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.
Fall started off kind of warm this year with days in the 80’s which didn’t quite feel like fall. I know that doesn’t sound like a problem but when the leaves are changing and it’s football season there should be a slight chill in the air. We definitely have one now. Mornings start with temps in the 30’s and 40’s and end in the 60’s and along with us the fish are loving it.
Our smallmouth season is winding down with the arrival of the cool weather but we had a great season that ended with some high notes even with terrible weather. You can bet with the start of fall that there’s gonna be some cold fronts pushing in and some heavy rain along the way. Even with some occasional nasty weather the fishing has been great.
Dick loves smallmouth fishing more than anyone that I know, rain or shine.
Over the years we’ve fished with folks from all over the world but I think we have a winner for furthest traveled with Ben from Australia. He came here to get his hands on some smallies and he did just that with added bonus points for bad conditions.
A two hander the first time out. Way to go Ben.
Although we’re sad to see our smallmouth season drift away with the warm weather we have plenty of great days on the Clinch and Holston ahead of us to focus on. The Holston has started cooling off and the fishing has been pretty darn good the last few weeks. No dry flies yet but nymphs and streamers will sure keep things interesting. Dries like caddis and midges will come with the cooler weather. This summer was pretty mild and the water didn’t get too warm to hurt the fishing which has left the fish fat and healthy for the fall and winter.
Gary and Jim from Ohio did a great job even in bad conditions and muddy water.
The Smokies are definitely the big attraction right now with incredible views which happens with the changing of the leaves. The great fishing is an added bonus to the already beautiful surroundings. Nymphs have been best in the mornings due to the drop in temperatures overnight with dries in the afternoon as the day heats up. October is a great time to be in the Smokies but November is just as good with a lot less pressure for those who are trying to find a nice getaway.
Give us a call if you would like to get out on the water before the cold weather sets in. Don’t forget to stop in at Little River Outfitters while you’re in town for any situation on the water that you might find yourself in, these guys are great and can help you with any and all needs. Take care and have a great day.
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.