We are out of the Christmas rush and looking forward to what the new year has in store. We have had some pretty sporadic weather in the last few Winters and that’s an understatement. One year we had record snowfall, the next was one of the warmest we’ve ever seen and this past Winter brought floods that stayed until Spring. In East TN you have to be prepared for anything, so I wonder what we will get this year?
All of the local rivers (Smokies streams/Tailwaters) have been running high this past week due to last weeks heavy rain. The water levels were on their way down when we had another round of steady showers which made the rivers high again.
We did manage to get out a couple of days before the water got high again and it was hit or miss depending on where you fished in the Smokies. The water was cold for the most part at around 40 degrees and the fish were pretty sluggish. The good thing about this time of year is you never know what’s laying in the riffles.
Becky’s first time fly fishing and she scored big at the first spot we hit.
The same ole stuff has been working well, pat’s nymphs, prince nymphs, pheasant tails, hares ears and kauffman stone. If you just have to throw a dry, I’ve seen the occasional fish rise to small black stoneflies in a size 18-16, but don’t count on catching numbers.
The Holston River has been our go to place as long as TVA gives us a good schedule to float on, which has been spotty with all this rain. On the bright side when we have been able to get out the fishing has been fantastic and we are still seeing good hatches of midges, crane flies and caddis. Nymphs are working well in the mornings, but around noon is when we’ve started seeing fish rising to dries.
Rudy’s first time fishing in freshwater and he wasn’t too shabby.
Whether you’re fishing riffles or flat water you can find fish rising, these fish can be picky and need a good presentation before they’ll take a fly. We are blessed to be able to fish 12 months out of the year, but the fact that we can sight fish to risers is awesome. If the fish get a little finicky and refuse your dry, hanging a small midge off the back may just be the ticket.
Sometimes while fishing we’ll see some pretty cool wildlife around the banks of the river such as deer, turkey, bobcats, etc. Yesterday I had the boat anchored while Rudy was casting at a couple of fish and happened to notice a fish sitting on the bottom right below the boat. At first glance I thought “big carp”, but did a double take and realized it wasn’t a carp.
Didn’t expect to see a Sturgeon hanging out so close to the boat.
TWRA started stocking lake Sturgeon in the Holston as well as the French Broad and Tennessee River back in 2000 and from what little we’ve heard they’ve done well in these rivers. This guy was around 4 ft. long and let us get several pictures of him. This was the icing on the cake.
After New Years business starts to slow down around the East TN area but the fishing can still be good. If you’re looking for a quiet getaway where the weather isn’t too bad, the room rates are cheap and you can catch some fish, than look no further than Townsend TN. We hope that you have a happy New Year and accomplish “some” of your resolutions. Take care and have a great day.