It has definitely been a cold, wet weekend and most of the rivers are feeling it. The Little River through Townsend got up to 1150 cfs yesterday and is now back down to fishable level at 475 cfs. The only problem with the water coming down is the water temperature following the same pattern. The water temp was up to around 55 degrees and is now down to around 45 degrees which is a big drop in just one day. 45 is still not too bad, but don’t expect much activity unless the flies are near the bottom. Fly selection isn’t real important so use what you have faith in, put on some weight and get the flies on the bottom. My personal favorites are prince nymph 16-10, hares ear 18-14, small caddis larvae 18-16 and a black stone 14-12.
If you decide to try and fish the Smokies then be careful in the fast, cold water. Wade slow and make sure you have secure footing. It’s probably not a bad idea to stop by Little River Outfitters and get a wading staff/early christmas gift for yourself if you have time.
The tailwaters have been fishing great, the Holston especially. Caddis in sizes 12-18 are coming off sporadically throughout the day along with midges, crane flies and small baetis duns. The amount of food in the water has the fish feeding pretty heavily below the surface and on several occasions (sunny days) the topwater bite can be great. Pheasant tails, hares ears, zebra midges and wooly buggers will take care of the subsurface action and Elk hair caddis, small parachute adams and griffith’s gnat will do the trick on top. It’s pretty special to be able to fish 12 months a year for trout, especially when you add in the fact that you’re occasionally dry fly fishing in the Winter.
A colorful rainbow from the Holston River.
The Holston produces some nice size fish in it’s endless riffles chocked full of food. It’s not uncommon to catch fish like this and bigger this time of year as the fish have grown quite a bit from the Spring. The fish are also very healthy as they are “football” shaped and not at all flabby.
One word to describe the fish in the Holston…….ANGRY!
There’s only one thing holding us back from spending everyday on the river and that has been heavy generation from TVA. With all of the rain we’ve gotten in the last couple of days all of our local tailwaters have had very little breaks in the generation schedules, but not enough to go fish. The rain is supposed to continue for the next couple of days but the percentage isn’t as high as the previous 2 days. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the weather holds off and the heavy flows will soon stop so we can get back to the river. In the mean time we are getting the fly boxes loaded back up and getting in some Christmas shopping. Take care and be safe on the water.
We had a float trip scheduled today for a couple of guys that just had to get out. I was hoping to get them on the Holston since it fished so well the other day but the generation wasn’t good for fishing and we had to reschedule. With the tailwaters being high I was curious on how the streams in the Smokies were fishing. The water levels are perfect and with this latest warm front that came in the water temp was around the mid 50′s and even though there wasn’t much hatching the fish were very active towards nymphs.
It never gets old looking at a wild trout from the Smokies.
Nymphs like pheasant tails, prince nymphs and hares ears in a size 14-18 will do the trick, but as the water temp fluctuates you might have to play around with split shot. Also wear natural clothing to blend in to your surroundings because the water is crystal clear. Most of the time in the colder months the fish will be on the bottom and “dragging” nymphs is necessary. With these extremely warm days and nights the fish will be happier and looking to get full. This is all probably going to change with the weather getting cooler and rain on its way. If you can get out in the next couple of days then I would and enjoy every minute of it.
I really didn’t see anybody else other than a few locals fishing today and the tranquility would have been enough for me to have a good day. The fact that the fishing was great and I ran into a couple of buddies I hadn’t seen in a while was nice, but the icing on the cake was when we happened to notice a larger fish sitting out in a run. I got into position and the fish ate on the 3rd cast.
A truly blessed outing
I usually seem to spend a lot of effort getting close enough to cast to a fish like this and then have it spook off. It’s usually a lot of work for very little payoff sight fishing to these guys. The fact that he ate the fly immediately didn’t seem right, but I wasn’t complaining.
One thing is for sure about this time of year, you can bet on having a lot of water to yourself in the Smokies and the fishing isn’t as slow as you might think depending on where you go. Even if the fishing is slow some days and your hands are freezing, it’s still better than sitting around the house. If you’re coming into town and want to get out and fish for a bit despite the weather, CONTACT US and we’ll be happy to take you to our favorite spots.
First off we hope that everybody had a great Thanksgiving and got to spend some time with family and friends getting as stuffed as the turkey you ate. We traveled a good bit this past weekend through the Midwest to see Ashley’s side of the family and had our fare share of food, family and football. It was nice to see family and have a few days of doing nothing but it was also nice to be back home.
Of course when you get back home there’s plenty of stuff to do. The first thing I needed to check off the list of things to get done was to get some new tires on the truck.
As I was at the shop the guy putting on my new tires had noticed that I had busted a rear shock, so I had another project to get done. Of course when I got home I realized they sold me the wrong shocks and had to go back for the right ones.
Now the plan for the day was to get in a little fishing at some point but with all of the previous projects we only had a few hours to go. We are pretty blessed to live within a few minutes of such great fishing and so many options to choose from. One place we go that is pretty unique is the Lower Little River outside of the Smokies where we do some float trips. TWRA stocks the river with some healthy rainbows in the Fall and Winter and makes for a fun alternative when the streams in the Smokies are cold and the tailwaters are blown out.
Here is Jules with a nice fish from the Little River
Typical stocked trout flies like wooly buggers, egg patterns and any standard nymph will work for these fish. It’s a very pretty and relaxing float to do and is a lot of fun. It does take a certain amount of water to float the section which usually isn’t a problem in the Winter months. If the water does get too low it can get tough to get a boat through and isn’t worth the effort.
We have been seeing better flows on the Holston and Clinch Rivers due to the lakes being at their Winter levels. We are supposed to get rain off and on starting tomorrow so we’ll have to see what that does to the water levels. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that TVA doesn’t have to run a bunch of water next week and we can spend more time on these rivers, but we’ll just have to see. The good news on the Holston is that the fishing is great and we’re seeing caddis, midges and a couple of different mayflies hatching throughout the day and the fish are looking up to take dries as well as nymphs all day.
It’s nice to see fish like these sipping dries in December.
The Holston is known for its big feisty rainbows but occasionally you get a brown trout here and there. The nice thing about the Holston is the ability to get out of the boat and wade fish at any of the many shoals on the river. We decided to do just that and Jules caught a fish on the first cast.
If you are thinking of a nice place to visit for Christmas or New Years with mild Winters and good fishing then look no further than East TN, especially the Townsend area. We will fish through the Winter as long as the weather permits us to so if your looking to get out then give us a call (CONTACT US). Take care and have a great day.
I’ve had the opportunity to fish with Scott several times over the past few years and it’s always a good time. This time Scott brought along his nephew for his first trip in a drift boat. Scott will usually spin fish for whatever will bite on the end of his line but the Clinch had a good schedule and he wanted to try and get a nice fish. After a little pursuation I got Scott to try the fly rod and it didn’t take him long to get the hang of it.
The Clinch has the best looking bows anywhere around.
After spending a few minutes working with Scott on his casting and hook sets he was in the groove of things. This wasn’t the ideal day to learn to fly fish, but he didn’t mind it. Before I knew it Scott was hooked up again.
They have good looking browns too.
The high today was supposed to be in the 50′s with a little bit of wind and as you can see that wasn’t the case at all. It didn’t matter though, we didn’t let the weather get in the way of what we came to do and it certainly didn’t get in the way of us having a good time.
Richie’s no slouch on the river either and with this being his first time on the water in a long time I think he handled himself pretty well. These guys were awesome and I look forward to the next time out with them.
The water was high today with TVA running 1 generator pretty much all day and we really didn’t see any bugs hatching, not even midges. The fish were still feeding pretty good even with the lack of bugs, but you had to get flies deep and around some sort of structure which isn’t really a surprise considering all the water rolling through the river. The river can be a real “brouhaha” for the fish during this time of year with heavy flows and fish spawning and sometimes the fish just don’t want to chase down their meals. Nymphs are a great way to go in the Fall not only for numbers of fish but even size.
If your looking to get out and fish but not sure with the cold weather on it’s way don’t worry, the rivers fish pretty good in the Winter when the water temps drop back to normal at around 50 degrees. If your in the area and want to get out, feel free to give us a call and we would be glad to get you out on the water. Take care and have a great day.
As Winter approaches and the streams in the Smokies get cooler by the day, so does the fishing. Cold fronts push through along with cool nights chilling the water and pretty much ending most of the hatches. This doesn’t necessarily mean the fishing is done, just don’t expect the results to be the same as in the Spring, Summer and Fall. Nymph fishing is primarily the way to go and don’t be afraid to add split shot to the leader to get the flies down. This is the time of year when the browns are coming off the redds and bulking back up with food before Winter sets in for good.
This is also the time when we’re focusing a lot of time on the Clinch and Holston Rivers in drift boats as the temperature of the big rivers starts to get back to normal and the trout are feeling frisky. Up until a couple of weeks ago the tailwaters have had pretty high flows which makes the fishing tough. With the flows getting cut back and becoming stable the fishing has improved and there are some nice fish out and about.
Leigh with some nice fish from the Clinch.
There has been plenty of midge activity on the Clinch with a sporadic black caddis hatch here and there. A variety in colors of small zebra midges and pheasant tails will work just fine, but on low flows make sure to use fine tippet and get a DEAD drift. The Clinch is known for having skittish fish and that’s especially the case when there’s no generation.
With the generators running and the flows high the fish aren’t as spooky but they are closer to the bottom and fishing heavy flies and split shot can be tough if you haven’t done it before. That’s what we are here for though, to show you how to fish in not so perfect conditions. These were the conditions that Jim, Allen and I experienced the other day with the Clinch running 1 all day. It was all about getting it at that right depth.
Jim is a saltwater fisherman and hasn’t done much freshwater, but I couldn’t tell it from my seat.
These rivers can fish pretty good in the colder months and keep us on the water when everything else has ice on the banks. The reason for this is the regulated water coming out of the bottom of the dam and temps hovering around 50 degrees. They also have better than average size fish that are willing to take a fly throughout the day and not just during the heat of the day like the freestone rivers. One thing about being in the drift boat in the cold is that the coffee thermos is right there with us and ready to warm you back up for the next fish.
If old man Winter has you down and you need to get out, feel free to give us a call (CONTACT US). We’ll be fishing either way and would be happy to get you out on the water. Take care and have a great day.
The weather has been a little out of the ordinary as of the past couple of weeks here in East TN and that’s an understatement. One day you’ll have temps in the mid 60′s or even 70′s and the next you need to layer up with winter wear and occasionally get in the car and warm up your feet. What does this do to the fishing though? Well, going by the past couple of years we typically have a bit of high water this time of year which can make it tough to get flies to the fish. As of lately though the streams in the Smokies are low and slow so it’s not hard to get your nymphs to bump the bottom and get in front of fish.
This technique worked well for Mark on the Little River with some slab rainbows and even a bonus brown.
The trick with nymph fishing in colder conditions is how much split shot to use in the situation you’re in. If you’re not using enough then the flies aren’t getting in the fish’s vision, but too much and you’ll stay hung up on the bottom which can get costly to your fly budget. So how much weight to use depends on the water temps and how aggressive the fish are that day. Experimenting with flies and weight early on can make all the difference in your day.
Even though this fish wasn’t big, the moment when this father and son got their first Smoky Mountain trout on a fly was.
We had a fun weekend with a group of dads and their sons from Middle TN fishing in the Smokies. All the kids learned the techniques needed, caught fish and had a great time and more important there was good quality time spent with families. They all did a great job and on a day that was not so easy.
Karen’s first trout in the GSMNP and one she won’t soon forget.
Karen has been through a lot in the last several years and hasn’t been able to fish as much as she would like too. She’s the type of person that appreciates every moment and never looks back. All she wanted was to spend the day in a pretty place and Lord willing catch a few fish, so what better place than the Smokies to do all this in. She caught more than a few and got some great photos to take back home. We both had a great day and look forward to doing it again soon.
Yesterday was a wet, nasty day with howling winds and even snow. Jules and I wanted to wet a line no matter what the weather was going to be like. We spotted this guy sitting in a riffle and after changing a few flies got him to eat. Truth be told I think the fish just wanted to be out of that cold water. It was a blessing to spend time with my buddy and catch a great fish. The good thing is that we are going to be getting some nice weather starting Saturday with highs back up in the 70′s. Fishing in November is still good and if you are thinking of coming this way we would be happy to show you around the mountains and/or tailwaters (CONTACT US). Take care and have a great day.
The Fall is probably the prettiest time to be in the Smoky Mountains with the mountain sides covered in yellow, red and orange and a slight chill in the air. Big bucks are out during the rut and the occasional black bear can peak its head out from behind a tree. With all of these things going on what more could you ask for, right?
A small black bear crossed the river just above us.
Well how about the fishing? The blue winged olives have been getting the fish’s attention in the afternoons and if you keep a look out you’ll find some fish sipping them in the bubble lines and seams. With the mornings being cooler we’ve seen better results with prince nymphs, hares ears and small caddis larvae dredging the bottom. The water has been in the low 50′s in the park and that has the fish on the bottom.
Brandon pulled a couple of nice browns out of the Little River by getting flies down to the bottom.
This was Brandon’s first time trying his hand at fly fishing and when the water is low and clear it’s not so easy, but throw in the fact that there are leaves everywhere in the water and it can be down right tough. Brandon was very patient though and didn’t get discouraged when the flies got caught up in the leaves. His patience paid off with a couple of nice browns and his fair share of rainbows.
I have fished with Bob and Gail Dosser several times over the past few years and it’s always a fun trip and somewhat of an adventure with the weather. This time around we were hoping to get in a couple of float trips while they were in town but the flows on the tailwaters were terrible so we decided to fish the Smokies since the streams up there were fishing so well. Bob is a great fisherman and has fished all over the place, so needless to say he’s always up for a new challenge. Fishing the Smokies is a challenge in itself with fish that strike very fast and sit in hard to get places. Bob handled himself just fine the first couple of days but struck GOLD on day 3.
Right place at the right time.
This fish was all over the place when we first spotted it and finally stayed still long enough for Bob to make a few casts. Before you knew it the fish picked up the fly and Bob was all smiles. I guess it was a good thing we didn’t get to float today. Congratulations Bob on a great fish. November is a great time to be fishing in East TN whether you are in the mountains or floating the big rivers, the conditions are great and the fish are happy. If you would like to get out and fish, feel free to give us a call (CONTACT US) and we would love to get you on the water. Have a blessed day.
It’s always neat to see a kid fishing or hunting or even just outside for that matter but one that wants to learn to fly fish, now that’s cool. Occasionally I get the opportunity to take a parent and youth fishing and it always ends with the kid loving it, mainly because they get to play in the water and skip a few rocks. Well Mark Sr. and Mark Jr. were interested in the ends and out of the sport. After a brief lesson on how to cast the rod with Jr. he was ready to hit the water.
Now that’s a team
It didn’t take Jr. long to start catching fish and shortly after, Sr. decided to get in a couple of casts.
To start off with I helped Jr. with casting and keeping the slack out of the line. Then came the hard part of “setting the hook” which is hard for anybody in the Smokies due to the strikes being so fast. After a while Mark Jr. took over and did everything on his own, even landing his own fish. Did I mention that Jr. is 8 years old, the perfect age to get started in fly fishing. Great job guys and I’m sure there will be many more unforgettable memories down the road.
Plenty of bugs flying around
We’ve been able to get out and enjoy some time in the Smokies here and there for ourselves. It’s hard to pass up fishing in the park this time of year with all the dry fly fishing in the afternoons. We have been seeing great BWO hatches in the middle of the day with a decent hatch of Sulphurs later in the evenings. Even though we aren’t really seeing much action on the surface in the mornings the fish are taking nymphs like there’s no tomorrow. Plus you never know what is lying on the bottom.
It’s nice to be surprised with a nice fish while nymphing in the Smokies but don’t always expect it to happen.
This is the time of year when we all spend more time looking for larger fish with the spawn right around the corner. This can be your best shot at catching a great fish that is looking to stock up on bugs before the rut.
While noticing several fish rising this afternoon I switched from nymphs to a dry for a change of pace and then spotted this guy sitting out, I decided to switch back. After a few casts he took a Prince Nymph and soon after he was in my hands. We have been watching several nice fish lately that just ended up spooking with the low clear water, so it was nice to be able to hold one for a change. You never know what could happen while fishing the Smokies in the Fall. If you are thinking of coming into the area then don’t wait any longer; the fishing is great and we are just now seeing the good hatches, plus the leaves are beautiful. Give us a call (CONTACT US) and we would be glad to get you on the water.
We have been spending some time with folks chasing wild trout in the Smokies as of lately. The water is low, cool and the highs have been in the 50′s which might make you think that the fishing is slow. Let me assure you that the fishing hasn’t been slow, if anything it’s right on track for the Fall if not better than usual. This probably has a little bit to do with the fact that the streams haven’t seen that many fishermen over the last few weeks.
Long casts and wearing natural colors are required while fishing low water.
Low flows concentrate the fish to the relatively deeper riffles and runs which gives you a good idea of lines to fish. This also means a good chance to catch them on dries since the fish aren’t deep. We have started noticing more blue winged olives (BWOs) on the water along with a few sulfurs and some slate drakes. Parachute adams, parachute BWOs and yellow or orange stimulators are all good choices and you’ll probably see a better bite on dries in the afternoon when the sun heats up the water a bit. There’s plenty of food in the water too and nymphs like pheasant tails or hares ears will do the job, but keep some split shot handy.
Mike scored several nice fish yesterday in the park and all on nymphs.
The leaves are changing and there is a chill in the air, this is the time to be up in the Smokies enjoying one of your favorite activities for the Fall. There are plenty of folks all around the park, but not too many of them are fishing, it’s almost like we have the streams to ourselves.
For those smallmouth fishermen out there don’t be worried that the nights and mornings are chilly because the water temp is still in the 60′s on the Holston and should be for a little while longer. Andrew and I got a good topwater bite the other day on the Holston and had several nice fish bust a popper. That is strange in the middle of October, but we’ll take it. If you get a day when the sun is out and the temperature is fairly warm the fish will be looking up.
There’s a lot to do in East TN right now and there’s not a more beautiful place to be. If you are coming into the area and are looking to get in some fishing while you’re here then give us a call and we’ll be glad to get you on the water, CONTACT US. Take care and have a blessed day.
The smallmouth fishing has been on fire lately with a great bite on crawdad and smaller baitfish patterns imitating thread fin shad. The fish are looking to stock up on protein as the threat of Winter gets closer, which isn’t that far away. The colors are starting to show up around the Holston too.
Tim loving the Fall smallmouth action.
There is great news with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park……IT’S OPEN and has been for the last few days. I guess both parties pushed aside their differences and temporarily fixed the problem. We were excited to get back in the Smokies, but weren’t really sure how the hatches were going to be or how active the fish were. Our first trip was yesterday and I was pretty early for the trip so I stopped at a pool to see if any fish were moving around and this was the first thing I saw.
I was pretty excited after seeing this bruiser sitting out in the open. I can assure you that the fish are acting just like they should after not seeing anybody for 2 weeks, eager.
Braden’s first time fly fishing the Smokies and it didn’t take him long to get on the board.
As you can see there are plenty of leaves in the water and this can make nymph fishing kind of tough this time of year. The good thing is that you really don’t need a nymph right now because the water is so low and the fish are looking up so dries are the ticket. We were seeing Slate Drakes and October Caddis before the park closed and we still are seeing some but you can also add BWO’s to the list.
Wearing natural colors and crouching down in low water conditions can greatly improve your catch rate. The biggest part of fishing the Smokies is staying hidden from the fish and getting a good drift, which Braden did spot on. We have definitely been seeing several bigger fish out and about in the Smokies due to pre-spawn activity and you really never know what can happen this time of year.
While this brown thought he was getting an easy meal he didn’t see what was right around the corner. Another brown around 20 inches thought he hit the jackpot when he grabbed this guy like a dog bone. Braden had the 2 on for a few minutes before the bigger fish gave up and went back to his hole leaving the smaller fish with some battle scars to show off. Our top fly all day was a parachute adams and we caught fish in all types of water. It’s Fall, the leaves are changing and the conditions are great for fishing. I’d say if you have been on the fence about coming to the area then don’t hesitate any longer. Give us a call and we’ll get you set up for a day on the water, CONTACT US.