We are starting to see more and more cold days in the forecast and the water temps in the Smokies are starting to drop into the low 40’s. The browns are finishing up their spawn and the days are getting shorter which means we are having to start earlier in the morning for a full day on the water. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean the fishing is bad though. Nymphs will catch fish in the mornings and Blue Winged Olives will start to hatch around 11am or so, which means dry flies throughout the rest of the day. Also keep an eye out for bigger fish rising, we have been seeing several on each trip here and there.
Pheasantails and stonefly nymphs in sizes 18 to 12 will get you by until the bugs start hatching. For dries we have been using parachute bwo’s and adams from an 18 to a 14, no surprise there and the occasional october caddis in a 16 or 14. It has been an interesting fall so far and watching the browns spawn is really cool to see. Where these fish hide throughout the year at low water is unbelievable. They aren’t out for very long, but long enough to see them do their thing.
2 pair just feet from each other.
Don’t forget about the tailwaters this time of year either. There are still opportunities there for some good fishing whether you like fishing nymphs or big ugly streamers. TVA has been giving the rivers a break from generation here and there which allows more time to float and wade fish. Keep in mind that the tailwaters stay a fairly consistent temperature throughout the year even in the winter.
As the season winds down and the trips get more spaced out, we get some time on the water to jerk some jaws and play around a bit, try some new flies and scout out more spots. The smallmouth fishing has slowed down a lot and as it gets colder they will get into their wintering holes and wait for spring. This will give us plenty of time to stock back up on streamers and poppers for next season. In the mean time we will be in the park and tailwaters chasing trout, which like the cold water. I hope that the cold weather doesn’t stop you from getting out and getting in some fishing. Take care and hope to see you on the water.