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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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Byron from Little River Outfitters and I have been trying to get out and fish for a while, but during the fishing season it’s tough. Well it all fell in place this week and to the river we went for some popper action. The weather was nice and the fish were biting. When the sun was high though, the fish were pretty finicky and patience was a must. Here is Byron fighting a smallie that sipped a popping bug.
With hot days and cloudless skies, smallmouth can sit under a fly for a long time before they eat it, so stayed focused and wait. That was the case for most of the fish we caught today. Of course when you get used to that pattern, that’s when they blow up on it and surprise you. You’re never going to catch every fish that hits your fly, we didn’t today, but that’s part of the fun. In fact we lost some really nice fish today, but that’s fishing. Byron had to keep reminding me of that, because I’m a pollock and can’t except it.
Our cicada that we have been tying produced a lot of fish, which was nice to see. I have a few more small changes to make on it, but I think we’ve got something. I think I made Byron a believer in it. We had a lot of fun and it was nice to fish with a good friend. Remember to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen out there in the heat.
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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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