April has been a mixed bag of weather and river conditions but the tailwaters and the Smokies have been pretty reliable for the most part. There are plenty of hatches happening on the streams of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park keeping the fish near the surface and the caddis hatch on the Holston has just now started showing itself, along with plenty of midges. The only thing that puts a wrench in the situation has been the rain. We’ve had our fair share of it, but thank goodness that not all of the streams and rivers have been blown out. There seems to always be somewhere to fish.
Can’t beat a good dry fly bite.
So what can make things even better (other than less rain) how about the smallmouth bite picking up, CHA-CHING!!!. For all you smallie junkies out there the early spike in water temps has gotten those brown fish on the move. They’ve started their pre spawn habits moving into more shallow water and bulking up on protein before getting on the beds. Some of the males are showing signs of spawning activity already with beat up tails and plenty of scares, just not in big numbers. Things seem to be happening a little later than usual, which I’m sure is due to the sudden changes in weather and water levels but once the weather settles things should get back on track.
Joe wasn’t about to let the rain stop him. Fish gotta eat.
We’ve seen the occasional fish come up and grab a popper, but the majority of fish are staying below and looking for bigger meals for less work. Crawdads and baitfish are getting more attention, but we’ve kept multiple colors and sizes of each ready, depending on what the day gives us. Some days we find ourselves fishing something completely different than we did the previous couple of days but that’s mainly due to the drastic changes in conditions. It isn’t always easy to find the right combo of flies and techniques, but patience and confidence can pay off.
Jim got fish of the day with this brute.
We’re just on the front end of our smallmouth season and things will only get better from here. Spring can be a great time to catch some of the best fish of the year and get in on some great hatches. May is looking like it’s going to be good with warm temps and with us getting high water early it looks like we’ll have a great spawn as well. If you would like to enjoy a day out on the water then GIVE US A CALL, we’d be glad to have you. You can also get quick day to day conditions, tips and updates on our FACEBOOK page. Things have been busy lately, but in a good way and we’re looking forward to seeing what the future has to offer. Take care and we look forward to seeing you on the water.
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So my in-laws came into town this weekend for some long over due family time and it was great. My father-in-law Steve is always on the go and loves to fish, but never has the time to. So we decided to go float for some smallies. Steve is from Idaho and has never been in a drift boat and we laughed because he had to come all the way to Tennessee to do it. Now this is his 3rd time fly fishing ever, so after knocking the rust off the rod we were in motion. It was a big transition for Steve, because I have only taken him trout fishing, so the flies and rods we used were all bigger and had to be fished differently. He caught on pretty quick.
Throughout the day the fishing got better and the fish got bigger, not to mention that it was all on topwater. Poppers and terrestrials are still our go to flies.
Now Steve went through some rough shoulder surgery last year and these fish fight really hard. After a few hours of catching these bruisers, he had to take a break, but not for to long.
After a long day on the water and in the sun we landed 2 more nice fish and called it a day. The float was a lot of fun and I’m glad that I got to spend it with family. Looking forward to doing it again.
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Yesterday was Tyler’s birthday and his one wish was to go float for smallies. That is usually my birthday wish too and every other day. The fishing was really good and again it was all topwater. With the heat really picking up, the fish are getting weary when they come up to the fly. If you see a fish looking at your popper just let it rest with maybe a subtle twitch (not pop). Also spend time in the shade and be patient. Just because you can’t see anything underneath your fly doesn’t mean he isn’t there. Tyler saw this technique first hand and realized how effective it can be for quality fish.
Cicadas are all over our rivers and every once and a while when they are struggling to fly it means they are about to die and they will fall in the water. We have a cicada that we came up with this year that make a good plop. Well we ran across some fish that would follow a fly then turn off so I plopped the cicada in the water and he didn’t think twice about it (whamo).
I mean what could be better than dead drifting big bugs in front of smallmouth and watching a big one sip it. It wasn’t long before we were back to the popper. Remember that in the day topwater flies should be lighter colors and darker colors in the morning and evening. We were about to wrap up the day when I saw one more fish and made a cast, this fish was one to test your patience because he looked at it for a while.
If you still haven’t experienced this type of fishing I highly suggest it. Our state is the smallmouth capital and we are located right in the heart of it so give us a call if you are looking for a good time with some hard fighting fish.
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