So far our spring has been fantastic. We’ve had nice weather, maybe a little breezy at times but nice over all. We’ve also had great flows on the rivers, both freestones and tailwaters. Bug life is plentiful some days and sparse other days but either way the fish are feeding just fine and their girth shows it.
Even when we’ve fished the streams in the smokies and bugs are scarce the fish have been very aggressive on dry flies, especially between 10:00am-3:00pm. Sometimes the late afternoon bite will slow down on top so switching to nymphs can keep the bite going, but keep the dry’s handy because the evening bite will yield some good surface action. There are still quill gordons and blue quills around with the addition of tan caddis and the occasional brown stonefly. I also noticed several really early yellow sallies the other day crawling around the rocks.
The Holston River is fishing well all day with the current flows that TVA is putting out and the fish are healthy and aggressive and that’s putting it mildly. Midges are the main focus right now as we wait for the arrival of the caddis hatch. There are also plenty of opportunities for sight casting to fish “sipping” bugs which is a lot of fun, especially when we have been fishing nymphs most of the time. We’ve seen several sporadic caddis hopping around but no takers yet. Don’t worry though, it won’t be long until it all comes together.
The Clinch River hasn’t had ideal flows as the water has been off all day which can make for some finicky fishing. Long casts are necessary with fine tippet and long drifts. That being said, those up for the challenge can be rewarded with some quality and quite possibly some of the prettiest fish you’ll ever see. Hopefully they’ll start running water in the afternoons soon and things will be back to normal.
We also couldn’t wait any longer to start smallmouth fishing with this nice mild, warm weather we’ve had. Flows have been good but the water is still cold and even though the bite isn’t real aggressive we have found feeding fish and healthy ones at that. It feels sooooo good to get back at them and can’t wait to see what late spring has to offer. Spring smallmouth can be some of the best of the year as they’re moving around during pre-spawn.
We also had the opportunity to show our waters to Tim Holshlag who is a well known smallmouth fisherman and writer of several smallmouth books and articles. He is from Minnesota and spent many years fishing the Upper Mississippi. He is also the guy who created the blockhead popper and many other great smallmouth patterns. Check out his website at smallmouthflyangler.com.
If you are heading to East TN for your spring vacation or are simply looking for a place to go, we have plenty of fishing options to choose from. We currently have a few open dates for the second full week in April (11th-15th) as we had a cancellation come up. If you are interested in wetting a line give us a call, we’d love to show you what we have to offer in our beautiful area. Thanks for reading with us and we hope that you have a blessed day.