today too but came in to write this report.

Little River was beautiful this morning too.  The water level is still falling but there is plenty of it meandering through our little town.  The gauge is reading 2.96 feet down from 7 feet Tuesday night.  The flow is currently 645 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 204 cfs.  The water temperature in town is 42 degrees and it is crystal clear. 

Fishing should be slow.  The water is colder in the mountains.  One exception would be the post spawn brown trout.  They are hungry.  Many people agree that right now is a good time to tangle with a big trout in the Smokies.  Use nymphs, give them some weight and let them tickle the bottom.  Or, toss a streamer at them.  These fish want a big meal.  Most people would fish for days without getting a strike.  Even the guys who know how to do this could have the same result.  It takes more patience, skill and tenacity than I have. 

We had a great TU meeting last night.  Some of the guys there, including me were the original members and organizers.  We started the Chapter 18 years ago and I served as the first President for 2 ½ years.  Rufus King has been President for over two years and he is awesome.  He stood up in front of our large group and talked about all the great things we have done individually and as a group but he didn’t take credit for anything himself. I'll give him credit. He is one of the finest leaders I have known. I respect his opinion as much as anyone I know. Not only is he the President of our Chapter and has been for a long time, he is also in charge of the acution at the Troutfest Banquet. That is where we raise most of the money we donate to the Park.   

Bill Gwinn, who called me in 1992  and asked me to organize our group was there.  Bill was the State Chairman of TU at the time.  Rick Murphree was there last night.  Rick was President of the Great Smoky Mountains Chapter of TU at the time and he attended the first meeting of the Little River Chapter.  Rick supported the founding of this new chapter and most of the members came from the Great Smoky Mountains Chapter in Knoxville. Rick serves on Trout Unlimited's National Board.  

Ken Henderson was there.  When the Chapter was organized I didn’t know many of the people personally.  I knew Eddy George and a few others.  I waited at the old library to see who would show up for that first meeting.  Ken Henderson was the first to walk in.  Then everyone I had contacted showed up.  The Little River Chapter was formed that night, 18 years ago.  I will never forget that night. 

Also last night, Steve Moore who is in charge of the Park Fisheries Department spoke.  He talked about our personal relationships.  After all, after 18 years of working with the Park, we have become friends.  Steve kind of got me choked up.  I remember when I first met with him in his office I was scared to death.  I knew Steve had some experiences with TU he did not feel good about.  But, that all changed over time as we all built a mutual trust. 

It has been a lot of fun and I guess this working and friendship relationship will go on forever.  This Chapter has become a model and that happened because a lot of smart, hardworking and nice people made it happen, every day, every month and every year.

Last night the board welcomed three new board members and officers.  One is Will Swann.  Will lives on the Little River just outside the city limits.  He is an avid angler and great guy.  He will serve on the board.  The other two actually work here.  Ethan McGroom is the youngest person on our staff.  He is smart, works hard and he is a very good person.  People like him.  Everyone who works here likes him. 

Bill Bolinger is the new Vice President.  What a perfect choice.  He works here part time.  He spent his working career at the National Lab in Oak Ridge.  We have been friends for a long time.  He has spent a lot of time working with the Fisheries Crew and without him, Troutfest would not be the same. 

Don’t forget, Mike Bone is tying at the shop tomorrow between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.  Mike is an excellent fly fishing guide and good man.  He is someone you really enjoy spending a day on the water with.  He has been guiding in the Smokies and on the tailwaters for decades.  I think I met him for the first time in the early to mid 1980’s.  I bet he has more time logged on the rivers than any guide around here.  He has learned a lot and he is willing to share his knowledge with you.  Just come by the shop tomorrow, get a cup of coffee and have a seat.  It will be a great day.

Have one yourself and thank you for being here with us.

Byron Begley
December 3, 2010 


Our fly tying classes are starting Saturday November 20th.  The first one is a beginner school.  To sign up just call the shop at 877-448-3474.  Daniel is posting the dates on our website today in the Schools Section.  The fly tying class schedule follows:

Saturday November 20 – Beginner Fly Tying
Saturday December 4 – Intermediate Fly Tying
Saturday January 8 – Beginner Fly Tying
Saturday January 15 – Intermediate Fly Tying
Saturday January 22 – Advanced Fly Tying
Saturday February 5 – Beginner Fly Tying
Saturday February 19 – Intermediate Fly Tying
Saturday February 26 – Advanced Fly Tying

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