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.
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.
With the passing of May, so goes dreams about pre and post-spawned smallmouth, but not to worry because there is something even better on the way. June comes equipped with long days and warm weather which means warmer water temps. This is really the start of active topwater feeding behaviors for smallmouth, aka POPPER SEASON!!! We have had several days this Spring during warm spells where we got some spotty love on topwater, but now we can expect more consistency.
Glenn with 3 big boys, not a bad way to end May.
TVA has been running a lot of water on the Holston lately with very few windows of low water which makes it tough to float. The water temp is warm though and the fishing has been pretty good when the water is off. The French Broad has a somewhat better generation schedule but is still a little on the cold side. It’s not that the fish can’t be caught but it can take a little work at times. Now that it’s June and the weather is stable and warm we should see reliable flows on all our tailwaters and see fish coming to the surface.
Along with the main event (smallmouth) there are a variety of other fish that are a blast to catch that are willing to take a fly. One of which is the common carp and they’re everywhere in our rivers.
The Smokies have been on fire too with lots of Yellow Sallies and terrestrials on the water and around the banks. The key is to stay low and wear natural clothing to stay out of site. It’s a great time to be in East TN and we hope to show some of you around the waters. If you are in the Townsend area I highly suggest stopping in at Little River Outfitters and talking with the folks there about some fly selections and where to go. They are great. Have a great day.
We are having some really nice weather here in East TN and the random summer shower here and there has kept the water levels up in all of our rivers which also makes them a little off color. Yep, the conditions couldn’t be any better. The smallmouth are very aggressive and feeding on a plethora of things, mainly baitfish and crawdads with the occasional terrestrial falling off the bank.
Here were a couple of nice fish from a float trip the other day. Both Rufus and Mike are on the board of TU, but have a soft spot for smallies.
In the heat of the summer when the water is usually clear and warm the fish can be a little fickle. If you are experiencing a day like this then change up your strategy. The fish will come up to eat something off the surface, but unless you have what they want it’s best to take the flies to them. Smallmouth have a reputation for being explosive and for the most part that’s right, but during the muggy August days, fish the flies slower and get them to the bottom.
My buddy Tim and I ran into a day like this yesterday and had to switch up our tactics a little.
Fishing for smallies is great right now especially when the weather is in the mid to high 80’s, which is crazy for August. If you aren’t jazzed about fishing this time of year because of the heat, then give these dudes a chance, it might change your way of thinking.