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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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.


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.



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.



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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