At this point it is likely obvious to you that we have started yet another battle with high flows and weather. It looks like the Clinch will be running a lot of water for the near future, with an additional sluice added to the generation. Despite this, we still expect to see a rec flow this weekend so wading on Saturday and Sunday morning should be in the cards for tailwater anglers. This coming weekend is the last weekend of recreation flows on the TVA schedule, so it is in your best interest to get out and make the most of it!
The standard clinch river assortment of small midges and pheasant tails should be in your pack, and it is not a bad idea to start trying some egg flies as a trailer to a PT. The fish are in pre-spawn feed mode and are likely to aggressively start taking high protein meals. Small streamers fished on low water are also something to add to your arsenal this time of year. Try swinging buggers and other single hook streamers through tail-outs and riffles.
For those of you that are wondering, the Holston is still TOO HOT to be fishing for trout. Just because the air starts cooling down does not mean that the water temps will immediately start following. We have temped the river in the trout section in multiple areas and finding water temps above 70 degrees was common. We spotted several live trout holding in deeper areas, and if anglers do not pressure them it is likely they will hold on until the water cools down again. Plan on continuing to give that water a break for the foreseeable future.
The GSMNP is in great shape and it is time to start searching for large pre-spawn browns now that the water temps are back under 70. Mornings in the park will be accompanied by very cold water that will warm over the course of the day. I have heard multiple good reports from avid park anglers over the last couple of weeks. If you have not fished up in the park in the Fall months before, you should really get up there and see for yourself the changing leaves and phenomenal fishing! Right now I would focus efforts to deep running nymphs. Keep fly selections simple. A little bit of rain over the weekend should have most of the water up there at prime flow and temperature. Trying some larger meals like buggers and girdle bugs would not be a bad idea. Spend more time looking than casting if you are wanting to find the biggest fish in the park. There is no substitute for patience and time spent on the river.
Whatever you decide to chase this weekend, be safe and mindful of others on the water. If we can help you in any way swing by the shop or give us a ring at 865-200-5271.