Glad to be back in the Smokies

The smallmouth fishing has been on fire lately with a great bite on crawdad and smaller baitfish patterns imitating thread fin shad. The fish are looking to stock up on protein as the threat of Winter gets closer, which isn’t that far away. The colors are starting to show up around the Holston too.

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Tim loving the Fall smallmouth action.

There is great news with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park……IT’S OPEN and has been for the last few days. I guess both parties pushed aside their differences and temporarily fixed the problem. We were excited to get back in the Smokies, but weren’t really sure how the hatches were going to be or how active the fish were. Our first trip was yesterday and I was pretty early for the trip so I stopped at a pool to see if any fish were moving around and this was the first thing I saw.

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I was pretty excited after seeing this bruiser sitting out in the open. I can assure you that the fish are acting just like they should after not seeing anybody for 2 weeks, eager.

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Braden’s first time fly fishing the Smokies and it didn’t take him long to get on the board.

As you can see there are plenty of leaves in the water and this can make nymph fishing kind of tough this time of year. The good thing is that you really don’t need a nymph right now because the water is so low and the fish are looking up so dries are the ticket. We were seeing Slate Drakes and October Caddis before the park closed and we still are seeing some but you can also add BWO’s to the list.

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Wearing natural colors and crouching down in low water conditions can greatly improve your catch rate. The biggest part of fishing the Smokies is staying hidden from the fish and getting a good drift, which Braden did spot on. We have definitely been seeing several bigger fish out and about in the Smokies due to pre-spawn activity and you really never know what can happen this time of year.

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While this brown thought he was getting an easy meal he didn’t see what was right around the corner. Another brown around 20 inches thought he hit the jackpot when he grabbed this guy like a dog bone. Braden had the 2 on for a few minutes before the bigger fish gave up and went back to his hole leaving the smaller fish with some battle scars to show off. Our top fly all day was a parachute adams and we caught fish in all types of water. It’s Fall, the leaves are changing and the conditions are great for fishing. I’d say if you have been on the fence about coming to the area then don’t hesitate any longer. Give us a call and we’ll get you set up for a day on the water, CONTACT US.

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Stay in the shade

We thought we had gone through Summer without seeing the normal hot muggy days. Well, we were wrong, the past few days have been a reminder that it’s September. The good thing is that it shouldn’t last long since we’re almost half way through and October will be here before you know it with cool nights and mornings, not to mention the great hatches in the Smokies.

September is always a hot month and it’s normal to see fish get spooky and feed less than normal due to the warm, low water. This has not been the case the past week. The fish will definitely be in the shade or some sort of cover but because the water is cool and the flows are a little on the high side the fishing has continued to be fantastic.

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Between fish going nuts for poppers and the Vols with a huge win, Dennis was having a good day.

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Jules is another victim of a smallie addiction. 2 fish at 18″ on his first trip.

Minnow patterns have been working well in the early part of the day, but once the sun is out is has been all topwater for the rest of the day. The topwater bite should last well into October as long as we don’t see any extreme weather hit us out of nowhere.

The Smokies have fished a little different from the bigger rivers. The fish are feeding well and will be in the shade, but they can be very skittish at times due to low, clear water. Putting on a thin leader and smaller flies can help with that and wearing natural colors doesn’t hurt.

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A couple of fish that took a terrestrial from a shady riffle.

Try an adams or a yellow stimulator in the morning as the fish won’t be spooky and ants, beetles and inch worms underneath trees for a “sip”. Before you know it you’ll need a light jacket in the morning and the water will have Isonychia’s and October Caddis hopping around. There is something to be said about getting to the river in the Fall and watching fish rise as the leaves are changing while sipping a cup of coffee. Take care and have a great day.

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Stuff on the surface

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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