Weekday flows are consistently high right now on our local tailwaters. We have been experiencing a large additional sluice added to the generation on the Clinch over the last several days, but the prediction chart suggests that they will be backing off for the weekend. I would imagine they will run water all day on Saturday with a good flow for floating, and may offer a wading window on Sunday morning followed by generation.
If you do get a chance to wade the Clinch river, cream midges have been the name of the game, fished shallow under a small dry fly or indicator. There are some significant midge hatches coming off on low water, and fishing small flies close to the surface is a great way to trick trout that are oriented towards the top of the water column. Larger Pheasant Tails should also be in your box, because sometimes a larger meal can entice the fish as they are approaching their spawn. 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. Please do not fish for trout when the water temperature is too high, this kills fish even if they swim away when released. Our fishing suffers the following spring when anglers have pressured the population too much during warm water months. Be patient and wait until the trout fishing is ethical again.
The GSMNP is fishing great and larger Brown trout are out looking for spawning gravel. Overnight temperatures are very low up in the park right now, so you don’t need to be worried about being on the water super early in the mornings. Warmer afternoons will likely be accompanied by bugs and feeding fish. Fall is a wonderful time to be in the park, and the larger low elevation water is your best bet. Little River offers plenty of opportunity to stop at road pull-offs and search for willing trout feeding in tail outs and soft pockets.
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.