This is the weekend where everything pops. Last night's rain may dampen the coming out party in the mountains a bit but the rain seems to have hit certain drainages harder than others. As I type Little River in Townsend is flowing at 700 cfs having jumped up from about 400 cfs last night. That's a lot of water and should be pause for concern if you're headed up that way tomorrow. On the other side of the mountains the Little Pigeon river rose about a 6 inches overnight but has appeared to have crested and started back down. Likewsie Catalooche Creek jumped from about 113 cfs cresting at 164 cfs this morning at around 6 am. If I were headed to the mountains in the morning I'd probably pick something on the eastern side of th park. Fish in the park are looking up so if I was prospecting anywhere tomorrow I'd employ a dry dropper rig of some sort to hedge my bets. The fish are hungry and looking for food so you should have good luck with both dries and nymphs.
In the valley the Holston River below Cherokee Dam will be wadable all weekend with minimum flows predicted. While there are plenty of reports of sporadic caddis on the Holston the fish haven't seemed to have found them with very little surface activity being reported. I'd still focus my attention on midges on the Holston and I'd focus my attention in the slower flat water as opposed to the riffles and the runs.
The Clinch looks like it will have a mix of wadable and floatable water over the weekend with the predicted average being 1000 cfs. I expect they'll run a schedule similar to the one they ran today where they ran one generator in the morning and then cut them off in the afternoon. Like the Holston, I'd keep my fly selection on the small size and mainly pull from my midge box. While there is enough mayfly nymph activity going on in the river, the fish still seem to be fixated on the abundance of midges that are around. Color hasn't seemed to matter too much with anglers reported good luck with red, olive, and black.
The white bass bite is sure to be fantastic in and around the forks of the river. If you haven't gone and caught these guys you are absolutely missing out as they are a blast on a fly rod. Personally, I've got small mouth on the brain so I'm going to head out and see if I can figure out where they are in the pre-spawn cycle. Wherever you decide to go, be safe and have a great weekend!
There's going to be plenty of wading opportunities this weekend with minimum flows predicted on both the Clinch and Holston rivers. With rain in the forecast on Sunday, your safer bet weather wise is probably on Saturday though it sounds like the worst of the weather is going to pass through during the night time hours.
Both the Clinch and the Holston are fishing well and bug activity is building steadily with a fair amount of sulphurs being spotted on the Clinch and some caddis sightings on the Holston. Your best bet is still midges on both rivers and if it were up to me I'd hedge my bets and throw a bead head pheasant tail with a midge dropper. Smaller sizes on the pheasant tails have been producing some decent numbers and I've had good luck on red zebra midges as well.
The mountains are absolutely about to pop though river levels are still a little bit on the higher side. There are still a few Quill Gordons floating around though you can expect to see some Hendricksons as well. If I were headed up there this weekend I'd probably head higher up to seek slightly lower water levels.
Down in the Valley the white bass are beginning their annual migration up the Holston and French Broad Rivers. As of today the French Broad was still significantly stained at the Forks of the Rivers but the Holston was running clear. The fish haven't made it too far up either river so if you go looking for them stay in the vicinity of the forks.
Wherever you end up this weekend, enjoy your time on the water and be safe!
The wait for low flows on our tailwaters appears to be over. It looks like TVA is preparing to back down on generation for the near future as they start filling the reservoirs. TVA is predicting 850 cfs on the Clinch and . The Holston is predicting 350 cfs this weekend. Low flows should allow wading anglers ample opportunity to enjoy our tailwaters this weekend. As always, please check the TVA flows before you go, as they are subject to change.
If you do get out, don’t forget your midge box! We’ve been seeing good midge hatches the last couple trips to the Clinch. The early hatches have been of the larger variety. Think #16’s and #18’s, in olive or brown. After the bigger midges cycle through, the smaller midges have been popping off. Usually we’ll scale down to #20 and #22 olive and brown midges later in the afternoon. If the trout are rising consistently, try tying on a dry fly-emerger rig. A small Griffith’s gnat with a palomino midge or #20 brown or black RS2 tied below is an effective combo. There have also been reports of some sporadic sulphurs coming off on some of the lower sections. It shouldn’t be too much longer before we start seeing better numbers of sulphurs hatching off. Smaller pheasant tails will starting picking up more fish as we settle into normal spring fishing.
The recent cold snap likely has the mountain trout laying low. Double nymph rigs with some weight to get down to the bottom would be the preferred method this weekend. The water temps must rise a considerable amount before the fishing will pick up in the mountains. Little River is reading 38 degrees today! The lower to mid-elevation streams should fish better if you do decide to fish the mountain streams.
Wherever you end up this weekend, enjoy your time on the water and be safe!
Looks like old man winter is waking up for the next couple days. A wintry mix is expected to roll through East Tennessee this weekend with temperatures dipping back into the 30s. Snow fall has been estimated anywhere from 0 to 8 inches in some areas!
This weather will likely put a hold on the Spring-like fishing conditions we have been experiencing over the last couple weeks. The insects and trout in the Smokies have been responding favorably to good flows and water temperatures. The Quill Gordon’s and Blue Quill mayflies have been hatching off sporadically on the days with warmer afternoon temperatures but don’t expect too much bug activity up in the park this week. Your best shot at feeding fish this weekend and next week will be in the afternoons, after the water has a chance to warm up a tad. Better dig out the split shot and heavy nymphs.
The tailwaters have been fishing well when TVA has posted favorable flows. Norris has posted a 0-generation window for most ofafternoon. The Clinch has fished well when the water has been off. Midges have been thick at times and the sulphurs are starting to wake up and get moving. Long leaders, light tippet and small midges of various colors (black, purple, cream, olive) should get it done this weekend. But don’t be afraid to tie on a #18 Split case sulphur or #18 pheasant tail. The Holston is also posting favorable flows for . The Watauga and South Holston have good windows for anglers this weekend as well. As always, please check the TVA website or App for up-to-date information on the generation schedules, as they are subject to change.
While the weather forecast may be grim, anglers have a few more options this weekend than they did last weekend. Regardless of where you decide to go this weekend, have fun and stay safe!
Despite the cold snap East Tennessee has experienced over the last couple days, the weekend weather is looking up. Saturday will be sunny with a high of 57. Sunday is going to be even warmer with the mercury topping out at 64 degrees. However, the morning temperatures will remain chilly with lows in the 30s.
Unfortunately, TVA is opening the floodgates on both the Clinch and Holston Rivers this weekend. They are both pushing 2 generators all day long tomorrow and the predicted flows don’t look much better for Sunday. Although the outlook isn’t great for this weekend, the tailwaters have been loaded with midges the past couple weeks. As soon as the water warms up in the afternoons, the midge activity has exploded. Last weekend on the Clinch we experienced consistent dry fly fishing all afternoon. Check out the video to see some early Spring dry fly action on the Clinch.
Making the drive up to upper East Tennessee could be an option. The South Holston and Watauga have posted favorable flows for anglers this weekend. Those rivers have produced well this winter and will likely get even better as we transition into consistent spring weather patterns.
The quality of fishing in the mountains has coincided with the up and down weather patterns we’ve been seeing recently. These cold mornings generally make for some slow fishing. The water levels in the park are excellent. They most recent report shows Little River flowing at 267 cfs. Don’t expect the fishing to really pick up until the water warms up a bit and the bugs start getting active. The better hatches of Quill Gordon and Blue Quill mayflies have come on the days with warmer afternoon temperatures. A dry dropper setup would be ideal when those water temperatures do climb into the 50s this weekend. Try a size #16 Elk hair caddis for a dry, and a size #16 bead head hare’s ear for your nymph.
With the local tailwaters restricting wading access this weekend, the mountains might be your best fly fishing option. Regardless of what you do this weekend, be safe and enjoy your day on the water!