A cold front has moved into the valley this week and cooled things down significantly. The next few days we will see highs in the low 40’s and lows in the 20’s. Luckily for us, our tailwaters remain around the same water temperature throughout the year and our trout don’t seem to mind the cooler air temps. Norris has been running one generator day and night for the past week or so. This schedule has put wading anglers watching from the banks of the Clinch, while giving the folks with boats ample opportunities to hit the water. I’ve heard good reports from both the upper (Miller’s to Peach) and lower (Peach to Hwy 61) stretches of the Clinch from the guys that have been floating. The streamer bite has gotten better, with numerous reports of productive days throwing meat. Small rainbow trout patterns have been the ticket. Galloup’s Barely Legal in olive/white, Grumpy Muppet, and an Olive Circus Peanut are just a few recommended patterns. If those aren’t working, try running a tandem streamer rig. When you are attaching your 1x or 2x tippet to your short streamer leader, clip one tag end and leave a tag end from that connection so you can tie on your first streamer. Generally, we will use a smaller pattern like a #6 wooly bugger or sparkle minnow for that first fly. Now, on the end of your tippet tie on a larger streamer such as one of the patterns mentioned above. Use a loop knot to tie on both streamers for the most natural movement. This rig will give the imitation of a larger fish (Galloup’s Barely Legal) chasing a smaller prey item (Wooly Bugger) and often grabs the attention of some of the larger trout in the river looking for an easy meal.
For anglers keen on wading, the Holston has been off for a few hours each of the last couple days. The window has been tight and restricted fishermen to the upper end of the tailwater. Per reports, the fishing has been good. Nymphing has been most productive, even with the sporadic caddis and midge hatches we have heard about. No need to overthink fly selection right now, BH pheasant tails in the #16-#18 range with midge trailers should get it done. If our closest tailwaters aren’t your flavor, the Watauga and South Holston have been producing. BWO hatches have been consistent, with lots of fish willing to rise to dries in the tailouts. When the BWO’s haven’t been on the water, small bwo nymphs and midges are the way to go. Matt and I floated the Watauga on Sunday and found lots of trout via a bacon n’ eggs rig. Brown Girdle bugs served with a side of sucker spawn put fish in the net all day long. By no means is this my favorite rig to fish, but clearly it can be a very effective setup this time of year.
Whatever you decide to do this weekend, be safe, layer up, and as always check TVA generation schedules before you make your way to the river. If you are short on cold weather gear, swing by the shop and check out our winter apparel inventory. We have lots of warm pieces that will provide the perfect layering for the bitter cold we will see this weekend. If you have any questions or need help preparing for your next fishing outing, swing by the shop or give us a call at 865-200-5271.
Warm weather is in the forecast for the weekend in advance of some cooler weather headed into the Valley middle of next week. This offers anglers the perfect weekend to get out and enjoy our water. With afternoons in the mid 60s we would expect to see plenty of happy fish out and about feeding actively. While the Clinch River below Norris Dam is looking like it will be flowing through the weekend, boating anglers will have plenty of opportunity to put some fish in the net. I would have two rods rigged if you are able. Set up one rod for deep nymphing, probably 4-7ft. below an indicator with heavy nymphs and midge trailers. Change up your depth depending on the section of water you are in, and remember that leaning on the deeper side is usually a good rule of thumb. On the other rod you can run a long leader with a midge emerger pattern. On sunny afternoons lately we have seen significant midge hatches with some fish eating in the top couple inches of the water column.
Though the clinch will be on generation, we may see the opposite on the Holston River below Cherokee Dam. This schedule would be a relieving site to the wading tailwater angler. We will keep our fingers crossed! If you do find yourself out that way this weekend be prepared for hatches of small caddis. Olive or black elk hairs and X-caddis in sizes #16-20 should do the trick. Per usual, midges will likely be on the menu as well, along with small streamers. Last time Cherokee gave us some wading windows, Brett got up there and managed a few good browns fishing dries.
As mentioned in previous weeks, we are still getting good reports from mountain anglers. The Smokies are in peak condition and afternoon fishing up there should be killer. It is never a bad idea to have some dry flies, but I would also focus on tight lining tandem nymph rigs. In the morning and evening as temperatures cool significantly, I would wager that fish will be deep and not moving much. In the heat of the day focus more on the top of the water column. Don’t pass up small pocket water, and the tail-outs of pools. These areas are often times overlooked by anglers, but fish hold in these places as much as traditional runs.
Cpt. Jon Oody is really dialing in some good Striper opportunities for fly fisherman right now. Many of the fish are pushing smaller bait into coves, and this offers us our best shot at these trophy line sides with the ole fly rod. If you want to get in on a piece of the action give Jon a call at (865) 363-8180.
The shop is fully stocked right now for the holiday season, and we have a variety of new products that are sure to help you better enjoy your time on the water. We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, and is able to get out and fish before the craziness of Christmas begins. Whatever you decide to do this weekend, be safe and mindful of everyone on the water. We are happy to help you in any way, so swing by the shop or give us a ring at (865) 200-5271.
In recent weeks, we had ample opportunities to fish the Clinch on low water. It appears that door has temporarily shut for wading anglers. TVA has been running one generator on the Clinch all week and it looks like they will continue that trend through Friday, at least. We will have to wait and see what they are going to do this weekend. If they do shut it off for some time this weekend, wading anglers can expect to do well on #18 & #20 olive zebra midges. We have seen consistent midge hatches each time we have been on the water with lots of trout rising to cripples and emergers. I have found a lot of fish before, during, and after a hatch on a #18 Olive midge tied with a micro stretch tubing abdomen and finished with a peacock herl collar behind a copper tungsten bead. For anglers with boats, this schedule has been awesome. Those that have been floating have been finding luck with beadhead pheasant tails and larger midges fished deep. The streamer bite has been relatively good. Early morning floats and late afternoon floats have had more success working streamers. Sculpin patterns in white and olive have been best. Make sure you have some baby rainbow trout patterns stashed away as well.
TWRA has been kind enough to provide the large trout in the Clinch with a Thanksgiving feast of their own. They have been dumping loads and loads of brook trout in the Clinch this past week. This is good news for the folks that would like to see the big fish get even bigger. We can imagine how good the streamer bite will be once the big brown trout finish their spawning rituals and go back on the prowl in search of big meals.
The Smokies have been fishing well with lots of anglers reporting good luck dredging nymphs along the bottom. Fishing in the low-mid elevations will be better than the high elevations with these cool night time temperatures. That being said, fishing will likely be better around midday and in the afternoon as opposed to the early morning hours. Recent reports have indicated the big brown trout in the park are spawning right now. If you do fish in streams that have brown trout, be mindful of wading around redds. If you havent’ seen one before, they are usually lighter-colored areas in the substrate where the spawning fish have cleared away a clean space to lay their eggs. It is critical we do not walk through these areas because we run the risk of crushing undeveloped eggs or young fry.
The forecast is looking stellar for the weekend and the next week or so with highs hanging in the 50’s and low 60’s paired with lots of sunshine. If you can, take some time to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather and the awesome fishing opportunities we have here in East Tennessee.
From everyone here at 3 Rivers Angler, we want to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! If you need an excuse to work off those extra calories and get out of the house, come by the shop for our Orvis Helios 3 Demo days on Friday, November 24th and Saturday, November 25th. Everyone who casts each model will be entered for a chance to win a $100 Gift Card. As always, if you have any questions or want to talk fishing, please stop by the shop or give us a call at 865-200-5271.
HOW IT WORKS:
Week One: Entries taken Sat. Nov 25 – Mon. Nov 27. Winner announced Wed. Nov 2. • Win: Simms Fall Run Jacket (M/W) OR Simms Challenger Windbloc Jacket (M/W) 1) Take a photo of yourself shopping inside your favorite Simms specialty retailer 2) Post it on Instagram between Saturday, Nov 25 and Monday Nov 27 3) Tag @3riversangler 4) Tag #homewatersfortheholidays and #smallbusinesssaturday
Week Two: Entries taken Sat. Dec 2 – Mon. Dec 4. Winner announced Wed. Dec 6. • Win: Simms Dry Creek Z Back Pack OR Simms Large Challenger Tackle Bag 1) Post a photo on Instagram of you fishing your favorite home waters 2) Tag @3riversangler 3) Tag #homewatersfortheholidays
Week Three: Entries taken Sat. Dec 9 – Mon. Dec 11. Winner announced Wed. Dec 13. • Win: Simms DOWNStream Jacket (M/W) OR Simms Contender GORE-TEX Jacket 1) Post a photo on Instagram of you fishing with friends and family 2) Tag @3riversangler 3) Tag #homewatersfortheholidays
Week Four: Entries taken Sat. Dec 16 – Mon. Dec 18. Winner announced Wed. Dec 20. • Win: Grand Prize--$700 in-store shopping spree at favorite Simms specialty shop Visit link provided on Instagram to enter name, and favorite Simms retailer, in Grand Prize Giveaway
With consistent cooler temperatures this week, our tailwaters are really starting to come to life. There are limited wading windows on the Holston River below Cherokee Dam, but when you can get out there the fishing is top notch. Water temps on this tailwater are back to normal levels, and cooler water has trout happily feeding. Lately we have been seeing smaller caddis coming off throughout the day. I would focus mainly on black and olive patterns in small sizes from #16 - #20. Jeremy was also finding success throwing a streamer on a sink tip line, which is never a bad idea for this time of year. If we get a good flow window in the near future, it would be worth it to call in sick for a day.
The Clinch is also starting to become more consistent and the fishing is fantastic. The upper sections of the tailwater are producing many more fish than lower areas. I would be focusing most of my attention towards water from Johnson Shoals up to the Dam. I was able to get out over the weekend at an access area in the lower river, and struggled to find many fish. It is obvious now that the Brown trout are settled into their spawning routine. With this in mind, please be respectful of redds, and watch your wading path. Rainbows and Browns are both feeding well, and normal forage of small nymphs and midges will produce well. Egg patterns and other high protein meals like worms and small streamers are equally as sought after this time of year. With that being said, we have also found success in small dry fly presentations. Midge emergers, small Caddis, and my personal favorite, a #20 Parachute Adams are all good options. If Brett’s trophy Brown from last week wasn’t enough to get you out there, then you may consider a new hobby. Dana Davidson got out earlier this week and caught a mixed bag of good sized trout all afternoon.
Flows in the GSMNP are right around perfect. We have had a number of customers coming in with great reports after adventures fishing in the park. Small steamer patterns are working well along with larger nymphs dredged right along the bottom. Focus on working key feeding areas, rather than blind casting every inch of the stream. If you are willing to stay on the banks and head hunt, it is likely you can find some larger fish feeding in tail-outs and on the edges of the stream. Per usual, working upstream, staying out of the water as much as possible, and maintaining a low stealthy profile are your best tactics in the park. With the cold nights and early mornings that we are having right now, its not imperative that you start fishing right at dawn, feel free to let things warm up a bit! As always, if you are looking to expand your horizons to some predator fish species, Cpt. Jon Oody is the man to call! I find myself in his boat quite often these days and it always pays off. Fishing for Stripers and Muskies can be excellent this time of year. 865-363-8180 It looks like we may be in for a touch of rain Saturday, which honestly should not sway you from getting out. Some of my best fishing is on cloudy days with some precipitation. Sunday looks a bit sunnier if getting a late season tan is one of your priorities. Whatever you decide on this weekend, enjoy our resources, stay safe, and respect other anglers on the water. Stop by or give us a call to let us know how we can assist you! 865-200-5271