Merry Christmas!

Christmas is a great time of year and probably my favorite because it’s the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior. The pressures of gift buying, family gatherings and traveling can get to you and a getaway for yourself is the best medicine. The weather channel is saying that we’re in store for some pretty decent weather for the next 5 days so it might be a good time to get out and fish.

The generation schedules on the Clinch and Holston are kind of hit or miss but if you can catch a good schedule and you have some time off, take advantage of it because you never know when you’ll see the water off again. The fishing has been good and there are some very nice fish willing to eat a whole variety of flies. Black flies have been thick at times along with midges and a few caddis fluttering around. The great thing is that the fish haven’t been hit too hard so fly selection isn’t as important. Your plain jane pheasant tails and zebra midges under an indicator or dry fly will work just fine.

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Sometimes simplifying things can have big results.

The streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are something to consider as well. The water is cold and the fish are sluggish but that doesn’t mean they can’t be caught. Getting your flies deep (on the bottom) is a good start, but if that’s not enough start putting on shot until you see your indicator “tick” the bottom. Sure it’s not as fun as watching a fish sip a dry off the surface but at least you’re catching fish. As far as flies go hares ears, prince nymphs and caddis larvae imitations will do the trick. Stop by and talk with the guys at Little River Outfitters, they’ll get you squared away with what you need.

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Jayson with a healthy rainbow that took a prince nymph.

Be careful while fishing in frigid temperatures, take some extra clothes along with you and don’t get too far from the car if you don’t have to. Also bring some hand warmers, you wouldn’t believe the moral boost it can be. I’ve fallen in way too many times and have learned this the hard way how miserable it can be. Have fun, be safe and have a very Merry Christmas.

 

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Early Winter setting in

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Fall has definitely arrived

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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