April has been a mixed bag of weather and river conditions but the tailwaters and the Smokies have been pretty reliable for the most part. There are plenty of hatches happening on the streams of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park keeping the fish near the surface and the caddis hatch on the Holston has just now started showing itself, along with plenty of midges. The only thing that puts a wrench in the situation has been the rain. We’ve had our fair share of it, but thank goodness that not all of the streams and rivers have been blown out. There seems to always be somewhere to fish.
Can’t beat a good dry fly bite.
So what can make things even better (other than less rain) how about the smallmouth bite picking up, CHA-CHING!!!. For all you smallie junkies out there the early spike in water temps has gotten those brown fish on the move. They’ve started their pre spawn habits moving into more shallow water and bulking up on protein before getting on the beds. Some of the males are showing signs of spawning activity already with beat up tails and plenty of scares, just not in big numbers. Things seem to be happening a little later than usual, which I’m sure is due to the sudden changes in weather and water levels but once the weather settles things should get back on track.
Joe wasn’t about to let the rain stop him. Fish gotta eat.
We’ve seen the occasional fish come up and grab a popper, but the majority of fish are staying below and looking for bigger meals for less work. Crawdads and baitfish are getting more attention, but we’ve kept multiple colors and sizes of each ready, depending on what the day gives us. Some days we find ourselves fishing something completely different than we did the previous couple of days but that’s mainly due to the drastic changes in conditions. It isn’t always easy to find the right combo of flies and techniques, but patience and confidence can pay off.
Jim got fish of the day with this brute.
We’re just on the front end of our smallmouth season and things will only get better from here. Spring can be a great time to catch some of the best fish of the year and get in on some great hatches. May is looking like it’s going to be good with warm temps and with us getting high water early it looks like we’ll have a great spawn as well. If you would like to enjoy a day out on the water then GIVE US A CALL, we’d be glad to have you. You can also get quick day to day conditions, tips and updates on our FACEBOOK page. Things have been busy lately, but in a good way and we’re looking forward to seeing what the future has to offer. Take care and we look forward to seeing you on the water.
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After the wet week we’ve had here in East TN we are finally getting a break from the rain. The next 10 days are looking dry and sunny but not warm. I’ll take the cold over pouring rain any day of the week though. Since we’ve not had any rain in the last few days the Little River is coming back down to a fishable level and the Holston is having longer breaks in the generation schedule to fish. Little River water levels.
You can now see current updated water flows for freestone rivers and tailwaters in TN on the FRONT PAGE of our website on the right hand side.
We have been spending most of our time on the Holston River lately mainly because it has had the best fishing opportunities. The water temperature has been in the mid to upper 50’s, mixed with sunny days which has the bugs hatching in the afternoons. We’ve seen midges, caddis in good numbers and a few crane flies here and there, so there’s plenty of food to keep the fish happy and healthy.
Josh with a chunky two-hander.
Nymphs have been fishing best in the mornings until the bugs start hatching. Don’t get too crazy when it comes to fly selection; small pheasant tails, midges and caddis pupa have been working well. Late morning around 11:00 am or so is when we’re seeing surface activity and that’s when the fun begins. An elk hair caddis, griffith’s gnat and a small parachute adams is really all you need for dries. Just make sure to get a good drift…..and that’s it.
The motivation in the morning has been low, but sometimes you gotta keep your eye on the prize.
The days have been down right cold, there is no doubt about it but the sun shine and dry fly fishing takes the edge off of things. This is some of our favorite fishing of the year, because the crowds are low and the fishing is great. As long as you layer up and keep the coffee flowing it can be pretty enjoyable. The good thing is the forecast for next week is looking good with almost no chances for rain and high’s being in the upper 50’s. This is going to be a good week of fishing and if you’re coming into the area, we hope you can take advantage of it.
We’ll be around getting stuff ready for trips or fishing ourselves so CONTACT US if you would like to get out on the water and get away from the Christmas shopping for a day. If your looking for a unique gift for that special fisherman in your life then you might want to think about a gift certificate for a fishing trip. We have been sending some out lately and we would throw it out there for a last minute gift idea. Take care and have a great day.
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It has definitely been a cold, wet weekend and most of the rivers are feeling it. The Little River through Townsend got up to 1150 cfs yesterday and is now back down to fishable level at 475 cfs. The only problem with the water coming down is the water temperature following the same pattern. The water temp was up to around 55 degrees and is now down to around 45 degrees which is a big drop in just one day. 45 is still not too bad, but don’t expect much activity unless the flies are near the bottom. Fly selection isn’t real important so use what you have faith in, put on some weight and get the flies on the bottom. My personal favorites are prince nymph 16-10, hares ear 18-14, small caddis larvae 18-16 and a black stone 14-12.
If you decide to try and fish the Smokies then be careful in the fast, cold water. Wade slow and make sure you have secure footing. It’s probably not a bad idea to stop by Little River Outfitters and get a wading staff/early christmas gift for yourself if you have time.
The tailwaters have been fishing great, the Holston especially. Caddis in sizes 12-18 are coming off sporadically throughout the day along with midges, crane flies and small baetis duns. The amount of food in the water has the fish feeding pretty heavily below the surface and on several occasions (sunny days) the topwater bite can be great. Pheasant tails, hares ears, zebra midges and wooly buggers will take care of the subsurface action and Elk hair caddis, small parachute adams and griffith’s gnat will do the trick on top. It’s pretty special to be able to fish 12 months a year for trout, especially when you add in the fact that you’re occasionally dry fly fishing in the Winter.
A colorful rainbow from the Holston River.
The Holston produces some nice size fish in it’s endless riffles chocked full of food. It’s not uncommon to catch fish like this and bigger this time of year as the fish have grown quite a bit from the Spring. The fish are also very healthy as they are “football” shaped and not at all flabby.
One word to describe the fish in the Holston…….ANGRY!
There’s only one thing holding us back from spending everyday on the river and that has been heavy generation from TVA. With all of the rain we’ve gotten in the last couple of days all of our local tailwaters have had very little breaks in the generation schedules, but not enough to go fish. The rain is supposed to continue for the next couple of days but the percentage isn’t as high as the previous 2 days. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the weather holds off and the heavy flows will soon stop so we can get back to the river. In the mean time we are getting the fly boxes loaded back up and getting in some Christmas shopping. Take care and be safe on the water.
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