Tag: East TN smallmouth
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It has been a pretty mild Winter so far in East TN and though the weather is about to change again and get colder, our minds are already set on Spring. We have been busy tying flies (old and new) and stocking our boxes for Spring. The Quill Gordon hatch will be here before too long and dry fly season will be in full effect for the Smoky Mountains.
We have also been spending some time on the bigger rivers for smallmouth since the start of December. Winter fishing can be dull at times for any species of fish, espcially smallmouth, but if you’re willing to put in the time and work for them it can pay off. Fishing a lot slower and downsizing your offerings can be a good start. There’s not a lot of food moving around this time of year and the fish can be very lethargic. A fish’s metabolism slows down quite a bit in cold weather and feeding isn’t as important as conserving energy, so the tricky part is knowing where the fish are and seeing the strike.
This guy felt like an ice cube, but check out the colors.
We also decided that a new item was needed for our float trips in 2013. The trolling motor just wasn’t cutting it enough through the flat water stretches so we decided to go a little bigger.
For those of you who have been with us before and know how slack the water can be in certain areas, you’ll be happy to know that we should cut that time in half now. This means more time in the good water.
We are excited about this coming season and some of the new trips we will be offering (check out the guided trips page). We hope everybody has a great day and thanks for checking in on us. Feel free to call with any questions.
It has been a while since the last report and we are sorry, it’s just that October has been really busy and when I get a day off I usually like to be rippin lips. I am here now and the rain is starting to fall which we need badly. The next few days are going to be really cold and have some pretty nasty weather. Take a jacket or two and an extra set of close to change into in case you fall in, trust me it happens.
The Smokies have been fishing very well with dries and nymphs, but lets face it why throw anything else when they are eating on top. BWO’s are coming off just about everyday and we are seeing a good amount of Slate drakes, Sulphurs and October Caddis throughout the day too. The fish can be spooky with the low water, but that should change with the rain we are getting. Also the browns are spawning and we are seeing their redds everywhere, so be on the lookout for them and watch your step in the back of the runs.
The tailwaters aren’t having very good schedules or even consistent for that matter, but when they do the fish have been pretty active and feeding a good bit. The browns on those rivers are getting aggressive too and are spawning as well. This time of year is great for streamers and getting those aggressive fish to come to us. Fly wise the same ol’ stuff is still fishing good, beadheads and midges are always a good choice. Also while your fishing the Clinch keep your potatoes peeled for a good Black Caddis hatch. We have run into these hatches in the Fall and Winter and they are really good and get the fish all hot and bothered.
The Smallmouth fishing has been fantastic with plenty of fish still coming to the surface and hitting topwater, although with this cold front pushing in we will have to see how they feel in a few days. Keep plenty of baitfish patterns with you just in case, we have had days where we can’t get anything to come to the surface but the fish would maul a streamer right below the surface. The cooler water can get them on a big minnow bite and you want to be ready for that, because it is a lot of FUN. The smallmouth fishing won’t last for very much longer so if you still want to go you better get on it.
Fishing in East TN is good all around and will be like this for a little while. If you have the time to fish but can’t make up your mind there are plenty of options to choose from. We are very blessed to live in an area that is this beautiful and diverse. Sorry for the late report and thanks for reading with us.
6 years old, starting off right.
The mornings are cool enough to wear a jacket and the afternoons are in the 70′s. It is a great time to be fishing, not to mention the VOLS are playing football. Fishing in the park has been good and the tailwaters are getting better flows for floating. The browns are moving around for the spawn and the leaves have a slightly different color to them. We had a great couple of days on the Clinch last week with very little crowds. Scott and Don had a great day and enjoyed the scenery. As we approached the bottom ramp Scott got the surprise of the day when his line got tight.
Also while working with Robyn in the park on some nymphing, we spotted a nice fish sitting on the bottom of a run. A couple of cast later Robyn was holding an 18 inch brown. Her first fish ever on a fly rod. It is definitely that time of year and we love it. Also the smallmouth fishing is still good. A lot of folks forget how good the fishing can be for these guys in the fall as well. I guess they are thinking about the browns and the start of deer season.
We are still catching good numbers of fish and on topwater. It won’t last too much longer, so we are taking advantage of it while we still can. If you are having trouble getting the fish to come to the surface, then put on a smaller streamer and get it down a couple of feet, that should do the trick. The bigger fish will be towards the bottom.
For Chuck’s birthday his girlfriend Heather decided to surprise him with a smallmouth fly fishing trip and though he had not done much fly fishing, he did pretty well for himself and all on poppers.
J.J. and Bob also had good success with poppers, but later in the day found that streamers were the answer. If you have the time to fish then get out and wet a line because it is good everywhere. We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and it is about to be at it’s peek. Thanks for reading and hope to see you out.
With Tropical Storm Isaac swinging up from the Gulf we thought that the weather would have screwed things up a bit for the fishing. It actually didn’t get as bad we thought and the weather is pretty nice and the tailwaters are cutting back on the generation. The storm did leave the gulf coast torn up and lots of people without power, so continue to pray for those folks. August was a great month for fishing and September is looking to be the same. The topwater bite still continues to be good and finding shaded areas in the afternoons doesn’t hurt. Crawdad patterns are a good choice for subsurface flies if the fish are getting the tight-lipped disease on poppers. Also minnow patterns in the mornings can be a good way to start the day.
During the heat of the day the fish can get a little finicky and that calls for a more stealthy approach. Longer, thinner leaders and fishing flies slower can continue to draw strikes, but fishing the flies too slow will keep you hung up in the rocks. Finding that fine line can be tough but hang in there because it can pay off.
We also got to spend a few days in Pembroke, VA on the New River fishing for Smallmouth and Musky. We camped on the river and floated for 3 days. 10 minutes into the trip Chris yelled ” Musky” across the river. Keep in mind that he was fishing with a medium action rod and 8lb test line in a kayak. The fish finally had enough and we got it in the net.
Congratulations on the monster fish Chris.
We caught a ton of smallmouth in the 8 to 12 inch range with a few between 15 and 19 inches. On top of the great fishing, getting to run some big rapids was a lot of fun too.
We camped right on the river and got to wake up fish breaking on the surface.
Couldn’t have asked for better weather and really good flows. Since I was used to tailwaters and generation, having consistent flows was weird. Also the water temps were warmer than I imagined.
At one point, Will and Chris doubled up, but Will lost his fish while I was getting out the camera. We had a blast and I can see us making this an annual trip. If you are thinking of doing a trip on the New River, then go for it. It is a lot of fun and one of the prettiest places you will ever see. Check out Tangent Outfitters or New River Outdoor Co. Both of these guide services will show you a good time.
We are having some really nice weather here in East TN and the random summer shower here and there has kept the water levels up in all of our rivers which also makes them a little off color. Yep, the conditions couldn’t be any better. The smallmouth are very aggressive and feeding on a plethora of things, mainly baitfish and crawdads with the occasional terrestrial falling off the bank.
Here were a couple of nice fish from a float trip the other day. Both Rufus and Mike are on the board of TU, but have a soft spot for smallies.
In the heat of the summer when the water is usually clear and warm the fish can be a little fickle. If you are experiencing a day like this then change up your strategy. The fish will come up to eat something off the surface, but unless you have what they want it’s best to take the flies to them. Smallmouth have a reputation for being explosive and for the most part that’s right, but during the muggy August days, fish the flies slower and get them to the bottom.
My buddy Tim and I ran into a day like this yesterday and had to switch up our tactics a little.
Fishing for smallies is great right now especially when the weather is in the mid to high 80′s, which is crazy for August. If you aren’t jazzed about fishing this time of year because of the heat, then give these dudes a chance, it might change your way of thinking.
People look at this time of year and can only think geez it’s so hot, or the fact that fall is still so far away. To be honest about it, this is our favorite time of year because the smallmouth love the muggy days of summer. These days are known as the dog days and even though it’s in the upper 90′s with 100% humidity, all we can think of is the fact that summer is almost over and the topwater bite will be done before you know it. Our tailwaters have had better generation schedules and the freestone rivers could use a little more water, but the fish don’t seem to mind it. I mean let’s face it, they have to eat. The topwater fishing has been great and the fish are definitely looking up, but there are certain times in the day when you need to switch up you tactics and go under the service. I know it can be a let down when fish stop taking topwater, but you’ll forget all about when one stops your streamer.
I gave up on topwater after an hour one day and switched to a streamer, a few casts later this guy jumped on my line. Don’t get caught in a fly slump. Sometimes I am ready to throw the box in and let them choose and then I grab the dumbest looking thing in my box just to see what happens.
As the water gets a little warmer the fish can change what they feed on and how they want it. They can also sit in different areas where the situation works best for them. I like trying to use lighter colored flies for bright days and even dropping it down a size if the fish aren’t reacting to the fly. Also working it slower can work to your advantage if the fish aren’t active. Just remember that the fishing can change at the drop of a hat so be patient and switch up you techniques to find what works.
Poppers and Stealth Bombers have been the first choice for topwater since you can fish them both a lot of different ways and they have produced fish pretty consistently.
Fishing nonstop in the heat can wear you down after a while so pulling the boat in the shade for some lunch and a cold coke will hit the spot. If food doesn’t do it for you and you need something else, then the front of the driftboat serves as a great recliner.
We ask folks all the time if they fish for smallmouth and we almost always get the same response “yes but only when the trout fishing is slow”. We really enjoy showing people another side of fly fishing and once they see how aggressive these fish are they usually call us later on to talk more about smallies. If you don’t have the motivation to fish for spooky trout give us a call and find out what all the fuss is about.
This can be one of the best times of the year to catch plus sized smallmouth on topwater and we have a lot of hot days ahead of us. We’re sorry for the lack of fishing reports lately, but what little off time we have we try to spend on the water. If you like dry fly fishing for trout, than you’ll love this. Have a great day and be safe with all the thunderstorms that just pop up.