Townsend, Tennessee
December 11, 2009

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  When I began loading my truck with camping and hunting gear at 7:15 this morning the temperature was 18 degrees.  I thought to myself, “I wonder how many people would think I’m crazy if they knew what I’m preparing for?”  Tomorrow morning when we step outside to go hunting at 6:00 am it will probably be colder than it is now.  We’ll be in the mountains.  The ground is frozen solid and covered with frost.  The water temperature in Little River at the swinging bridge is 38 degrees.  Trout pretty much stop eating when it gets that cold.  Fishing will be slow today and tomorrow in the Smokies.

I came in early to get this report written before going hunting.  Townsend is very quiet.  I might have seen three or four cars this morning.  Crows are everywhere.  I noticed that yesterday too.  They look larger than normal.  I believe they fluff their feathers out when it is cold.

There is plenty of water in the streams and believe me, you do not want to fall in.  Terrible things could happen in a short period of time.  If you must go fishing don’t take any chances.  The high temperature today is supposed to rise to 39 degrees down here in the valley.  It will be much colder in the mountains.  The temperature will drop to 22 tonight in the valley, again it will be much colder up high.

I’m excited.  I guess I’m like any 58 year old kid going on a hunting or fishing trip, especially one who really enjoys the outdoor sports.  You’ve got to really like the outdoors to be in a wilderness area, enduring sub freezing conditions and hunting bear and boar.  That’s what I’ll be doing until Sunday night.  I know, most people will be sitting in their warm homes watching a ball game.  I don’t like ball games.  I haven’t watched one this year.     

One time Jack and I were fishing the Gibbon River in Yellostone in October.  We were trying to fish with the cold wind blowing snow sideways.  We walked right by some huge bison that were laying down.  The bison didn’t even blink.  They just layed there with their eyes closed.  They were covered with snow.  I told Jack I was getting cold and the fishing was slow.  He looked at the thermometer hanging on his vest.  It was 8 degrees.  We went back to camp and started a big campfire. 

Brad, Frank and I were staying in a cabin in Manistee, Michigan.  We were there fishing for lake run brown trout.  When we arrived there was 24 inches of snow on the ground.  Our guide gave us the option to back out.  After all it was supposed to get down to 5 degrees that night.  We were there to fish.  And that we did, three days of floating that river in a dory and the temperature never got above 20 degrees the whole time we were there.  We didn’t catch one fish.  But we were on the water at daybreak and didn’t get back to the cabin until dark every evening.

I guess my friends and I are different from a lot of folks.  I know plenty of people like us.  But we are rare as a total percentage of the American population. I’ve been this way all my life.  I got up at 5:30 am this morning and I’ll do the same tomorrow and Sunday.  My friends and I will walk out of that cabin and it will be cold as heck.  But, every one of us will have a smile on our face.  We will be doing what we enjoy most.  I know many of you enjoy the same sports I do.  A lot of you will be doing the same thing this weekend.  We are probably considered a little crazy by a lot of people, don’t you think?  Who cares!

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

Byron Begley
December 11, 2009

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