After another wet week here in East Tennessee, it looks like we have lots of warm weather and sunshine in the forecast. Over the next week will see temperatures climb back into the 60’s, 70’s and even the 80’s. If you have been waiting for ideal spring fishing conditions, this is your weekend! The fishing has been consistently good on both the tailwaters as well as the mountain streams. Low water schedules on both the Clinch and the Holston have allowed wading anglers plenty of opportunities.
The folks with boats have not had many chances to get on the water but this past Saturday the Clinch pushed 1 generator for most of the day. Ty and Jeremy made the most of their time on the water and found this beast of a brown trout. Ty utilized his 10’ 4 weight to nymph this fish off the bottom.
Besides Saturday, the Clinch has been off pretty much everyday for the last week and half. TVA has only been running a one-hour pulse in the morning or afternoon. With these long periods between heavier generation, the water levels can get awfully low. With these conditions, the trout are on a high alert, especially on bright sunny days. This means extra attention needs to be taken to make sure you are presenting your fly as naturally as possible. Small yarn indicators will be key to spooking less fish in addition to 6x fluorocarbon tippet to your fly. Midges have been hatching in high numbers with some sulfurs coming off as well. There have been higher numbers of sulfurs hatching off around the church/jail in the evenings with some reports of sporadic hatches around Miller Island. We have had great success with Beadhead pheasant tails in the #14 and #16 range. Flashback PT’s and Quasimodo PT’s have been my go-to this past week. Other anglers have found lots of trout taking #16 split case sulfur nymphs. We have found lots of trout packed into the faster riffles throughout much of the river. Swinging a yellow soft hackle through the riffles is a productive way to pick up fish in water that can be difficult to get a clean drag-free drift.
It should be mentioned that some of the rainbows in the Clinch are paired up and holding in shallow areas with clean gravel. Whether these trout successfully spawn or not, please be mindful of redds and be sure to wade around these areas. As tempting as it may be to drift a nymph to these trout, please refrain from doing so. At least let these fish try and do their thing and leave them be. There are plenty of other trout in the river that are not on redds that will take a fly.
The Holston below Cherokee has finally shown favorable generation schedules for anglers. We have heard reports of decent caddis activity throughout the river. Size #16 Beadhead pheasant tail nymphs and caddis pupae below an indicator have been most productive. There hasn’t been quite enough caddis on the water to get all the trout looking up and feeding on adults. But, that time is coming and could happen as early as this weekend. To prepare for this, you should have a box full of olive elk hair caddis, x-caddis and a few CDC Caddis in sizes #14-#18.
The mountains should heat up and fish well this weekend with these warmer temperatures. We will have to keep an eye on water levels up there. They have been higher than normal but will hopefully fall back down to fishable levels by the weekend.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you check flows on our tailwaters before you go. Be safe and enjoy your weekend! As always, if you have any questions please give us a call at 865-200-5271 or come by the shop.