June = topwater

With the passing of May, so goes dreams about pre and post-spawned smallmouth, but not to worry because there is something even better on the way. June comes equipped with long days and warm weather which means warmer water temps. This is really the start of active topwater feeding behaviors for smallmouth, aka POPPER SEASON!!! We have had several days this Spring during warm spells where we got some spotty love on topwater, but now we can expect more consistency.

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Glenn with 3 big boys, not a bad way to end May.

TVA has been running a lot of water on the Holston lately with very few windows of low water which makes it tough to float. The water temp is warm though and the fishing has been pretty good when the water is off. The French Broad has a somewhat better generation schedule but is still a little on the cold side. It’s not that the fish can’t be caught but it can take a little work at times. Now that it’s June and the weather is stable and warm we should see reliable flows on all our tailwaters and see fish coming to the surface.



Along with the main event (smallmouth) there are a variety of other fish that are a blast to catch that are willing to take a fly. One of which is the common carp and they’re everywhere in our rivers.



The Smokies have been on fire too with lots of Yellow Sallies and terrestrials on the water and around the banks. The key is to stay low and wear natural clothing to stay out of site. It’s a great time to be in East TN and we hope to show some of you around the waters. If you are in the Townsend area I highly suggest stopping in at Little River Outfitters and talking with the folks there about some fly selections and where to go. They are great. Have a great day.

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It’s topwater time in Tennessee

If you ever wake up early and get all of your stuff ready to go fishing, but don’t know what to throw, go outside and look at your bumper, or as we like to call it, the hatch chart. It will tell you all you need to know (colors, sizes, etc.).


The park has been fishing great with several hatches coming off and fish rising to them. The main hatch is still the Yellow Sallies with a few Golden Stones and Cahills mixed in. If you see lots of bugs flying around and not much happening on top of the water use the Joe Grobarek philosophy, if all else fails throw the adams. Also don’t forget about the terrestrials. Most folks think that it has to be summer before you throw terrestrials, but if they are out crawling around I guarantee that the fish won’t refuse one hitting the water.

We have been spending most of our time lately on the lower rivers fishing for smallies. We’ve seen plenty of topwater action during the day, but streamers have put more fish in the boat. The spawn should be over with shortly and the bigger fish will be hungry and looking for anything that swims, crawls or floats.


Dave and Chris helping us break in our new Sage VXP rods.

Everyone has one of those stories where the big one got away, but I can verify Chris’. He stuck a pig and after a few second it came out of the water only to show us how big he was and to throw the fly right back at us. Chris if you are reading this, I feel for you. After a much needed break to clear his head we were back to fishing and it wasn’t long before they were doubled up and Chris had forgotten all about it.

Check out the size of that Redeye.

When we got to the end of the float they said that it would be cool to catch a few trout, so we rigged up the 5 wts, put on some nymphs and it within a few minutes they were both hooked up.

Dave with a nice Holston bow.

Chris stuck another pig, only this time it was a big bow and with one jump we saw the line curling back and watch it land in the boat . At that point we just laughed and decided to call it a day. These guys were great fisherman and even better company, but the best part about taking a father/son trip is listening to all the trash talk on the ride home.

Dale is from Nashville and has done a good bit of bass fishing and has done some fly fishing, but hasn’t done them both at the same time. It didn’t take ole Dale to long to put both together and start catching some fish. In fact I think it was like the 5th cast and he was hooked up.

Not a trophy, but he hit a popper like he was.

Fishing poppers takes a little time to learn and involves a lot of patience. In fact you really have to believe that what you are throwing is going to work. Sometimes the fish aren’t turned on and they are very selective, but they seem to always be enticed by a topwater fly if presented right. After a short lunch break we switched to streamers and Dale really started working the river. He caught several more and lost some nice ones, but it happens. We had a great day and Dale really seemed to catch on to fly fishing.



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