This week’s report will largely mirror what I have talked about for the past several weeks. We are seeing high water on the Clinch river below Norris Dam during the week and on Saturdays. Sunday will likely present a wadable window in the morning with generation beginning at 10am. The additional sluice of 3,500 cfs on the clinch is bumping the one generator flow up to 7,500 cfs. This is a lot of water compared to standard flows but I can say from experience that the fishing is not suffering because of it.
I was out on the big water Monday with clients and I started to launch the boat with some skepticism as to how well we would do that day. It was a slow start but once we figured out the pattern we caught fish consistently throughout our float and managed several larger fish as well. The photo above is one of my clients holding a rainbow he caught on Monday that taped at 19 inches. I will briefly touch on my strategy for high water without giving away all the tricks up my sleeve. The short story here is fish the trash lines that form just off the banks. You will see debris lines on the current side of bank eddies and this is an obvious place for fish to set up and feed on a variety of food sources available during high flows. You are going to need to nymph pretty deep but do not feel the need to bump the bottom. Fish are going to be feeding throughout the column and I had my bugs about 6 ft. under indicators. Tandem nymph rigs was the ticket for us, and I usually rig one attractor fly and one that is more natural. Fish were caught on both flies and were not very picky. Streamers would be a great idea as well if you can handle some heavy sinking lines. Big fish were obviously out and feeding and we boated several over 16 inches.
I won’t bug you about the Holston again this week, yes it is still warm, no do not go and fish it. I’m not concerned that you will though because they are blowing it out substantially. If you are brave enough for 8k cfs out there I wish you the best of luck.
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is still in great shape, water temps are favorable, and the leaves are at peak color. This means a little more traffic up there but get creative and you may find some of the larger wild Brown trout that Tennessee has to offer. I would stick to nymphing and maybe even some light streamer work on the bigger water. Rain coming in over the next couple of days will spike the water levels but fishing that falling water can produce some of the nicer fish found in the park.
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 call at 865-200-5271.