Winter brown fish……well sort of

One thing my dad used to always say is there was never a dull moment in our house growing up as we were always getting into something. That’s what we can say about the weather here in East TN. There’s been every kind of weather you can imagine in the last couple of weeks and this week looks like it’s going to follow suit and not let us down. One day it’s warm and sunny, the next we’re layered up with rain gear. Would I have it any other way……no, because it keeps us on our toes. Plus the fishing is too good to go anywhere else, and lets face it, who notices the weather when you’re catching fish anyway.

Glenn and I got out to chase some winter (if you want to call it that) brown fish this past week to see what we could get into. One thing we noticed right off the bat was that even though we’ve had several warm days, the fish were still pretty lethargic like you’d expect in February, which we figured would be the case. We did however change some things up and get on a slight pattern. Heck, it was just nice to be able to fish in a t-shirt for a change. I went to some of the old favorite spots that we’ve found fish in before for this time of year and though some were reliable others seemed to be barren, which probably means that it’s still early and they will need a little more time. The good thing is we’ve been finding enough fish to make it worth while to justify missing out on a good day fishing for quality trout. Talk about your tough decisions!

   

The Dr. was in the zone. I cant wait to see what spring will have to offer.

Not many fish live to tell the story of how they fought an eagle and won.

As the weather begins to stabilize and fish settle in to their spring holds the action will speed up and the bite will become more aggressive and you’ll want to be here when it does. For those that can’t wait until then, the fish are there and have to eat so come on over and we’ll try to get that itch scratched. Hang around the fishing report for the next little while, we’ll keep you posted on what we’ve seen. Thanks for reading and give us a call if you coming to the Knoxville, Maryville or Smoky Mountain area, also go check out our buddies at Little River Outfitters for all your fly fishing needs.

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Spring has Sprung

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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A cornucopia of options

So far our spring has been fantastic. We’ve had nice weather, maybe a little breezy at times but nice over all. We’ve also had great flows on the rivers, both freestones and tailwaters. Bug life is plentiful some days and sparse other days but either way the fish are feeding just fine and their girth shows it.

Even when we’ve fished the streams in the smokies and bugs are scarce the fish have been very aggressive on dry flies, especially between 10:00am-3:00pm. Sometimes the late afternoon bite will slow down on top so switching to nymphs can keep the bite going, but keep the dry’s handy because the evening bite will yield some good surface action. There are still quill gordons and blue quills around with the addition of tan caddis and the occasional brown stonefly. I also noticed several really early yellow sallies the other day crawling around the rocks.

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The Holston River is fishing well all day with the current flows that TVA is putting out and the fish are healthy and aggressive and that’s putting it mildly. Midges are the main focus right now as we wait for the arrival of the caddis hatch. There are also plenty of opportunities for sight casting to fish “sipping” bugs which is a lot of fun, especially when we have been fishing nymphs most of the time. We’ve seen several sporadic caddis hopping around but no takers yet. Don’t worry though, it won’t be long until it all comes together.

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The Clinch River hasn’t had ideal flows as the water has been off all day which can make for some finicky fishing. Long casts are necessary with fine tippet and long drifts. That being said, those up for the challenge can be rewarded with some quality and quite possibly some of the prettiest fish you’ll ever see. Hopefully they’ll start running water in the afternoons soon and things will be back to normal.

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We also couldn’t wait any longer to start smallmouth fishing with this nice mild, warm weather we’ve had. Flows have been good but the water is still cold and even though the bite isn’t real aggressive  we have found feeding fish and healthy ones at that. It feels sooooo good to get back at them and can’t wait to see what late spring has to offer. Spring smallmouth can be some of the best of the year as they’re moving around during pre-spawn.

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We also had the opportunity to show our waters to Tim Holshlag who is a well known smallmouth fisherman and writer of several smallmouth books and articles. He is from Minnesota and spent many years fishing the Upper Mississippi. He is also the guy who created the blockhead popper and many other great smallmouth patterns. Check out his website at smallmouthflyangler.com.

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If you are heading to East TN for your spring vacation or are simply looking for a place to go, we have plenty of fishing options to choose from. We currently have a few open dates for the second full week in April (11th-15th) as we had a cancellation come up. If you are interested in wetting a line give us a call, we’d love to show you what we have to offer in our beautiful area. Thanks for reading with us and we hope that you have a blessed day.

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