Some too high, some too low

It has been an unusual Fall here in East TN and what I mean by that is we aren’t fishing the Smokies. The weather is still warm and the leaves haven’t really started to change. It’s the Middle of October but it sure doesn’t feel like it. We’re hoping that the government shutdown won’t last much longer and we’ll see the parks open up in time for good dry fly fishing and watching the browns spawn.

People are still coming into the area and wanting to fish and there are some options to choose from, if you are willing to drive that is. The Cherokee National Forest has streams and fish similar to the Smokies and it’s open to fish and hike to everyone. The Little River is low but has been stocked with fish that are willing to eat dries, nymphs and streamers. There are also the local tailwaters for trout and smallmouth. Although the flows have not been great, there are times with no generation to get in a full day of fishing.

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We’ve kept ourselves busy by floating for smallmouth lately and even though most folks come to the Smokies in the Fall for the trout fishing they’ve not been disappointed with the alternatives. With low water and cooler temps at night this cools the water down and starts moving the smallmouth in the deeper pools. We have found several spots that have been holding some nice fish that are stocking up for the Winter. Fishing crawdad and baitfish patterns slow has worked well for us, but subtle takes have been common so keeping a tight line has helped.  It’s hard to wade fish the tailwaters this time of year because of the erratic flows and using a boat is easier to find fish and cover water.

We’re looking forward to the flows on the Clinch and Holston Rivers to slow down so we can continue floating for trout. In the meantime  the pursuit of smallies  has us more than satisfied and is keeping the rods bent. If your coming into the area and don’t know what to do, we’ll do our best to get you out on the water for a fun day on one of the beautiful rivers in the area.


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Decisions, Decisions

When it comes to Fall in East TN there’s a lot going on outdoors between the fish getting into their Fall routine, tailgating and sitting in a deer stand. All are great, but the hardest thing is picking your poison. If you are planning on visiting the area or you’re a local there are plenty of things to get into especially when it comes to fly fishing.

As of lately TVA has been running water on the Holston and French Broad rivers with windows of 0 generators long enough to get in a full day of fishing. On the other hand, the Clinch River hasn’t been running water at all from 7am to 6pm. This makes the fish spooky and stealthy tactics are needed. If you are thinking of fishing the smokies, well you are in luck. The streams in the smokies have been fishing great as of late with big bugs landing on the water and large browns feeding more getting ready for the spawn.



Amy is 5 months pregnant and decided she wanted to learn to fly fish.

Fishing the riffles and pocket water is always productive, but doing it in the Fall may just get you a shot at a fish of a lifetime. The browns have been moving around a lot the past couple of weeks and as they look for a partner and a good place to spawn they will need to stock up on food.

Little River water level

You may find yourself wanting to fish the the smaller mountain streams but can’t as the night before the mountains got a bunch of rain and the streams are too high. Showers lasting all day can happen here in the Fall which will raise the water levels, but depending on the severity of the rain the streams will empty out shortly after and the fishing will resume in a day or two.

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Smallmouth fly fishing is great in the early Fall and isn’t as hard as one might think. This was Karlan and Donna’s first time targeting smallmouth.

As the air temps drop and the water starts to cool the smallmouth begin to feed heavily on baitfish and crawdads so they can bulk up for the cold months to come, which is happening now. This is great news for us because the fish are looking for anything that looks close to the real thing with zero hesitation. Now, while the fish are focusing their attention near the bottom they’re still willing to take a popper off of the surface. The reason this works is because our rivers just aren’t that deep for the most part and the fish won’t pass up an easy meal that falls in the water in front of them.

It’s a great time to be in East TN and we hope you get the chance to see some of the action first hand. If you are interested in trying fly fishing for the first time or you are a veteran and just want to get away for the day we would be glad to have you. We also provide all the gear that is needed for each trip so you don’t have to worry about it, CONTACT US. Take care and have a great day.

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Here comes the cool weather.

It definitely feels like Fall in the mornings and the evenings as of the last few days. The highs during the day have been in the mid 70’s and the lows at night in the 50’s. The drop in the air temperature has the water getting cooler every day and it’s put the trout in the Smokies in a good mood.



Zack and Tim made their first trip to the Smokies a success.

We noticed #12 Slate Drakes (Isonychia’s) flying around today in small numbers and even the sporadic October Caddis. That is a for sure sign of fall fly fishing in the Smokies. We fished #16 yellow stimulators and #14 parachute adams and caught fish throughout the day. The water in the Little River spiked at close to 500 cfs a few days ago and is back down to 150 cfs or 1.75 ft. This is great for fishing dry flies, so if you are thinking of coming to the Smokies for a getaway then now would be a good time.



Stay low and fish the pocket water and seems. Tim giving a perfect example.

The Holston and French Broad tailwaters have been running generators during the day and shutting off at night and if you know where to look and stay ahead of the generation there are options to choose from. The Clinch has been off all day in continuance of the weir dam construction and running water all night. This can make the fish very finicky because of the low clear water with no pulses in between.

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Early fall fishing is some of the best of the year.

Popping bugs are still bringing fish to the surface and on several occasions some chunky fish at that. There have been days when the topwater action will slow down for a little bit and taking flies to the fish did the trick. Hopping crawdads along the bottom is easy and can take up the slack during a slow period. The fish are gorging in between high generation and taking advantage of low water. We are still getting enough low water during the day to get a full day of fishing in. I hope you get the chance to visit our area while the weather and fishing are exceptional. If you want to spend a day on the water then give us a call and we will make it happen CONTACT US. Take care and have a blessed day.

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