Sunscreen and chiller killers

March has been pretty typical so far with drastic weather changes day in and day out. We’ve had temps near 70 and 2 days later, snow blowing sideways. We’ve seen this pattern over and over growing up here so we’re used to it. However, there is good news to report concerning the weather. The extended forecast is predicting that most of next week is going to be in the 60’s with lows in the 40’s.

Though the fish in the Smokies can be affected by the shifting weather patterns somewhat, the tailwater fish seem to keep on chugging along in full stride. That’s what is great about our part of the country. There are so many options to choose from giving us plan b, c and d.

 

Lee with some chunky boys from the Clinch on a warmer day, both streamers and nymphs.

Kyle had a different day for his first time with a fly rod, but the results were the same. His face got stuck like this and not because of the sub-freezing temps.

The fishing overall has been fantastic despite the weather and to top it off we are seeing plenty of bugs on the water. Midges are most plentiful and fish will always take one, however the sulfurs have been coming on stronger every day and on occasion fish have been rising to them. I’m hoping to see a lot more of this in the next few weeks with the increase of stable flows from TVA.

The Holston has had windows of minimum flows on the weekends which is a great sign for what’s around the corner. Days with fish heads coming up and sipping caddis off the surface aren’t far off, you definitely don’t want to miss that. In the mean time we’ll “settle” for some first class fishing on the Clinch. GIVE US A CALL to get out on the river. Have a blessed day.

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Early Winter setting in

Fall in East TN can be spectacular with stunning views of colorful Mountain sides from the middle of October till sometimes almost Thanksgiving. This year has been quite a bit different and the weather has turned cold quick. Here we are in “SNOW-VEMBER” and we’ve already seen several heavy snow falls in the mountains along with dustings in the valley. There have also been the occasional flooding problems here and there but that has settled down and the water looks great. The only threat to the fishing has been the water temps which have ranged anywhere from the low 50’s to the mid 30’s which can definitely throw the fishing off axis.

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Glenn landed several fish like this last week and deserved everyone of them for fishing in terrible conditions.

The fishing hasn’t been bad at all it’s just that the temps make it tough to stay warm and keep moral high. It’s pretty bad when you catch a nice fish and don’t want a picture with it just to keep your hands from touching the water, but I give credit to anyone that will come out and fish in those conditions. Fishing cold mountain streams means changing techniques to fit the situations. Dry fly fishing is almost completely gone now but fishing nymphs can be just as fun if done right and can even produce some better sized fish, not to mention it keeps the rod bent in tough conditions. Small nymph’s like 18’s and 16’s with light tippet (5x-6x) will do the trick.

Something else to keep in mind is staying out of the fast water where the fish would have to work hard to swim. Cold water slows the fish’s metabolism way down making them sluggish and they’re not going to want to waste energy to get a small meal. Slower pools will definitely produce more activity. Just make sure to add the right amount of weight for the water you’ll be fishing and get those flies to the bottom.

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Jules landed this beauty on a number 18 nymph in frigid temps.

The good news is that starting Friday we should see a warming trend with days in the 50’s and even 60’s which will be a nice break from the teens which we’re sitting in while writing this report. This dramatic change in weather should turn the feed on and get the fish active. Heck, it will be nice to just be on the water with the sun shining. The tailwaters are also still running high but should be cutting off soon once they get the lakes down to their winter levels. When this happens it should be fantastic since the fish haven’t seen much in the way of fishing traffic.

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9,000 cfs isn’t easy to fish in but it can be done.

Our season is winding down and we’re seeing less and less traffic on the roads and more open pull off’s in the Smokies. This is that time of year when solitude can be found once again on the river where you might not see another fisherman all day. I love this time of year personally, it’s become one of my favorite times of year and we get a lot of fishing done. If you’re in town and would like to get out on the water don’t give up on the idea of catching fish; GIVE US A CALL and we’ll take you out and show you how.

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Having to play the cards we’re dealt.

Here in East TN we are still getting mixed weather conditions. This time last year we were in t-shirts and fishing the middle of the Quill Gordon hatch. This year has been a little spotty with warm days followed by freezing weather  and back to warm days. The Bugs have started a little and the fish are eating them, but we aren’t seeing the drawn out hatches through the day, just spurts in the afternoon. We take advantage of the nice weather when we can in February.

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Abrams Creek

This time of year it’s hard not to be excited about the Smoky Mountains. We have over-sized bugs slapping their winged on the surface and “ringing the dinner bell” for the trout. The wildflowers are starting to come out and the wildlife likes to come around while we fish.

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Doug and Laura couldn’t wait any longer and had to get out and do some fishing. The day wasn’t what you would called ideal with cloud cover all day and a slightly cold breeze, but they hung in there and weren’t going to let the fish get the best of them. Laura was the first to hook up with a fish and she earned it, lobbing heavy nymphs with a lot of slit shot is not easy.

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You can’t tell by the expression on her face, but she was pretty excited about the fish. A very nice rainbow and her first fish from the Smokies.

Even though the sun decided to stay in bed all day we did get a short hatch of Quill Gordons and Blue Quills around 1:00pm and the fish were loving it. Doug and I watched as a Quill Gordon had just gotten off the water and a small rainbow jumped up (and succeeded) to grab the fly. As we focused upstream we noticed a larger brown was feeding on the adults, so Doug drifted the fly over him when all of a sudden……….SPLASH!

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Not the fish we were after but we will take these any day.

Like most couples competition is always there and nobody can deny the fact and that was the case for Doug and Laura. A little friendly competition is ok, it keeps things interesting. Even though Laura had the big fish of the day Doug also caught his first on a dry fly which is equally cool. If you ask me I would call it a tie.

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After a while, hunger set in and we decided to take a break….. by the river of course.

All in all the weather wasn’t what we had hoped for but we still caught fish and you couldn’t ask for better company on the water. So, congratulations guys on a job well done.

We are supposed to have a couple more days of decent/warmer weather and then it is going to drop into the freezing temps again. Gotta love the randomness of East TN weather. It keeps you on your toes. Take care and have a great day.

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