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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We’ve been doing a lot of stuff lately to prepare for the upcoming season. We spent the past couple of weeks getting ready for the Kentucky Fly Fishing Show that went on this past weekend, which was awesome despite the weather. On the way up we ran into some pretty bad weather with around 4 inches of snow on the highway, not the mention the huge patches of ice. We had to put the Pathfinder in 4wd and drive 35 mph which took us way off schedule but we got to the show with plenty of time to set up. It was a great show and we appreciate everyone stopping by the booth to talk and hang out.
After talking about fishing all day Saturday, we were itching to get back on the water as soon as possible. Jules and I had the chance to get out today and wet a line, which we haven’t been able to do in a while. The only realistic option was the Holston River below Cherokee Dam unless you wanted to break through the ice in the Smoky Mountains. With the cold fronts that were pushing in we didn’t anticipate the fishing to be great, but thought there might the the occasional riser here and there. Even though it was cold and the wind blew pretty hard all day it turned out to be a pretty awesome day on the river.
Small flies can be frustrating and rewarding at the same time.
When we got to the river there were plenty of risers around 12 inches taking midges in the riffles, but several larger fish sipping in the softer water. There was a pretty significant midge hatch around lunch time and lasted for several hours, keeping the fish actively feeding near the surface. The fish were fixed on a size 20 midge pupa (olive or black) fished on top or right below the surface. There were so many bugs on the water that it sometimes took repetitive casts to get the fish to take mine, which wasn’t easy in the 15+ mph wind gusts but totally worth it. As long as the fish were rising we didn’t mind the bitter weather, but around 3:00pm the hatch was over and the cold front had set in for good. It was good to be able to get back on the water and all we can think about is Spring time and the hatch that comes along with it.
Before you know it quill gordons and blue quills will be hatching in the Smokies and the annual caddis hatch on the Holston will have the river boiling on top. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for less rain and good flows this year and suggest everyone to do the same. We will also be at the Cincinnati Fly Fishing Show this coming weekend and would enjoy the company at our booth if you are going to be in the area. Take care and have a great day.
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