A cornucopia of options

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Spring is here

Spring has finally arrived with flowers blooming, bugs hatching and yes, fish rising to dry flies. The recent warming trend has warmed the water to the perfect temps for the Quill Gordons and Blue Quills to start hatching. The hatches don’t last for long periods of time and are focused towards the afternoon, but it’s still early and they’ve just now started which means it will only get better from here. If you haven’t fished this hatch then plan a trip to the Smoky Mountains to get in on the action. It’s definitely our favorite bug to fish because it’s a number 12 fly which make them easy to see and quality fish will rise to them (aggressively).

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Nothing beats explosive strikes on Quill Gordons.

As for the Tailwaters well… they were high (14,000 cfs) for the last couple of weeks making them too dangerous to get out and fish, but are getting back to a fishable level. Before the high water hit us the fishing was pretty dang good and quality fish were showing up on a regular basis. The good news is that TVA’s predicted flows for the next fews days are showing a significant drop in cfs and should be fishable again by the end of the week. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

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Lou isn’t afraid of a little rain even if it’s in the 30’s outside. He was rewarded for his efforts.

The whole family got to get out and fish for a few hours this past weekend. Even though there were no bugs hatching at the time the fish were very cooperative. Watching Danielle fight a fish at age 2 is pretty darn cool even though she didn’t want me to help.

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She’s just growing up too fast.

We’re hoping the bad weather and cold fronts are out of here for good but this is East TN which means that anything is possible. This is some of the best fishing of the year and we’re excited to see what is in store. If you are coming to the area, give us a call so we can show you first hand. Don’t forget to stop by Little River Outfitters to talk with the boys there. Take care and have a great day.

 

 

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Let’s hope for that early spring

It’s been a while since our last report so I figured it was due time to jump back into it. We have had a funky winter, or the lack of one. It’s been abnormally warm this year with quite a bit of rain off and on keeping the rivers on the higher side, but not blown out. We’re going through a warm spell right now but there is a front pushing through and next week will get cold again.

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Typical weather as of lately.

The fishing has been pretty good depending on which river you fish and/or the weather conditions. The Clinch river has been running water pretty much non-stop but fishing is still good. We’re mainly fishing streamers and nymphs but with high water getting flies in front of the fish is the biggest part, no matter what you throw. Fishing high water can be challenging at times especially if you are just starting out but can be very productive. Whether you’re a beginner or veteran it makes no difference we can work with you and get you on the right track.

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Katie surprised Kyle with a float trip for his birthday. We had a great time.

The Holston has had small windows of zero generation here and there but has mainly been running high for a while which is tough to fish on that river. It shouldn’t be long before they stop the generators and we can get on the great midge fishing that the Holston has to offer in the winter.

The streams in the Smokies have benefitted greatly from this extremely warm winter and water temps and conditions are in good shape. I know the fish are happy about having water temps between the 40’s and 50’s in January. There’s not much hatching right now except for some sporadic black stoneflies and a caddis or two. Nymphs have worked well fished near the bottom and fishing during the heat of the day doesn’t hurt. Mornings and evenings can be a little slow during those cooler nights.

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Brian guides down in Islamorada for 100+ lb tarpon, big bonefish, permit and snook. However when he has time off he loves chasing wild trout in the Smokies with a 2 wt.

We also had the opportunity to join Faith Bible Church in Cincinnati to head back down to the Dominican Republic to work with Freedom International. They have 2 big projects they’re working on and have been for the last 5 years. The first is building a school for the kids living in the nearby villages around Ramon Santana and around the city of San Pedro. Second is building apartments for the missionaries living down there and the teams that come to visit. It’s amazing to see the work that God is doing in the Dominican with such a small team of dedicated people and with the help of various teams coming in to help. Check out what the team is up to at www.itisforfreedom.com.

 

We’re on our way to spring and the thought of dry fly fishing with quill gordons in the Smokies and caddis on the Holston isn’t too far away. Hopefully we’ll see an early spring and a quick start to surface activity. Regardless of the bug activity or the lack thereof, subsurface fishing is the way to go and has kept the lines tight. If you’re thinking of planning a spring trip, give us a call, we have plenty of options to choose from and the weather can be great. Take care and have a blessed day.

 

 

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