Townsend, Tennessee
December 5, 2009

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is a beautiful day in Townsend if you are like me and love snow.  Snow is coming down, hard right now.  The roads are OK.  They are still too warm to freeze and the high temperature is supposed to get up to 37 so they probably won’t freeze.  The mountains are a different story.  I can’t see them.  Visibility right now is probably ½ mile, well I guess it is less than that.  But, I can imagine up high we are getting more snow than down here and it won’t melt up there.

Little River looks great.  The water is high and the water temperature in town is 44 degrees.  You could probably catch some stockers.  The lower elevation streams might produce for you.  I would think nymphs, weighted and fished deep or possibly some small Blue Wing Olive dry flies might work.  This looks like a BWO day to me.  They will be hard to see with the snow hitting the water. Be careful wading!

We have a lot going on at the shop today.  First, Walter Babb is teaching a Beginner Fly Tying Class.  Also, Jack Gregory is conducting a Free Fly Tying Demonstration downstairs.  We should be busy today.  Christmas and other holidays are sneaking up on all of us.

I spent 2 1/2 hours yesterday with Jerry Cunningham, our County Mayor.  Maribel Koella was there for two hours. We covered a lot of ground.  One of the topics of utmost interest to all of us is the future of Laurel Lake and the county park that will be formed when the lake is backed up again.  Laurel Lake was drained many years ago when someone determined the dam was not up to State standards.  This fifty acre lake bed is a few hundred yards from our house and very close to Laurel Valley, a gated subdivision and golf club.  The background view of the lake are the mountains, a few of many that surround Cades Cove.  This is a most picturesque setting that we once loved to visit.  Now it is gone.

Some local people in our community decided to do something about Laurel Lake.  One citizen found ten of us to put up $400 each.  Some equipment was rented and volunteers removed the trees from the lake bottom.  That was this Spring.  Nothing else has been done and the fellow I gave the $400 to has not returned my call with any information. I heard they were saying it would cost about $180,000 to rebuild the dam.  We learned today from Jerry that the total project to re-build the dam and build the county park on the remaining 100 acres would cost closer to $1 million.  Another problem is the newly formed wetland.  There was never a wetland there before the lake was built.  Now that it has been drained there is one.  So an offsetting wetland must be built somewhere else to satisfy some legal issues.

There will need to be a plan and some engineering costs  to get started.  Then we'll have to raise the million bucks. That is no small feat but it can be done.  Below is a photo of the lake bed during the cleanup period.  You can click on the photo and read a story I wrote for the Little River Journal about Laurel Lake.

Laurel Lake

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

Byron Begley
December 5, 2009

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