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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Here comes the cool weather.

It definitely feels like Fall in the mornings and the evenings as of the last few days. The highs during the day have been in the mid 70’s and the lows at night in the 50’s. The drop in the air temperature has the water getting cooler every day and it’s put the trout in the Smokies in a good mood.

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Zack and Tim made their first trip to the Smokies a success.

We noticed #12 Slate Drakes (Isonychia’s) flying around today in small numbers and even the sporadic October Caddis. That is a for sure sign of fall fly fishing in the Smokies. We fished #16 yellow stimulators and #14 parachute adams and caught fish throughout the day. The water in the Little River spiked at close to 500 cfs a few days ago and is back down to 150 cfs or 1.75 ft. This is great for fishing dry flies, so if you are thinking of coming to the Smokies for a getaway then now would be a good time.

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Stay low and fish the pocket water and seems. Tim giving a perfect example.

The Holston and French Broad tailwaters have been running generators during the day and shutting off at night and if you know where to look and stay ahead of the generation there are options to choose from. The Clinch has been off all day in continuance of the weir dam construction and running water all night. This can make the fish very finicky because of the low clear water with no pulses in between.

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Early fall fishing is some of the best of the year.

Popping bugs are still bringing fish to the surface and on several occasions some chunky fish at that. There have been days when the topwater action will slow down for a little bit and taking flies to the fish did the trick. Hopping crawdads along the bottom is easy and can take up the slack during a slow period. The fish are gorging in between high generation and taking advantage of low water. We are still getting enough low water during the day to get a full day of fishing in. I hope you get the chance to visit our area while the weather and fishing are exceptional. If you want to spend a day on the water then give us a call and we will make it happen CONTACT US. Take care and have a blessed day.

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All topwater all the time

We have definitely had a great smallmouth season so far and the end is still a ways off. August was great with non-stop topwater action and September is starting off by being a copy cat. The weather has been great and the flows from TVA can’t be beat. The nights are cool and the days are mild. The smallmouth can tell that the season is changing because the are putting a lot of effort in feeding throughout the day and the main course is thread fin shad, crawdads and terrestrials.

Even though the fish are chasing bait along the banks and literally rubbing their noses raw by digging for crawdads, they’re not going to pass up an easy meal like a popper landing on the surface. This is a great time of year to target better than average fish by sight casting to them in the low clear water as they wait to ambush their prey. If you are a trout fisherman and have never experienced this for yourself, it’s as close to throwing a dry at a sipping trout as it gets. It couldn’t happen at a better time too than the heat of summer when the water is warm and low which can make for frustrating days on a trout stream.

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Butch Johnson from Knoxville got to see first hand how exciting it can be.

Butch spends most of his time on the Clinch River where small midges make up the majority of the food source for the fish so throwing bigger streamers and topwater poppers was definitely a big change. Butch handled it well and with a little bit of work on casting and action of the flies he was in the zone. I look forward to fishing with Butch again and great job on some nice fish.

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Alex staying low so he doesn’t spook the fish and the rewards for doing so. Alex and his dad Steve are good people.

The Smokies have also fished great lately with dry flies being all that you need. Adams will do the trick in the morning and terrestrials in the afternoon after the sun is overhead, this is mainly due to the low water. Tossing an adams in the riffles will give you some instant gratification, but most of the larger fish will be in hiding and if you know where to look they will be willing to take a fly that isn’t smacked on the water.

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Keep your potatoes peeled for the grey footballs hanging in the trees. We have seen these on the Holston too and they are an eye opener when going in to retrieve a fly from a limb. Losing a fly doesn’t sting as bad as a hornet. Take care, be safe and enjoy the great fishing while it last. Have a blessed day.

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