It must be something in the water

We’ve been all over the place the past week fishing in the Smokies and back on the Holston. Regardless if you enjoy the hunt for wild trout in the streams of the Smokies or leisurely floating down one of the tailwaters for larger fish with some shoulders, there’s plenty to choose from in East TN. The only thing to worry about is if it’s going to rain or not, in which case you should always bring a rain jacket. This is the rainy season after all.

A couple of years ago I met Doug and Dave who were taking the beginners fly fishing class at Little River Outfitters. They wanted to dive further into the sport and see other styles of fly fishing since they had already fished the Smokies. With that being said a trip on the Holston out of the Hyde was what they were looking for.

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Both Dave and Doug with a couple of two-handers.

Fishing from a drift boat is a complete 180 from wading small streams for the obvious reasons, but the fact that you’re floating along with your flies instead of being stationary can take some getting used to. There are several things to adjust while on the big rivers which take some time to get the hang of but that’s what these guys were after and it paid off.

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The day ended on a good note.

As we float further into spring and the hatches tend to be more reliable by the day, the fishing only gets better. We haven’t seen any great dry fly fishing yet but we’ve fooled a few fish here and there to take a fly off the top. Sporadic surface action has kept us fishing nymphs about 90% of the time which we’re ok with since the results have been nice. Give it a little longer and we’ll start seeing those splashy rises.

I also got to spend 2 great days with Dicky and Josh Watson. This father and son team aren’t strangers to fly fishing, but don’t get to fish the Smokies very often and wanted to work on some things in the park. They also wanted to take a float down the Holston to get away for the day and see some new water.

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Like father like son.

The park is fishing great right now with plenty of food such as march browns, tan caddis, and yellow sallies in and around the water. A dry dropper combo is hard to beat, but if you’re not of fan of that rig then you’ll have no problems fishing singles of either. Stay low and wade softly though, the fish can be finicky on a sunny day and knowing how to approach the stream can make all the difference.


Dicky getting the drop on a fish.

Day 2 was off to a rough start with thunderstorms, cold rain and LOTS OF WIND! Did it make things tougher? Yes, but did it discourage the Watson’s? No! We worked on shooting line and casting in the wind and we were back in the game. The fish were active even though the storms were blowing through and even though we didn’t see much bug activity the fish were filling up on nymphs.

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A couple of slabs back to back.

The fish in the Holston have an attitude problem and don’t give up so easily. Long runs with high jumps and plenty of head shaking means sometimes you lose the fish. Even though Dicky and Josh got to see this first hand they didn’t let it bother them and kept right on fishing. That’s fishing sometimes and it happens to everybody, myself included. If you caught every fish you hooked you’d find a different sport that was more of a challenge.

We’re getting some severe weather that’s going to hit us starting tonight and it’s going to hang around for a couple of days. This will more than likely blow out some of the streams and rivers in our area, but who knows maybe not. Stay tuned to the fishing report for the next couple of days for further news. Take care and have a blessed day.


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