We’ve been seeing some typical spring weather in East TN for the last few days and it looks like its going to continue into next week. The warm sunny days have had the caddis and stones moving around in the afternoons making it a little easier for fishermen to get in some dry fly action. We have had short glimpses of quill gordons and blue quills here and there but the fish haven’t really keyed in on the adults, until today that is. We can finally report that we witnessed a decent hatch of quill gordons and blue quills even if it was for a short while.
Good to see these guys again.
The fish were hitting them with gusto and didn’t let many get off the water. The thing I love most about these bugs is that a big #12 parachute adams does the trick just as good as anything else. When the fish get a taste for them they usually throw caution to the wind and will take something remotely close to size and color. The first couple of fish “slapped” at my fly and I whiffed it, but the next one knew what he wanted and it was a good surprise.
Just doesn’t get any better.
The quill gordons only lasted for about an hour but it was all we needed. The blue quills mixed in half way through and lasted about an hour as well. The blue quills are smaller around a #16 but hatch in better numbers, keeping the fish busy on the surface. Keep both of these in your box ready to go because you never know which one you’ll need, or just go with us, we have plenty.
If you are planning a trip keep in mind that this is the start of the hatches so the first little bit can be sporadic but all that should change in the next week. Lets hope that the weather remains stable and keeps the bugs on the move because it would be nice to see some more of this. Take care and have a great day.
The high flows and the mixed bag of weather had pretty much killed the fishing on the tailwaters for the past few weeks but there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel. We have some pretty typical weather coming in for the next 10 days with the highs in the 50′s and 60′s with minimal chances of rain. This will help stabilize the rivers and streams in our area giving the fish a break and possibly jumpstart some good hatches.
The Holston was off all day yesterday with the high around 70 so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get out and float. Of course this meant we had to attend the early service at church to make it to the river on time but it was worth it. When we got to the river we noticed fish were already rising and there were tons of midges and black flies on the water. At times there was almost too much food on the water and repetitive casting was needed to get the fish to see our flies.
There’s no shortage of fish feeding on the surface.
There are plenty of freshly stocked fish in the Holston right now along with good numbers of holdovers and both are feeding heavily on the abundance of food. Most of the bugs we saw were between sizes 22 and 18 and dark. We caught fish on dries and nymphs matching the real thing and even caught fish on a number 14 adams just to see what they would take. A pheasant tail or zebra midge matching the size will do the trick.
There was plenty of activity going on in the riffles throughout the entire float but seeing a small fly in rough water can be tricky so try adding a bigger dry fly with it for an indicator. We did run across larger pods of rising fish in softer water with most being around 12 or so inches, but there would occasionally be some larger fish mixed in the bunch. These fish are seasoned veterans so an accurate cast with a drag free drift is needed to get them to eat the fly.
Big or small, sight fishing is a blast.
We’re hoping the generation will get back on a regular schedule in the coming weeks so fishermen can get back out on the water and knock the rust of those rods. Just think, it’s already this good and the caddis haven’t started to show up yet. You won’t want to miss the Holston in the spring when dry fly fishing is at its peak. It’s not a bad way to spend the day and just a short drive from Sevierville and Townsend. Give us a call and we can set up a trip for you to see this first hand.
As the season gets closer and closer I think that “cabin fever” gets worse, especially when we get the tease of 70 degree weather for a couple of days and then back down into freezing weather. We came so close to seeing the Little River hang in the 50′s for a couple of days last week right before the bottom fell out of it and it dropped back down into the high 30′s. This will more than likely delay the quill gordons in the near future but we’ll just have to see.
The good thing is that we are in store for a warmer week with some rain in the mix which can speed up the warming process for the streams in the Smokies. Let’s just hope that they don’t get blown out instead.
We’ve been all over the place (national park, national forest, tailwaters and stocked streams) this past week to see what was fishing the best and most of the rivers were all the same, double nymphs and lots of weight to dredge the bottom. This isn’t as fun as watching a splashy rise but it keeps the fish coming to hand during these cold spells.
There is one place that continues to fish pretty good most days and that is Abrams Creek. It being spring fed keeps it warmer than most other streams in the park. We’ve still been fishing double nymph rigs most of the time but haven’t had to add much weight since the fish weren’t locked on the bottom.
A stout rainbow with his spawning colors on.
Most of the fish we caught came on a size 16 prince nymph fished in the riffles. We tried several different flies but the prince did the job so why fix what’s not broken. We did see some black caddis and blue quills hatching but nothing rising to them which isn’t really a surprise since the dry fly fishing is never great on Abrams. At least you know there’s plenty going on below when there are bugs on top.
Most of the fish you can expect to catch in the Smokies range from 6-10 inches with the occasional nice brown mixed in. Although Abrams does have the average size fish it’s not uncommon to catch a nice rainbow every now and again. This is mainly due to more bug life in the creek as a whole.
Abrams is a technical creek with lots of ledges, drop offs and log jams that offer plenty of hiding spots for fish so bring plenty of flies in case you lose a few. It is extremely slick too so be careful wading it and take a wading staff if you have one. The fact that you have to hike in keeps most of the fishing pressure down and you can bet on not seeing another fisherman all day.
The kicker to the entire day is the amount of wildlife you’ll encounter along the way.
Hopefully it won’t be too much longer until we can see some consistent dry fly action to report about, but we’ll keep you posted when it arrives. Take care and have a blessed day.