Spring has finally arrived here in Knoxville and it looks like we are in for some more consistent weather over the coming weeks. Temperatures staying in the mid 70s and up to the 80s should mean great fishing for the foreseeable future. It’s about darn time, and we are happy to see most of our local species feeding actively. TVA has been messing with us a bit, but it looks like flows are about to get more consistent, and there are plenty of fishing windows. Low water on the Clinch below Norris Dam for the past two weeks has been productive for most wading anglers.
The fish on the Clinch are keyed in on Sulphur Mayflies, and we are seeing hatches from mid-day to late evening just before dark. While we haven’t caught any blanket hatches yet, there is dry fly opportunity during peak windows. If you are only seeing a few bugs here and there, we’d recommend nymphs and emergers rather than true adults. We have been doing well on yellow soft hackles fished behind nymphs, allowing for both a dead drift and an effective swing at the end. This is a great way to fool larger fish that are keyed in on emerging insects. When fish are eating dries sporadically it is hard to find a fish that will sip in the same place more than once. This becomes a frustrating game of wading around in circles with fish moving from one place to another to eat. If you do find a comfortable fish, try to take a moment to key in on its rising pattern. Once you figure out the rhythm, simply drift a dry downstream in the lane and hold on.
The Holston below Cherokee Dam is starting to come to life as well, and currently there is a variety of Caddis, Sulphurs, and midges for fish to choose from. Some popular dry flies for us recently have been the Hot Creek Caddis and the Sprout Flav emerger. Brett tricked this hen BT twice the other day on two separate caddis patterns. If you aren’t seeing rising fish on the Holston, hedge your bets on olive Caddis larvae and Pheasant Tails in #16s and #18s. I have heard reports from the lower river that smallmouth are feeding actively. This is great news, and the bass bite should pick up significantly over the next couple of weeks. Low water on this tailwater provides great fishing for both the wading and boating angler.
Brett and I fished for carp this weekend, and fish are willing to eat, but are few and far between. Per usual, Carp fishing right now is a game of patience. The French Broad is cold and running high, and the Holston probably needs to warm up a bit, but concentrating your efforts on the lakes should reap some rewards. We got our first shipment of carp flies in last week, so if you need some patterns, we’ve got you covered.
Wild trout in the GSMNP should be very happy at the moment. Water temps and flows in the park look perfect at the moment, and coupled with a smorgasbord of bug life, anglers should do well with both dries and nymphs. If you are looking for some striped fish, Jon Oody has been finding Hybrids and Striper feeding actively on the surface, and this provides one of your best opportunities to get these species on a fly. Charlie Smith got out with Jon last week and landed his personal best Hybrid. Give Cpt. Jon a call at 865-363-8180 to get in on the action.
Whatever you decide to chase this weekend, be safe on the water and mindful of other anglers. We are well stocked at the moment and ready for our peak fishing season. Swing by the shop or give us a ring at 865-200-5271 if we can help you out in any way.