Spring has Sprung

Here it is February and we’ve got temps in the 70’s and water temps in the Smokies are reaching into the 50’s during the day. Bugs are hatching and fish are looking up for them most days.  We’re seeing Quill Gordon’s and Blue Quills on a fairly regular basis along with the early Brown Stones which are a spring staple in the Smokies. All in all a perfect scenario for a good time in the Smoky Mountain National Park has finally arrived. There’s no telling how long it will last so get here and enjoy it before it turns cold again, which by going off of past Spring patterns is likely.


I love to see those Quill Gordons

Even if the occasional cold front pushes in and fowls up the freestone streams the  Clinch and Holston Rivers keep consistent temps and scheduled flows for the most part. They are reliable fisheries throughout the spring and summer giving those that want to cover more water in a drift boat a chance at catching bigger fish. The Clinch River has been our main focus lately while fishing nymphs and streamers. While TVA kept the rivers high, streamers (put in the right place) worked very well. Now that the flows have eased up a bit we’ve spent most days fishing nymphs and even dries when the situation calls. We have been seeing sporadic sulfur activity which is early and is as inconsistent as the rain we’ve been waiting on. Midges however have been a different story.


2 of the best folks to ever get in my boat Lou and Kathy enjoying the nice weather

Steve with a great fish from the Clinch


Lee looked like this all day, the guy can fish.

Spring is generally  regarded as trout season for most fly fishermen, and for good reason. It isn’t the only way to keep a bent rod here in the South however. When we’re not fishing for trout, we’ve been spending quite a bit of time finding staging Smallmouth in preparation for some of that awesome pre-spawn action. This isn’t the easiest time to catch Smallmouth but efforts can be rewarded with a great fish, maybe even several per day. Quality fishing looks like it may come earlier than expected……but we’ve been fooled before.

45 degree water doesn’t exactly make things fast and furious but it’s nice to get after them none the less.

So lets recap- Smokies trout eating big dries, tailwaters producing quality fish and numbers on top of pre-spawn Smallmouth are right around the corner. Man oh man this is a great time of year to be in the Smoky Mountains, and if I might add right here in the Maryville or Knoxville area which puts you right in the middle of it all. If any of this sounds like it’s up your alley then give us a call and let us show you first hand what we have to offer. Take care and have a great day.

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The past week

Fishing on the tailwaters has been good and the fish are fat and have a real attitude problem. The caddis are starting to hatch but they haven’t quite gotten there yet. Nymphs (Caddis Larva, Midge Pupa) have still been the biggest producer throughout the day. We have seen a little dry fly fishing but just enough to get the taste in our mouths. And word has it that there have been some sighting of sulfurs on the Clinch.

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A couple of nice fish from the Holston.

The Smokies got dumped on with rain a few days ago and we had to reschedule some trips but were able to fish the smaller streams once the water got to a fishable level. The Quill Gordons or Blue Quills haven’t been hatching like we anticipated but the Brown Stones and March Browns have taken their place. We have even been spotting some Golden Stones and Yellow Sallies around the streams too. Pheasant tails, Prince Nymphs and Adams will do the trick in sizes 16 to 12.

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Sticking to the pocket water and high sticking seemed to bring several fish to hand. Also wearing natural clothing and hiding in the shade doesn’t hurt.

The Smallmouth waters are fishing pretty good right now and when I say pretty good I am going off of the fact that the rivers aren’t blown out and muddy. The past few times that we have been out we have pulled in some pretty good numbers and the occasional nice one. We’re thinking the spawn is getting close due to the warmer water temps and the amount of buck bass we are seeing.  The weather has been steady in the high 60’s to low 80’s which has been nice and should boost the smallmouth into eating heavily this week.

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If the weather keeps up like this we could see some topwater action in the near future. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself but we want to be ready for anything at this point. This has been one crazy Spring and we’ve pretty much had to throw the plans out the window and have plenty of options to choose from. I love it when the fishing and conditions are out of the ordinary because of the different routes you go to get the bite. Take care and have an awesome day.

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A delayed bite

The fishing in the National Park has been pretty good with March Browns, Hendricksons and Tan Caddis. We have been seeing a lot of Yellow Sallies, but haven’t noticed any on the water and no fish eating them. Also, the tailwaters are running good schedules and the fishing has picked up on them too. As for the smallmouth bite, it hasn’t quite picked up as much as we had hoped for this spring. It’s still really early and the water levels and temps have been so scattered, that the fish are kind of confused, heck so am I. This is one of the best times to catch a big fish during the pre-spawn stage though and fish the fly SLOW.

Ashley and I got out for a float last week before the T-storms got us.

As for the Park, it can be tricky one day and great the next. The water has been high for the last week and cool nights in the 40’s keep the trout on edge. If the previous night is cool, fish in the afternoon and if that’s not an option for you, get nymphs down to the bottom.

Here is a Big March Brown that got caught in an eddy. About a #12, but keep some #14’s on deck.

I hope the weather stays warm and the rain goes away for a while, because we could be in for some epic fishing this year. Oh yeah and we also got in some new gear for chucking big flies. The VXP series from Sage is an unbelievably smooth casting rod that’s really light with a price tag that’s easy on the the wallet. So no more ramen and beanie weenies.






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