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.
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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So while we’ve been on baby watch the last week and the Smokies are still closed I’ve been working on a new smallmouth fly for the past few days. Yesterday I was scheduled to do a trip for trout in the mountains but had to scratch it due to all the water still being locked up. Since we were mentally ready to go fish we weren’t going to fight it and we loaded up the boat and the 8wt’s.
The Holston and French Broad have been running pretty high the last few days with TVA trying to get the lakes down but there have been slight breaks in generation on the Holston. The water was still on the high side when we got to the river and with the cold front that had moved in the night before we didn’t have high hopes of catching a ton of fish, but thought what better conditions to try out a new fly. We were surprised to see the fish were still feeding good and even with the higher water they would still eat and even took an occasional popper.
The new fly worked.
The water temp on the Holston is still in the mid to high 60’s and the fish are healthy, fired up and looking for a fight. We are supposed to get some warmer days in the high 70’s starting Thursday and that should only increase the bite. This is great news considering the Clinch River has been running almost 8700 cfs, which is hard to fish unless throwing streamers for big browns is your thing or you’re willing to hike in from the gates and fish the park which I’ve heard the rangers are letting people do, LRO FISHING REPORT.
We are keeping in mind the fact that at some point something has got to give and a decision will be made with the government. Until then we are making the best of it and enjoying the fishing as much as possible. Hopefully TVA will start cutting back on the flows and we will be able to fish the Upper Holston and Clinch more through the Fall and Winter. We will keep you posted as much as we can with updates on the fishing so keep checking in.
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August is almost here and we are starting to see a lot more breaks in the generation schedules for the local tailwaters . It’s not normal to see high water this late in the year, so it’s nice to see a break from it. The good thing is that the fishing has been great when the water is down and the fish are fat, healthy and supercharged. Due to the constant high water earlier this year the fish haven’t been able get out and feed, so when the water drops out they have been taking advantage of it and so have we.
The fish have been taking a wide variety of flies such as poppers, baitfish streamers and craw patterns throughout the day. The main thing to keep in mind is that they are hungry and if it gets in front of their face and presented right they will take it. Our favorite thing to throw is obviously poppers because of the take and the opportunity of sight fishing and believe me when I say we have been enjoying it.
Hot and muggy can be good for the bite.
Other times when the topwater bite hasn’t been the greatest and we have to switch up tactics to stripping streamers or hopping crawdads, it can produce. I know it’s not everyone’s favorite thing to do but sometimes the fish are pouting and aren’t looking up, so switching techniques can keep the fish coming to the boat.
Either size always puts up a big fight.
Sometimes it doesn’t seem to matter what you do, the fishing is just silly and you have one of those days when the fish seem to jump in the boat.
The fishing has been great and the weather hasn’t been nice for the most part. You can bet on one thing though, if you plan on a trip to East TN in the Summer, it will most likely be hot with a chance of ending wet. However, it’s totally worth it and some sunscreen and a rain jacket will go a long way.
I have had some really good fishermen in the boat and watching them fish has been fun to watch, but there are other fishermen outside the boat that are even better at what they do and I thought it would be proper to give them credit.
We have noticed the growth in numbers of Bald Eagles on the rivers over the last few years and it really makes our day to see them work. If you are thinking of planning a trip this way and want to try your hand at smallmouth or trout please feel free to give us a call (http://frontieranglerstn.com/contact-us/). I think that August is going to be awesome and the flows should be more reliable for floating/fishing. Take care and have a blessed day.
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