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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We have definitely had a great smallmouth season so far and the end is still a ways off. August was great with non-stop topwater action and September is starting off by being a copy cat. The weather has been great and the flows from TVA can’t be beat. The nights are cool and the days are mild. The smallmouth can tell that the season is changing because the are putting a lot of effort in feeding throughout the day and the main course is thread fin shad, crawdads and terrestrials.
Even though the fish are chasing bait along the banks and literally rubbing their noses raw by digging for crawdads, they’re not going to pass up an easy meal like a popper landing on the surface. This is a great time of year to target better than average fish by sight casting to them in the low clear water as they wait to ambush their prey. If you are a trout fisherman and have never experienced this for yourself, it’s as close to throwing a dry at a sipping trout as it gets. It couldn’t happen at a better time too than the heat of summer when the water is warm and low which can make for frustrating days on a trout stream.
Butch Johnson from Knoxville got to see first hand how exciting it can be.
Butch spends most of his time on the Clinch River where small midges make up the majority of the food source for the fish so throwing bigger streamers and topwater poppers was definitely a big change. Butch handled it well and with a little bit of work on casting and action of the flies he was in the zone. I look forward to fishing with Butch again and great job on some nice fish.
Alex staying low so he doesn’t spook the fish and the rewards for doing so. Alex and his dad Steve are good people.
The Smokies have also fished great lately with dry flies being all that you need. Adams will do the trick in the morning and terrestrials in the afternoon after the sun is overhead, this is mainly due to the low water. Tossing an adams in the riffles will give you some instant gratification, but most of the larger fish will be in hiding and if you know where to look they will be willing to take a fly that isn’t smacked on the water.
Keep your potatoes peeled for the grey footballs hanging in the trees. We have seen these on the Holston too and they are an eye opener when going in to retrieve a fly from a limb. Losing a fly doesn’t sting as bad as a hornet. Take care, be safe and enjoy the great fishing while it last. Have a blessed day.
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