Fish out of water

We’re finally getting some consistent conditions for this time of year in East TN which means we also get some very inconsistent weather patterns. Warm and sunny for a few days with water temps spiking followed by sharp cold snaps with the potential for snow. That’s how it is here in our part of the world, but it’s what we know and we like it.

Those who have been in the Smoky Mountain National Park lately have already seen some great days on the water with loads of Blue Quills and Quill Gordon’s hatching with some Blue Winged Olives mixed in. Needless to say, when there are this many bugs hatching the dry fly fishing is fantastic even with the quick shifts in weather. March is probably my favorite time to fish and take folks into the Smokies because of the reliable dry fly fishing and a chance of a larger than average fish coming up to eat them. There are also fewer people at this time which allows you to have the place virtually to yourself most days. Remember even if there isn’t a thick hatch going on the fish will still rise to a well presented dry fly.

Unfortunately Alex had a couple big boys come unbuttoned but there were plenty of slabs to go around. Great job buddy.

The tailwaters are in a ball game of their own to boot with numbers of fish coming to hand and some quality fish at that. There has been some dry fly fishing on the tailwaters but mainly nymphs and streamers for the most part. Caddis are sporadic on the Holston but it’s typically an April hatch to start with, so any earlier is always a bonus. The Clinch has been hands down the place to be. Great midge hatches and the occasional spurt of sulphurs given the right conditions. I’ve got to say that it’s hard to beat where we live and we’re semi spoiled with all this great water in our backyard. If you haven’t been to East TN then it’s time to experience it first hand. Give us a call and we can help you see a side of it that most don’t get to see. Take care and have a blessed day.

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So much to choose from

April is finally here which means great weather, stable water flows and probably the best month for fly fishing in the Smokies and our local tailwaters. Trout are turning cartwheels over bugs like Quill Gordons, Blue Quills and Early Brown Stones in the Smokies along with caddis and midges getting slurped off the surface on the big rivers.  The Holston River has had pretty regular flows for the last week which will give the fish and bugs a chance to get into a pattern.


Dave’s first float and he handled it well.

Everything seems to be getting a late start this year due to some late cold fronts that worked there way through the area. The threat of another cold front is nowhere in site with sunny days in the 70’s and very little chances of rain, well we’ll see about that. The dry fly fishing has been so good there’s almost no need to throw a nymph, almost. The mornings are going to be slower for dries due to a lack of bugs but nymphs will still produce. Patience will pay off when things start heating up around lunch time so keep your eyes open for those big wings sticking up on the water.

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With fish going crazy for dries the smiles are from ear to ear.

The water in the Smokies has gotten down to an almost perfect level of 300 cfs, but it’s clear so stay low and wear something to blend into the background. Parachute adams are probably going to be your best bet for fly selection (it’s hard to beat) but you might want to keep some tan elk hair caddis, pheasant tails, hares ears and some prince nymphs on hand. Make sure to keep plenty of floatant with you, those fish like them riding high.

There’s good new for the warm water fishermen who are itching for the season to start, it’s not far off. I got to get out for a run at those smallies for the first time since the water came down and warmed up. I wouldn’t say it’s ready just yet but it is REAL close.


Felt good to hold one again.

The tails of some of the fish were roughed up which means some spawning action has started taking place but most I found were in somewhat deep water and weren’t very aggressive. The water temp hasn’t been ideal but warm enough to get them moving around for some decent pre-spawn action. It shouldn’t be too much longer until everything gets cranked up and we’re seeing that topwater bite we’ve all been patiently waiting for. There’s a lot of options to choose from right now and if you’re looking to get out on the water GIVE US A CALL and we’ll be glad to show you a good time. Take care and have a great day.

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Finally, trout rising and not the water

The streams are down, the bugs are hatching and the fish are rising, yep I guess it’s officially spring. We are finally out of the bad weather and the future forecast is looking pretty darn good with some days reaching into the 70’s. It feels good to stand in a stream and be able to feel your legs for a change. I guess the best thing to report is that the fishing is FANTASTIC right now with the majority of the flies being thrown are sitting on the water rather than in it. Not only are we fishing dries but size 12’s to boot and fish are definitely looking up for them.


Number 12 Quill Gordons…….yes please.

The Quill Gordon is the main attraction, but not the only bug out there with plenty of Blue Quills and Brown Stones right beside them. With this much food flying around this means dry flies pretty much all day long. Nymphs will work too but lets face it who wants to fish a nymph right now, especially after the past month we’ve had. A parachute adams, thunderhead and brown stimulator will get the job done but a match wing Quill Gordon might fool some of those pickier fish. Don’t forget to stop by Little River Outfitters on you way into the Smokies to stock up on flies and some floatant because you’ll sure need them.

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Eli and Raven were beginners and got to see a good hatch first hand.

With the water temps warming up some of the brookie streams higher up the mountain are fishing better especially the newly opened Lynn Camp Prong which has been the talk of the town. The parking lot is usually full but the traffic doesn’t seem to affect the action at all. Things are good around here and if you get the chance to visit the Smokies then make the trip. You never know how long it might last so take full advantage of it while you can. If you’d like to get out with us, give us a call, we’d be glad to show you around.


Gotta love browns eating dries.

As for the tailwater action, there’s not too much to talk about with all of them running high but hopefully that will change pretty soon. When they do decide to shut off the generators we’re betting that the fish are going to be hungry, aggressive and maybe even a little gullible since they haven’t seen anybody in a while. The last time we were out we noticed several caddis hopping across the surface and fish were hitting them. I’m guessing that things should be in full swing when the water slows down. At least for now we have the Smokies and we’re thankful for that. If you get the chance to get out be safe and have a great time. Thanks for reading and have a blessed day.


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