Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee.  The sun shines bright this morning but it is cold, 24 degrees.  The frost is thick on the ground and rooftops and there is plenty of snow in the higher elevations of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Traffic is light in town.  This is off-season in the tourism business which is what most of the local economy here is derived from.  Prosperity here comes for the most part in the Spring, through the Summer and into the Fall.  Everyone’s pockets here get lighter in the Winter.

Little River is looking fine this morning.  The flow is 227 cubic feet per second right now.  Median flow for this date is 207 cfs.  The water temperature was 36 degrees, up from 32.5 yesterday morning.  It is going to be warmer today through Saturday.  Rain will arrive Saturday night then we should see some snow Sunday and Monday.  In a special weather statement from the National Weather Service they state:  “significant snow accumulation will be possible across the Smoky Mountains.”

There is not much fishing to report on around here.  We are getting a break from the bitter cold we have experienced lately and the water temperature in the Park’s streams will warm up some.  The brown trout are still hungry but maybe not so active right now.  If you go fishing today I would wait until the afternoon when the water is warmer.  The tailwaters are fishing well, especially the South Holston.

Rob Fightmaster will be tying at the shop tomorrow.  This is a Free Fly Tying Demonstration.  He will begin at 10:00 am and tie until 2:00.  Come on by.  Rob is a talented angler, guide and fly fishing lodge consultant.  He even worked here at one time.  Though he is a professional trout guide he knows a lot about warmwater and coolwater fishing.  He ties some great bluegill and bass bugs.   

Local crappie fishermen are busy at their sport.  I like those hardy guys.  It seems most of them are my age or older and they get out on the lakes and fish in the coldest weather.  Many of them pour their own jig heads and come here for dressings.  One person may come in and buy everything in chartreuse.  “That’s what they are hitting” they tell me.  Then the next angler might buy blue or white.  “That’s all they will touch” they say.  I can tell you that a pretty good amount of our materials end up on crappie jigs.  We have about everything they could want except the jigs themselves.  I like hearing their stories.  I used to crappie fish myself and some day I might go with one of these guys and have some fun.  I do like to eat crappie too.  Crappie fishermen around here keep track of their harvest just as any farmer would.  They can tell you at any moment how many fish they have kept this year.

I went to our monthly City Planning Commission meeting last night and ended up being Chairman.  I thought that might happen.  Mike Talley, (Tally-Ho Inn) has done a wonderful job as Chairman.  He is also a very close friend of mine.  But he ran for City Commission and won.  An elected official can’t serve as Chairman of the Planning Commission.  Only those appointed by the Mayor can serve.  Since many of our Planning Commissioners are new I guess I was the logical choice.  I was appointed by the Mayor to be a Commissioner.

We also have a new State Planner working with us.  His name is Joe Barrett.  Last night was his first meeting with us.  He has a Masters Degree in planning from the University of Kentucky.  He works for the State of Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.  They know all the state laws and how other communities do their planning.  We pay his department an annual fee and he is there to help us and now keep me out of trouble.  I will be working closely with him.  I noticed he called Pat “Mr. Mayor” and Mike “Mr. Talley”.  I’m going to change that right away.  I talked to Joe after the meeting and got to know more about him and his background.  We have a lot in common and we’re going to get along great.  One thing we don’t have in common is our age.  He is 18 years younger than me.

Herb Handly, Steve Fritz and I are meeting this afternoon concerning the re-building of Laurel Lake.  I think we are going to put a news release in the newspaper inviting citizens to a community meeting.  Then we can find out how much support or opposition there is from residents in our County.  The former Laurel Lake is located in the County, not in the City of Townsend.  We will be working with our new County Mayor, Ed Mitchell.  I talked to Ed Sunday at the Christmas Parade and told him we want to meet but I didn’t tell him why.  He said fine.

You may not know this but our Government has access to a satellite imaging system that is updated often, maybe daily.  It is like Google Earth.  I guess the tax assessors can watch this and find new buildings that are erected.  When I built our house in the County I didn’t need a building permit. But, when that last nail was driven, two guys from the tax assessors office showed up, measured the house and changed my tax bill for the next year.

I have a copy of the satellite view of the Laurel Lake property sitting on my desk now.  The scale is 1” = 400 feet.  My house and barn are clearly visible.  The property that would eventually become a County Park and Lake is 3” from our house.  That’s 1,200 feet.  I don’t know why I’m so interested in this project but it just occurred to me that some great fishing would be close to the house, within walking distance.  I’m really starting to like this idea.

The Appalachian Black Bear Rehabilitation and Release Center takes up a very small part of that property.  Lisa, who runs the bear center serves on our City Planning Commission.  She told me last night that for the first time in a while, they only have one bear.  That bear was born this Spring and was probably orphaned for some reason.  That bear will be released this Spring.  She will be getting more of them soon.  She is a biologist and she loves black bears.  They do great work at the center.

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

Byron Begley
December 10, 2010

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Our fly tying classes will be held in January and February.  To sign up just call the shop at 877-448-3474.  You can read more on our website in the Schools Section.  The fly tying class schedule follows:

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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