Some too high, some too low

It has been an unusual Fall here in East TN and what I mean by that is we aren’t fishing the Smokies. The weather is still warm and the leaves haven’t really started to change. It’s the Middle of October but it sure doesn’t feel like it. We’re hoping that the government shutdown won’t last much longer and we’ll see the parks open up in time for good dry fly fishing and watching the browns spawn.

People are still coming into the area and wanting to fish and there are some options to choose from, if you are willing to drive that is. The Cherokee National Forest has streams and fish similar to the Smokies and it’s open to fish and hike to everyone. The Little River is low but has been stocked with fish that are willing to eat dries, nymphs and streamers. There are also the local tailwaters for trout and smallmouth. Although the flows have not been great, there are times with no generation to get in a full day of fishing.

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We’ve kept ourselves busy by floating for smallmouth lately and even though most folks come to the Smokies in the Fall for the trout fishing they’ve not been disappointed with the alternatives. With low water and cooler temps at night this cools the water down and starts moving the smallmouth in the deeper pools. We have found several spots that have been holding some nice fish that are stocking up for the Winter. Fishing crawdad and baitfish patterns slow has worked well for us, but subtle takes have been common so keeping a tight line has helped.  It’s hard to wade fish the tailwaters this time of year because of the erratic flows and using a boat is easier to find fish and cover water.

We’re looking forward to the flows on the Clinch and Holston Rivers to slow down so we can continue floating for trout. In the meantime  the pursuit of smallies  has us more than satisfied and is keeping the rods bent. If your coming into the area and don’t know what to do, we’ll do our best to get you out on the water for a fun day on one of the beautiful rivers in the area.


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A new fly for the quiver

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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A break in stride

I am sorry for the delay in posts as of lately especially with the closing of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park but we have been busy the past week. I decided that since my wife was pregnant and the due date for our daughter was the first of October that I wouldn’t take anymore trips until after the baby was born. Mainly because I didn’t want to be in the middle of a float or in the Smokies with zero cell service and have it be an inconvenience for the fisherman to have to stop the trip. Well wouldn’t you know it our daughter decided to come early and surprise everybody.


The past week has been awesome and I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with Danielle Mae and get some things done around the house. That being said we are heading into the busiest part of the year and we’ll be taking trips again starting this week. Unfortunately the Smokies have been closed due to the government shutdown which happens to be the big attraction in the Fall due to the stunning views of the leaves changing and the great fishing. So what is there to do if the National Park is closed?

Well our area is very unique in that we have several rivers full of trout and smallmouth to choose from. The Clinch River can be a great choice in the Fall with bigger browns moving around for the spawn and good hatches of caddis and midges. We got to get out yesterday and float the Clinch and it was pretty darn good early on but once the sun was over head and it got hot we didn’t see very many fish moving around. That will change as the weather gets cooler which we are expecting this week.



A beautiful brookie from the Clinch

The Holston River is another great option for both trout and smallmouth in the Fall with good size holdover rainbows and browns from the Spring. The caddis are there and dry fly fishing can still be pretty good at times, but nymphs are the main producer. The smallmouth are staying focused on baitfish and crawdads with the coming of the cool weather and will be so for a while. Also if we can get a good schedule, the French Broad River is one of our favorites to be on due to the warmer water that it has right now from TVA generating so often. The more they generate the less cool water comes out from the bottom of the dam which delays the end of the fishing season.



Mike is 6’2″ and made his fish look tiny.

If you are still thinking of coming to the Smokies area, there are plenty of campgrounds and hotels to stay in outside of the park and lots of fishing options to choose from. The lower portion of the Little River from Townsend down has been getting stocked by the state and the water is at a good temperature and level to fish it. If you are coming into town and want to get out, give us a call, we have plenty of options to choose from. Take care.


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