So much to choose from

April is finally here which means great weather, stable water flows and probably the best month for fly fishing in the Smokies and our local tailwaters. Trout are turning cartwheels over bugs like Quill Gordons, Blue Quills and Early Brown Stones in the Smokies along with caddis and midges getting slurped off the surface on the big rivers.  The Holston River has had pretty regular flows for the last week which will give the fish and bugs a chance to get into a pattern.

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Dave’s first float and he handled it well.

Everything seems to be getting a late start this year due to some late cold fronts that worked there way through the area. The threat of another cold front is nowhere in site with sunny days in the 70’s and very little chances of rain, well we’ll see about that. The dry fly fishing has been so good there’s almost no need to throw a nymph, almost. The mornings are going to be slower for dries due to a lack of bugs but nymphs will still produce. Patience will pay off when things start heating up around lunch time so keep your eyes open for those big wings sticking up on the water.

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With fish going crazy for dries the smiles are from ear to ear.

The water in the Smokies has gotten down to an almost perfect level of 300 cfs, but it’s clear so stay low and wear something to blend into the background. Parachute adams are probably going to be your best bet for fly selection (it’s hard to beat) but you might want to keep some tan elk hair caddis, pheasant tails, hares ears and some prince nymphs on hand. Make sure to keep plenty of floatant with you, those fish like them riding high.

There’s good new for the warm water fishermen who are itching for the season to start, it’s not far off. I got to get out for a run at those smallies for the first time since the water came down and warmed up. I wouldn’t say it’s ready just yet but it is REAL close.

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Felt good to hold one again.

The tails of some of the fish were roughed up which means some spawning action has started taking place but most I found were in somewhat deep water and weren’t very aggressive. The water temp hasn’t been ideal but warm enough to get them moving around for some decent pre-spawn action. It shouldn’t be too much longer until everything gets cranked up and we’re seeing that topwater bite we’ve all been patiently waiting for. There’s a lot of options to choose from right now and if you’re looking to get out on the water GIVE US A CALL and we’ll be glad to show you a good time. Take care and have a great day.

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Swollen streams = broken dreams

We have seen our fair share of bad weather lately and are just about over it. We can’t complain too much I guess considering how bad folks in the Northeast have had it, but we’re all going crazy and ready to hit the streams. Steady rain over the last week has made every stream in the area high and the ground has become so saturated that the creeks aren’t coming down fast enough. This has resulted in the canceling of several trips lately which is just part of the gig sometimes but it stinks to have to break the bad news to folks looking to get out for the first time of the year.

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The Prest couple on their Honeymoon. Has there ever been a better way to spend it?

Some days we’ve had small windows with decent flows to get out and wet a line, so we’ll take what we can get. At least during these trips the fishing has been pretty good with plenty of activity from fish and bugs. Those that have had the chance to get out haven’t had it easy but heck if you can catch them in bad conditions then you’re doing pretty good.  The topwater bite hasn’t become hot and heavy yet but receding water will help with that. Until then nymphs are still catching fish and we’re fine using them. Pheasant tails, hares ears and squirrel nymphs have been producing lately but mainly near the bottom of a deeper run.

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The newlyweds with their first wild trout from the Smokies.

As far as the tailwater fishing is concerned, there’s not much going on in our area. The Clinch and Holston rivers have been blown out and will be so for the next little bit. The weather forecast does predict some nice weather coming so keep an eye out for that along with the flow charts and maybe we’ll catch a break here soon enough. The Holston Caddis hatch isn’t far off and we did see several fish take some before the water was turned on, about a week ago. There should be some good opportunities for some healthy fish on dries once it’s all back to normal.

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Smallmouth season is right around the corner and for those seeking a good streamer bite this will be your chance to let off some steam from the past winter. I love spring smallies for so many reasons (too many to name) but one thing is for sure, those pre-spawn beauties are aggressive and hungry and make for a lot of fun on a fly rod, plus there’s a chance to catch a fish of a lifetime.  We have a lot of fishing options about to open up here in East TN and you won’t want to miss it. If you’re  itching to get out but don’t know exactly where to start, give us a call and we can help you plan your trip. Stay tuned for new updates concerning weather, flows and general activity as we see it. Take care and have a great day.

 

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A taste of Spring

We haven’t had much to talk about as of the last couple of weeks due to some really nasty weather. We have had everything from an ice storm covering the entire area with 2+ inches followed by 6 to 8 inches of snow only to end with a heavy warm rain to melt and flood everything. What can you say other than a normal winter for East TN, which normal for us means abnormal. The good thing is that we are almost out of it all and spring is right around the corner with days full of bugs hatching and fish rising.

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Even bad weather can have it’s upsides, like making incredible views and empty parking lots.

I decided to get out one day after the small “blizzard” hit our area mainly because cabin fever got to a boiling point and second I love fishing in bad conditions, don’t ask me why. Abrams Creek is a great place to fish during the winter because it’s made up of several different springs and the water will usually be warmer. Although there weren’t any bugs hatching, even midges, drifting nymphs along the bottom was a consistent way to catch fish.

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You know you’re in the right spot when the herons won’t give it up.

With Quill Gordons and blue Quills on deck patterns like pheasant tails, hares ears and pats nymphs are great but the bugs are still on the rocks, so get your flies down in front of the fish. One of my favorite patterns for this time of year may be the guides choice hares ear, it’s buggy and fish love it. You can also dead drift the nymph and swing it at the end of the run, kind of the best of both worlds. Make sure to stop by Little River Outfitters on your way to the river to talk with the guys and grab some flies or last minute items.

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The fish are healthy and have great color which is a for sure sign that we’re not far off.

Spring might be the best time of the year to be in the Smokies for the views, wildlife and fishing. We also had conformation that Lynn Camp Prong, which has been closed for a long time has finally been opened back up to fishing making every stream in the Smokies open which hasn’t been that way in 81 years. We’re all very excited about this and owe a huge thanks to the fisheries department of the GSMNP and TU for restoring  this to an all brookie stream again. You can check out the story from our local news station from the WBIR link.

If you are thinking of planing a trip to the Smokies and would like to see them in a different way then give us a call and we’ll show you how we like to see it, from the river. Keep up with our fishing reports and Facebook page for more updates on stream and fishing conditions. Take care and have a wonderful day.

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