A cornucopia of options

So far our spring has been fantastic. We’ve had nice weather, maybe a little breezy at times but nice over all. We’ve also had great flows on the rivers, both freestones and tailwaters. Bug life is plentiful some days and sparse other days but either way the fish are feeding just fine and their girth shows it.

Even when we’ve fished the streams in the smokies and bugs are scarce the fish have been very aggressive on dry flies, especially between 10:00am-3:00pm. Sometimes the late afternoon bite will slow down on top so switching to nymphs can keep the bite going, but keep the dry’s handy because the evening bite will yield some good surface action. There are still quill gordons and blue quills around with the addition of tan caddis and the occasional brown stonefly. I also noticed several really early yellow sallies the other day crawling around the rocks.

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The Holston River is fishing well all day with the current flows that TVA is putting out and the fish are healthy and aggressive and that’s putting it mildly. Midges are the main focus right now as we wait for the arrival of the caddis hatch. There are also plenty of opportunities for sight casting to fish “sipping” bugs which is a lot of fun, especially when we have been fishing nymphs most of the time. We’ve seen several sporadic caddis hopping around but no takers yet. Don’t worry though, it won’t be long until it all comes together.

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The Clinch River hasn’t had ideal flows as the water has been off all day which can make for some finicky fishing. Long casts are necessary with fine tippet and long drifts. That being said, those up for the challenge can be rewarded with some quality and quite possibly some of the prettiest fish you’ll ever see. Hopefully they’ll start running water in the afternoons soon and things will be back to normal.

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We also couldn’t wait any longer to start smallmouth fishing with this nice mild, warm weather we’ve had. Flows have been good but the water is still cold and even though the bite isn’t real aggressive  we have found feeding fish and healthy ones at that. It feels sooooo good to get back at them and can’t wait to see what late spring has to offer. Spring smallmouth can be some of the best of the year as they’re moving around during pre-spawn.

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We also had the opportunity to show our waters to Tim Holshlag who is a well known smallmouth fisherman and writer of several smallmouth books and articles. He is from Minnesota and spent many years fishing the Upper Mississippi. He is also the guy who created the blockhead popper and many other great smallmouth patterns. Check out his website at smallmouthflyangler.com.

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If you are heading to East TN for your spring vacation or are simply looking for a place to go, we have plenty of fishing options to choose from. We currently have a few open dates for the second full week in April (11th-15th) as we had a cancellation come up. If you are interested in wetting a line give us a call, we’d love to show you what we have to offer in our beautiful area. Thanks for reading with us and we hope that you have a blessed day.

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Catching a break in generation

It hasn’t been easy to find low water to fish around here lately especially on the tailwaters. If you’ve been checking the generation schedule everyday like we have then you probably have seen an occasional window here and there but not many. We’re seeing more breaks in the schedule with great flows for all day floating/wade fishing. I hate to jump the gun and set somebody up for a disappointment but if you have the option to get out then go because it will be worth the effort.

The Holston has fished pretty dang good on low water and the fish are happy and healthy. Stick with your standard flies like pheasant tails, hares ears and zebra midges because there’s really no need to go crazy with fly experimentation right now. Save those flies for when the fish have seen just about everything and start to get a little picky, sometimes going simple will put fish in the net.

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Tyler with a chunk.

Our fishing season is 12 months long and can be down right fantastic fishing midges for bigger fish in the winter. With Christmas and New Years right around the corner there can be a lot of stress in the air and a day to yourself catching a few fish could be just the medicine you need. Do yourself a favor and get out on the water and experience some great fishing first hand. Heck, if you are new to the area, sport, or just want to see some different techniques, give us a call and we’ll get you out on the water. Don’t forget about our gift certificates for any trip for that outdoorsman in your family that can be hard to shop for. Just CONTACT US and we’ll take care of everything.

We hope that everyone has a very Merry Christmas and that things don’t get too stressful for you. When things get tough just remember what Christmas is all about. Take care and have a great day.

 

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Taking advantage of the situations……what few there are

It’s been a little while since we’ve had something to write about due to the poor conditions we’ve had lately, but looking at the 10 day forecast for our area we are in the clear……for now. We’ve got a small cold front coming though tonight but the rest of the week looks good.

The streams in the Smokies have been running high for a while and it seems like every time the water starts to come down we get more rain and it starts to rise again. The only good thing is that the rain leaking into the streams is warm which has kept the water temps up. If you watch the water gauge for the Little River (link on our home page) and find it down one day get out and fish because it will probably be good.

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The only thing that has been fishable lately has been the Holston River below Cherokee Dam and it’s been spotty at best. The generation schedule has been very irregular the past week. Some days the river is high, some days it’s low and others it fluctuates  every 3 to 4 hours. Mix these schedules with sporadic weather and the fishing can suffer. The biggest reason (from what we’ve seen) has been the lack of bug life moving around and hatching. When this happens the fish can be very finicky and hard to move.

The Holston was off all day yesterday, which was a shocker so naturally we had to load up the boat and take advantage of the flow.  At first the action was pretty slow with a few fish here and some nicer fish coming unbuttoned at the boat, but things got a lot better around lunch time, right around the time the rain started. Most of our fish came on nymphs (pheasant tail and hares ear variations) and streamers fished low and slow through the deeper runs. There was the occasional pod of rising fish that would take a dry but were easily put down if over fished. Most of the bugs we saw were midges bouncing off the water along with a few caddis here and there.

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The unpredictable weather keeps us on edge looking for the next time when we can get out on the water. Sometimes the flows and the weather don’t line up, heck they hardly ever seem to this time of year. If you just have to get out of the house and need to wet a line, you can expect to fish in less than perfect conditions. Even if the weather isn’t great the fishing can make up for it, plus you might catch a glimpse of a something spectacular that you couldn’t have seen while staying at the house.

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We’re getting ready for Spring by tying flies in hopes of seeing an early Quill Gordon hatch. Hopefully we’ll see them a few weeks early like we did a couple of years ago, but by the look of things lately all we can do is hope. We’re starting to book trips for the Spring and looking forward to getting folks out on the water for some great dry fly fishing. The Smokies along with our local tail waters can fish well starting in late February/early March and if you’re looking at getting out then give us a call (CONTACT US), we’d be glad to have you. Take care everybody and be safe on the water.

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