It has definitely been a cold, wet weekend and most of the rivers are feeling it. The Little River through Townsend got up to 1150 cfs yesterday and is now back down to fishable level at 475 cfs. The only problem with the water coming down is the water temperature following the same pattern. The water temp was up to around 55 degrees and is now down to around 45 degrees which is a big drop in just one day. 45 is still not too bad, but don’t expect much activity unless the flies are near the bottom. Fly selection isn’t real important so use what you have faith in, put on some weight and get the flies on the bottom. My personal favorites are prince nymph 16-10, hares ear 18-14, small caddis larvae 18-16 and a black stone 14-12.
If you decide to try and fish the Smokies then be careful in the fast, cold water. Wade slow and make sure you have secure footing. It’s probably not a bad idea to stop by Little River Outfitters and get a wading staff/early christmas gift for yourself if you have time.
The tailwaters have been fishing great, the Holston especially. Caddis in sizes 12-18 are coming off sporadically throughout the day along with midges, crane flies and small baetis duns. The amount of food in the water has the fish feeding pretty heavily below the surface and on several occasions (sunny days) the topwater bite can be great. Pheasant tails, hares ears, zebra midges and wooly buggers will take care of the subsurface action and Elk hair caddis, small parachute adams and griffith’s gnat will do the trick on top. It’s pretty special to be able to fish 12 months a year for trout, especially when you add in the fact that you’re occasionally dry fly fishing in the Winter.
A colorful rainbow from the Holston River.
The Holston produces some nice size fish in it’s endless riffles chocked full of food. It’s not uncommon to catch fish like this and bigger this time of year as the fish have grown quite a bit from the Spring. The fish are also very healthy as they are “football” shaped and not at all flabby.
One word to describe the fish in the Holston…….ANGRY!
There’s only one thing holding us back from spending everyday on the river and that has been heavy generation from TVA. With all of the rain we’ve gotten in the last couple of days all of our local tailwaters have had very little breaks in the generation schedules, but not enough to go fish. The rain is supposed to continue for the next couple of days but the percentage isn’t as high as the previous 2 days. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the weather holds off and the heavy flows will soon stop so we can get back to the river. In the mean time we are getting the fly boxes loaded back up and getting in some Christmas shopping. Take care and be safe on the water.