Fishing in our area has really come to life over the past two weeks. We are still waiting on the warm water to really reach its peak, but smallmouth and carp are both being found by the patient angler. Trout on the tailwaters are still eating dry flies willingly, and we have seen the most significant bug activity from 11am-1pm and also late afternoon. Striper are starting to get active on the lakes and below the dams, and the musky are in full feed mode now that they have completed their spawn. The fish are happy, now we just need some decent consistency with weather and water flows.
It looks like the Clinch will have a split schedule on Saturday and Sunday, so expect both a wading and floating window this weekend below Norris Dam. We are still catching the majority of our fish on pheasant tail variations and midges, but during hatches, a Sulphur Comparadun in a #16 will serve you well. Yellow and olive soft hackles are a great cheat code if the fish are being especially picky. We often tie these about 3-4ft. behind an anchor fly such as a BH PT. It looks as though we will most likely have high water on the Holston below Cherokee Dam for the weekend, but a streamer float is never a bad idea.
The GSMNP should be nice this weekend, but the rain we are due will likely spike flows up above average so keep an eye on the gauges. If you are wanting to wander the blue lines, higher elevation streams will drain faster, so chasing some of our native Southern Appalachian Brook trout may be worth a shot. They should be feeding willingly on the standard fare of both dries and nymphs alike. Keep your patterns simple, and flies with yellow colors are typically a great bet.
On a different note, the predator fish are beginning their spring madness. I got out last weekend in pursuit of Musky and moved a decent fish. For those of you unfamiliar with the subject, that is a pretty successful day. They are more willing to eat right now, as they have come out of their spawn and need to replenish. Even still, Musky are a worthy adversary that are tough to figure out. I caught a nice striper on Sunday morning fishing a large streamer on my SA I/3/5 sink line. Jon Oody and I returned Monday evening and he was able to land two nice fish in the 15-20lb. class. Let me tell you from experience that Striper are as good of a pull as you can find, and you’re going to need a lot of backing. If you want your shot at one, swing by the shop and we will get you geared up, and I’ll put you in touch with Cpt. Oody, he’s the guy to put you on them!
Whatever you decide to chase this weekend, remember to be safe and respectful of others on the water. Remember the pork rinds, and don’t be too manly for sunscreen. Let us know how we can help you, swing by the shop or give us a ring at 865-200-5271.