Spring TN smallmouth fly fishing

We haven’t even made it through April and what a start to the East Tennessee smallmouth season it has been. We have seen every type of weather that you can imagine from hot and sunny days to freezing temps with snow blowing in 30 mph winds and oh yeah, inches of rain in a single day…. and that’s all in the same week. Some rivers are running high and others are low but we have spent a lot of time on these rivers finding fish and feeding them what they are looking for. We also have drift boats and rafts to effectively fish these waters no matter the water levels.


Fishing has been good overall with the exception of major cold fronts with air temps dropping 40 degrees overnight and even then we’re still catching fish.  However, those conditions definitely add challenges. The good news is the warming trends after these cold fronts bring the aggressive bite that those die hards chasing after pre spawn smallmouth are looking for. This is some of the best fishing of the year as bigger fish get aggressive before they spawn.

May is also a great time to target smallmouth as they are usually getting off the beds and looking to put on weight after losing so much during the spawn. This is when things start to get cranked up and the weather can be really nice. May is getting close to being booked up but there are a few spots open if you are still looking to get out on the water and get a tight line. This is not a time you want to miss out on around the Maryville, Knoxville and Smoky Mountains area.

Our best time of year is late spring and through the entire summer. This is the time when TVA stops generating so much water making it easier to plan floats way in advance and smallmouth start settlling down and aren’t moving around so much, making for stable fishing conditions and reliable patterns. Give us a call or email for all your Tennessee Smallmouth needs and we’ll get you on them rain or shine. Also check us out on instagram and facebook for more info. Have a blessed day and stay safe.

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It’s looking like an early Winter

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.

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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.

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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.




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It’s like Spring in July

The weather has done a complete 180 in the past week and we are loving it. The air temps have been in the low 80’s for the high’s and TVA has shut the water off on the rivers for most of the day. Who could have seen this coming and so close to August? The smallmouth fishing continues to be great with a steady/aggressive bite on topwater and streamers.

I spent 2 days last week with Glenn and Mike fishing for smallmouth and the action was good both days. The fish were hitting topwater pretty good, but it didn’t last all day. The low flows had the fish a little spooky during the latter  part of the day but baitfish streamers and craw patterns made up the difference.

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The scenery was the icing on the cake.



TVA has decided to cut the water off on the Holston River and with it being low and having good visibility it will be great for sight fishing. With the water being low and the weather starting to stabilize we can depend on the topwater action to continue as well. How long will it last, we don’t know but we are going to ride it out as long as possible.



Bryan might just become a smallie junkie after seeing an 8 wt bend like a horseshoe.

Mike and Mona were coming into town and wanted to get a little fishing in while they were here. The plan was to do some fishing in the Smokies for trout but with the Holston fishing as good as it has been I recommended a smallmouth float. This was their first time being in a drift boat fishing for smallies and after a little tweaking they were getting the hang of it.

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Did I mention the one Mona caught, daaaaang!

Way to go Mona on a great fish. Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time. The conditions are great and the fishing should only get better as long as the weather continues to be stable. It’s looking like August is going to be a good month to be on the water and if you are going to be visiting the area and want to get out please feel free to give us a call CONTACT US. Take care and have a blessed day.


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