Fall in East TN can be spectacular with stunning views of colorful Mountain sides from the middle of October till sometimes almost Thanksgiving. This year has been quite a bit different and the weather has turned cold quick. Here we are in “SNOW-VEMBER” and we’ve already seen several heavy snow falls in the mountains along with dustings in the valley. There have also been the occasional flooding problems here and there but that has settled down and the water looks great. The only threat to the fishing has been the water temps which have ranged anywhere from the low 50’s to the mid 30’s which can definitely throw the fishing off axis.
Glenn landed several fish like this last week and deserved everyone of them for fishing in terrible conditions.
The fishing hasn’t been bad at all it’s just that the temps make it tough to stay warm and keep moral high. It’s pretty bad when you catch a nice fish and don’t want a picture with it just to keep your hands from touching the water, but I give credit to anyone that will come out and fish in those conditions. Fishing cold mountain streams means changing techniques to fit the situations. Dry fly fishing is almost completely gone now but fishing nymphs can be just as fun if done right and can even produce some better sized fish, not to mention it keeps the rod bent in tough conditions. Small nymph’s like 18’s and 16’s with light tippet (5x-6x) will do the trick.
Something else to keep in mind is staying out of the fast water where the fish would have to work hard to swim. Cold water slows the fish’s metabolism way down making them sluggish and they’re not going to want to waste energy to get a small meal. Slower pools will definitely produce more activity. Just make sure to add the right amount of weight for the water you’ll be fishing and get those flies to the bottom.
Jules landed this beauty on a number 18 nymph in frigid temps.
The good news is that starting Friday we should see a warming trend with days in the 50’s and even 60’s which will be a nice break from the teens which we’re sitting in while writing this report. This dramatic change in weather should turn the feed on and get the fish active. Heck, it will be nice to just be on the water with the sun shining. The tailwaters are also still running high but should be cutting off soon once they get the lakes down to their winter levels. When this happens it should be fantastic since the fish haven’t seen much in the way of fishing traffic.
9,000 cfs isn’t easy to fish in but it can be done.
Our season is winding down and we’re seeing less and less traffic on the roads and more open pull off’s in the Smokies. This is that time of year when solitude can be found once again on the river where you might not see another fisherman all day. I love this time of year personally, it’s become one of my favorite times of year and we get a lot of fishing done. If you’re in town and would like to get out on the water don’t give up on the idea of catching fish; GIVE US A CALL and we’ll take you out and show you how.
With the arrival of fall we’re seeing cool nights with lows in the 40’s and high’s in the 70’s. The water temps are dropping slowly and you can tell a difference in the fish’s attitude. The Smokies have been fishing well with both dries and nymphs and there have been quite a few bugs flying around throughout the day. One of our favorite hatches in the fall are the Isonychia’s or slate drakes which are size 12 dries and have started popping off in the mountains.
Is there anything better than kids catching fish?
The tailwaters are having decent flows and the fish have been pretty active despite the warmer than average water for this time of year. It’s not fatally hot but fish don’t need to be played very long or handled too much. I recently helped out Mike Bone on a float trip down the Holston and the fish were fairly aggressive and had good weight to them which was great to see them surviving the summers. There were a few caddis and cahills hatching but midges were in far greater numbers. The fishing on the Holston should be great this fall and winter.
2 fish in 4 casts with another one breaking off. Bill had it going on.
As for the smallmouth enthusiast the fall bite can be great here in East TN with the smallmouth bulking up before the cold weather sets in. The fish have been very aggressive to say the least and have been taking both topwater and streamers. With some of our tailwaters being smallmouth rivers the water takes longer to cool down, making for a longer than normal season. This changes from year to year but you can usually bank on the bite going strong pretty much through October and sometimes the even the first of November. Every weather channel I have seen says we’re in for a cold winter so we’ll just have to see, but we’ll be out there no matter what.
Some thick slabs putting an 8 wt to the test.
Seeing someone hook up with a fish is always fun but “doubles” are something you don’t forget especially when both fish are around 18 inches, that’s when things get hairy.
A thing of beauty.
The fall might just be the best time of year with the leaves changing and the cool air coming in, but it gives us one last good run before the nasty weather hits us leaving only memories until spring. If you want to get out on the water GIVE US A CALL, we’ll be out there anyways so you might as well be with us. Take care and have a blessed day.
Well so much for our mild summer as it’s been in the 90’s and humid as all get out which is pretty dang normal for August/September in East TN. I guess we had a good run for a while and we can’t complain about that. The weather channel predicts that the 5 day forecast looks good with most days in the mid 80’s but again a 5 day forecast is about useless around here. The occasional afternoon shower can still pop up but only to cool things off a bit and keep the water levels consistent.
Bryan enjoying the best seat in the house right before getting dumped on.
I got to fish with Bryan and Manny last year for the first time and they both work hard at their jobs with very little time to fish. They decided they were ready for round 2 so we hit the water. The fish were a little finicky at first but after a couple of tweaks with flies and techniques the rods stayed bent. Sometimes the fish aren’t always following the manual and you gotta switch things up a bit.
These guys are as easy going as can be and will pound the banks until the take out, rain or shine.
For those wondering how the heat affects the fishing, don’t worry it won’t be affected very much at all. If you want to get some topwater action though than you better be on the water early when the fish are more active. The smallies have been giving the baitfish a run for their money making subsurface flies a better choice especially in the afternoon when they aren’t looking up.
Steve and his buddy Jimbo had never targeted smallmouth on the fly and wanted to try their hand at it. We caught several fish on topwater in the morning but it was mostly streamers for the majority of the day which Steve and Jimbo didn’t seem to mind throwing. When I get asked what I like to fish with the most I reply, whatever catches fish. I love a good topwater bite but the fish are the boss and we’re on their schedule.
Steve and Jimbo didn’t care what they caught em on.
We’ve still got a good chunk of the season ahead of us and Lord willing we’ll have good flows for a while. Although looking at todays schedule was a let down since everything was blown out and can be for a little while, but there’s almost always somewhere to fish. CONTACT us if you would like to get out and fish or else we’ll have to go ourselves, spending less time with our wives and more time in the dog house. Also check out our FACEBOOK page for quick updates about fishing conditions. Take care and have a blessed day.