You know in May you wouldn’t expect to be wearing a jacket in the morning before shoving the boat off for a smallmouth float, but that’s how we started our morning yesterday. We have experienced a bunch of crazy weather this Spring with thunderstorms and heavy winds on top of high water everywhere, but for crying out loud it’s almost Summer. The good thing is that by lunch time it felt like Spring again and even though the water was a little chilly, fish were coming to the boat.
Dick came down from VA this week and only had enough time to fish for one day. Dick hasn’t been able to fish his home river (the James River) in a long time due to excess amounts of water, 10 ft above flood stage. Even though our tailwaters have been running high for the past few months, the freestone rivers have had good levels to fish and it wasn’t long before Dick had a tight line to a fish.
Like he never skipped a beat.
Floating on we found several good fish that would swipe at a fly and some were lucky enough to get loose, but Dick has been doing this long enough to know that sometimes they just get away. I still feel a little heartbroken sometimes, but mainly for the guy who lost the fish. They were definitely on a big baitfish bite so pick out the streamer you have the most confidence and hang on. Later in the afternoon we got in some good topwater fishing and brighter colored poppers did the trick for the most part and it started to feel like May again.
After a while we found what they wanted and Dick was in the zone.
It’s always a good time with Dick and when we get together the wheels get to turning. June is right around the corner and just so happens to be the best time of year for topwater action. We still have days in June left open for trips and would love to get folks on some smallmouth to show them how awesome this fish is. It’s a great alternative to trout fishing in the warmer months and the rivers we float are very scenic and have a ton of wildlife around them. We hope that you have a blessed day and are able to get out on the water. Take care.
Fishing in the Smokies has picked up big time and although we are having erratic water levels daily, the air and water temps are good which has a plethora of bugs hatching. The main event has been the Yellow Sally Stonefly which has the fish busting anything yellow on the surface. The fish seem to be focused on the sallies pretty much all day but keep some light Cahills in the fly box for a sporadic evening hatch.
It didn’t take Steve long to figure things out.
We have tried to target smaller streams when the water has been high because the bigger streams are tough to wade and lets face it wading around in a small creek brings out the kid in everyone. The Little River in the park should fall out within the next couple of days and fishing will be back to normal as long as we don’t get more rain.
Fishing a shaded bank with a bushy dry.
The Holston and French Broad Rivers have been extremely high for the most part and there have been very few windows open for floating. That should change in the next few days and we will be back to chasing smallmouth. We did get a short window a couple of days ago on the Holston and Mike got to show off his skills with a fly for some smallies. Mike has spent some time fishing for Pike in Canada, but this was the first time going after brown fish. I think this world has one more junkie.
I think he’s hooked
It pays to have a plan b, but lately we’ve needed a plan c and d too. After this weekend the weather should be nice and stay that way for a while. May and June are a great time to be in East TN, especially Townsend. If you are in town and looking to stock up on a few things then stop by Little River Outfitters and talk with those guys, they’ll have all you need. Take care and have a great day.
The Smallmouth fishing in East TN has been great and the fish are fat, healthy and full of fight. Streamers are the main focus due to the fish being in spawning mode, they aren’t really wanting to come to the surface and get to far away from the nesting areas but will still eat the subsurface flies with aggression. They can’t afford to pass up meals. A good searching pattern is a clouser minnow in different variations of bait fish and craw colors because they can be fished deep or shallow.
Yesterday Glenn and Bob put a “hurtin” on the smallmouth.
Glenn with a citation that crushed a streamer. Congratulations Glenn.
Even though the streamers will put more fish in the boat it is nice to get a few on topwater here and there. I mean lets face it who doesn’t like to see fish eat a popper. The Smallmouth season has just gotten started and the fishing is already great. I was skeptical about the early bite this year due to all the bad weather and high water, but it’s shaping up to be a good one.
The Holston has been fishing great too with plenty of caddis hatching throughout the day, but the fish aren’t really keying in on the adults until later in the afternoon when the sun is high. When the fish aren’t busting the adults, Caddis pupa and small pheasant tails will do the trick.
Bill and Sheila wanted to celebrate 46 great years of marriage by doing a float trip on the Holston River. The fishing was good and the company was even better. Bill works at Little River Outfitters and Sheila worked there for a long time until she retired. They are both great people and LOVE to Fly Fish.
Bill and Sheila throwing dries at sipping trout.
As for the Smokies, well there isn’t much to say other than expect the unexpected. The rivers and creeks in the Smokies have been high, low, hot and cold. The fishing can be good or bad depending on the day you go. Be prepared with dries and nymphs and don’t be surprised when you find yourself changing flies every hour. I would probably start with heavy nymphs dragging the bottom and go from there, that usually works for us. We are expecting rain for the next few days and colder temps on top of that. Hopefully by the middle of this month everything will be back to normal. Take care and have a great day.
We have been getting rain off and on for the past couple of weeks and it has kept the rivers high. The Clinch has had 1 generator and has been spilling which makes it hard to fish, but we are seeing Sulfurs hatching and fish rising to them. The Holston has been running very unusual schedules through the middle of the day which has been about useless to fish for trout. We are expecting a few days of nice weather next week and then more rain. The only good thing about it is that all of this water should hold back the caddis hatch and more folks will be able to fish it later on.
We have definitely been seeing more caddis hatching when the water has been down and even getting some good dry fly fishing during the warmer parts of the day.
Sight fishing to the hefty bows with dries is a lot of fun.
Even though the water has been on the high side the Smallmouth are still feeding and starting to get on the beds depending on the water temps. Streamer fishing has been the way to go for the most part and during some of the cooler days getting them down has been a must. Their bellies are full and the fish are energized so you know they’re eating well. If you don’t get any “love” from the fish go deeper or change color. Clousers are a good starting point.
During the warmer days we have been looking for some fish that will come up and eat a popper and finding some here and there. It is a little early for the big topwater bite but just getting a few is enough to wet your whistle.
We have had to reschedule a few trips lately for bad weather and have had to focus more on smallmouth than trout on the tailwaters due to the water levels. Again that should change in a week or so, but it’s been a chance to show folks how awesome a smallmouth is and how fun they are to catch.
It has been an unusual Spring here in East TN but we have gotten used to bad weather and high water, we’re sure not gonna let it get in the way of our fishing. I’m sure the skies will open up soon and we’ll be back to normal. Sorry for the delay on the fishing report, we’ll try to keep them coming regularly.
Fishing on the tailwaters has been good and the fish are fat and have a real attitude problem. The caddis are starting to hatch but they haven’t quite gotten there yet. Nymphs (Caddis Larva, Midge Pupa) have still been the biggest producer throughout the day. We have seen a little dry fly fishing but just enough to get the taste in our mouths. And word has it that there have been some sighting of sulfurs on the Clinch.
A couple of nice fish from the Holston.
The Smokies got dumped on with rain a few days ago and we had to reschedule some trips but were able to fish the smaller streams once the water got to a fishable level. The Quill Gordons or Blue Quills haven’t been hatching like we anticipated but the Brown Stones and March Browns have taken their place. We have even been spotting some Golden Stones and Yellow Sallies around the streams too. Pheasant tails, Prince Nymphs and Adams will do the trick in sizes 16 to 12.
Sticking to the pocket water and high sticking seemed to bring several fish to hand. Also wearing natural clothing and hiding in the shade doesn’t hurt.
The Smallmouth waters are fishing pretty good right now and when I say pretty good I am going off of the fact that the rivers aren’t blown out and muddy. The past few times that we have been out we have pulled in some pretty good numbers and the occasional nice one. We’re thinking the spawn is getting close due to the warmer water temps and the amount of buck bass we are seeing. The weather has been steady in the high 60′s to low 80′s which has been nice and should boost the smallmouth into eating heavily this week.
If the weather keeps up like this we could see some topwater action in the near future. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself but we want to be ready for anything at this point. This has been one crazy Spring and we’ve pretty much had to throw the plans out the window and have plenty of options to choose from. I love it when the fishing and conditions are out of the ordinary because of the different routes you go to get the bite. Take care and have an awesome day.
The fishing has definitely gotten better around East TN now that the tailwater flows are down and the sun shine is out on a regular basis. The water in the Smokies and lower freestone rivers has been high for the last couple of days but even that is already looking better. We’ve been in the park the past couple of days fishing with folks and even with the water on the high side the fishing was still pretty good. The fishing should be a lot better all of this week.
The Holston and the Clinch are fishing pretty good on lower flows, but we aren’t seeing very many caddis on the water. Jeff and Kim Ledbetter own Bow Hunters Pro Shop here in Maryville TN and when they aren’t slinging arrows they love to trout fish. They have always spin fished for trout and haven’t really seen what a fly could do. I think they are believers in what those “little bugs” can do for fish. It is awesome to see folks learning the sport and coming back to do it again and again.
Kim with her first fish on a fly rod. Congratulations.
The tailwaters are still a little on the cold side for the smallmouth on the other hand. Just to give you an idea of the water temps, I wore my chaco’s instead of waders and after about 10 seconds in the water my feet were hurting. With the water being cold it’s not hard to catch smallmouth, but it’s probably not a bad idea to bring along the spinning rod, just incase (if that’s your thing). We fished the Holston the other day to see what we could find some nice smallmouth hanging around and we did, but they were pretty sluggish and on the bottom.
This guy was right at 19 inches, but a little on the skinny side.
Pushing down river we noticed some carp digging around on the bottom for something and with a craw pattern already on the rod I decided to give it a shot.
This guy weighed in at 18 lbs. on the boga’s
Mick said as we launched the boat that we had the “Luck of the Irish” on our side and boy was he right. I would say that this warm week ahead of us is probably going to get these fish moving around a lot and we will definitely be out there trying to see what they want to eat. There is nothing to complain about anymore in our area. The wether is right, the water is right, it’s a great time to be here. We hope to see some of you out on the water and Hope you have an awesome day. Take care.
The generation schedules as of 2 weeks ago were looking pretty bad, but the change in weather and not as much flow coming into the lakes have made the Clinch and Holston fishable again. We have had a few trips on the Holston as of lately and the fishing has been pretty good. We aren’t seeing any caddis hatching so nymph fishing has been the ticket, but after this winter we aren’t about to complain about throwing nymphs.
Cody and Ryan can flat out fish and doubled up several times throughout the day.
It”s cool to see the next generation so into fly fishing and not just trout, but these boys catch smallies, muskie and steelhead (all on fly) up in Michigan. The weather has been nice except for today and it’s supposed to rain all day which will bump up the Little River and its tributaries. If you are planning on fishing the Smokies keep your eye on the water gauge for the Little River which is below. Remember that anything over 2.75 ft or 550 cfs can be tough to fish.
The weather forecast for the next 10 days looks pretty good with temperatures ranging from the mid 60′s to mid 70′s. The fishing is good, the weather is good, if you are thinking of getting away and doing some fishing now would be the time. Give us a call or email us from our “contact us” page http://frontieranglerstn.com/contact-us/ and we would be glad to show you around the streams and rivers of East TN. Take care and have a great day.
Our tailwaters have been running high for a while, but are now having good generation schedules. The Holston is running at its recreational flow and the caddis are coming out. The fish should be fat and strong after all that high water. The Clinch still has a weird flow but is fishable and that is better than nothing. We will be spending a lot more time on the Holston, hopefully getting into some good dry fly fishing.
Both rain or shine the fish are still feeding.
The Smokies have been fishing good with Quill Gordons and Brown Stoneflies with sightings of March Browns. The hatches don’t last long but when the bugs come off the fishing is on fire. The drawn out cold snap that fell into the valley was followed by a wave of moderately warms days which resulted in a drastic change in water temp and more rain. Little River is running high now but should fall out in a few days and the fishing should get back to normal.
The river can spike quickly but usually comes downs just as fast.
Hopefully April will be a dry-ish month and we will be able to see consistent hatches and lots more dry fly fishing. Don’t forget to stop by littleriveroutfitters.com and see the gang over they can set you up with all you need to fish the area and them some. We hope to be able to show some of you around our beautiful area this Spring and enjoy a day on the water. Take care and have an awesome day.
When people hear the term March Madness they think of basketball but around here it means bugs hatching, trout rising, pre-spawn smallmouth and the end of cabin fever……..and basketball too. The weather man says it’s going to be good this week with temperatures in the mid to upper 60′s and NO freezing temps. The water is falling out which makes the streams in the Smokies and the bigger rivers fishable. We have been spending some time on the lower Little River searching for bigger smallies for Spring and we have found a few.
These fish will be feeding for a little while on their way to the areas where they will build their nests.
The fishing in the mountain streams have been pretty good if you decide to fish later in the day. There is no need to start early, even the bugs have even decided to start sleeping in. Where you fish will also decide what kind of day you will have. We have been fishing smaller streams lately which don’t seem to have any snow runoff and that has been a huge help.
The size of fish in these streams is smaller than the bigger section of the Little River, but the number have been better and there has been more action.
We got to see and fish some really good hatches of Quill Gordons this past week, but they didn’t last very long maybe 1 to 2 hours at a time. That is better than no bugs hatching if you ask me and especially after that last cold snap we had, we’ll take it.
The Holston River looked good for a couple of days but they are now running some water again. I would say that everything should be back to normal after next week and we will definitely be out there looking to fish dries during the caddis hatch. We hope that you can get out and fish and hopefully get in on some of the Spring hatches. Take care and have an awesome day.
This winter seems like it has been completely backwards. We had better weather in January and February than we have in March. By this time last year we were seeing the Quill Gordons leaving and welcoming the start of the March Browns in the Smokies not to mention the Caddis hatch on the Holston. This year has been a completely different story. So far the hatches have been delayed due to the crazy weather, which is nice for those who come to fish at the first of Spring but just a tease for the locals. We also haven’t seen our streams and tailwaters down to a fishable level is some time now. Check out this graph of the Little River and see how much it has spiked from yesterday’s rain.
It doesn’t take much rain to make it high, but at the same time it falls out fast.
It seems like lately we are having to reschedule trips because of the weather, which is not easy for folks but we want to make sure that everyone has a good chance at catching fish and enjoying the streams in the Smokies and our local tailwaters. We have been out with guides in other areas when the conditions were just down right terrible, so we know how it is. I think that the forecast is going to change pretty soon and we can start counting on the fishing to be a lot better all around East TN. Keep your eyes on the weather and stayed tuned to our fishing report and Facebook page for updates. In the mean time we will be stocking our fly boxes and getting the gear ready. Take care and hopefully (weather permitting) we will see you soon.