The past couple of days have been a mixed bag of extreme weather. We have had some pretty unusual conditions going from nice to miserable and back to nice, but that is becoming the norm. The next few days are looking pretty good though with sunny afternoons and highs in the 50’s, shoot we’ll take it.
Double up on the smartwools.
The streams in the Smokies haven’t been much different from the changing weather pattern. They’ve been high and low around 6,000 cfs to 650 cfs with drastic temperature changes from almost 50 degrees to back down to 38 degrees within 24 hrs. These conditions can be down right tough, but it’s not completely out of the question to catch a few fish.
The hardest thing has been keeping the ice out of the guides.
The fishing wasn’t as slow as I thought it would be today in the Smokies. It wasn’t easy by any means but the fish would eat if the fly was close enough to them. The most productive spots were deeper pools with slow current and getting the flies to the bottom was a must. Fly selection should be pretty basic (pheasant tails, hares ear, prince nymphs and birds nest). This type of fishing isn’t everyones favorite but we’ll do what we can to feel some life on the end of the line this time of year. Another thing that was important was fishing a run “hard”, with long, slow, repetitive drifts. The first couple of drifts are meant to hit the fish in the head to wake him up.
Well worth the effort.
The tailwaters are looking a lot better and by that I mean the schedules look better. The Holston has had some better flows as of lately, but the water has been really cold and most of the bug life is strictly small midges. The upside to fishing midges is that you’ll usually see a decent hatch of them offering some good dry fly fishing from 11 to 3.
You can find plenty of these sipping in the riffles, but keep your eyes peeled for the occasional big boy.
The water has gotten so cold in Cherokee Lake that a huge shad kill has occurred on the Holston. Loads of dead shad are in the river and along its banks. This can sometimes be a very exciting event for fly fishermen, but because of the numbers of dead shad it’s hard for the fish to notice your fly drifting along with them. Seagulls by the thousands are taking full advantage of the situation and doing their part to clean up the river.
Like something out of a horror movie.
The thought of spring with quill gordons in the Smokies and the caddis hatch on the Holston is what is keeping us going. It will be here soon enough and everything will be back to normal. If you are thinking of booking a trip for the spring and getting in on some of the best fishing of the year GIVE US A CALL. Take care and have a great day.