As with last week, we’re seeing a lot of big water in the middle of the week on the Clinch, Holston, and French Broad. This has somewhat limited the time and places to go fish, but there have been consistent opportunities to wade on the Clinch ahead of generation, and any Joe ‘schmo with a canoe or jon boat can get into some fish on the Broad.
On most mornings, you’ll be able to get out before the rain and before the water rises by fishing on the lower access points, such as behind the Church above Highway 61. Lead time at the Church is around 4.5 hours, so if they start generation at 10, you could fish until 2 and still be out at a safe time.
Due to the high water, we’ve heard reports of striper throughout the river, and some are pursuing these fish on the fly. Walleye can also be seen hugging the bottom on the upper Clinch below the weir pool. For those who partake in a little catch-and-keep from time to time, you’d be hard pressed to find a better fish than walleye for table fare.
The Holston is running big water around the clock. This is, obviously, less than ideal for fishing. In the long term, however, the water has been cold and well oxygenated, so the health and quality of the fish have been exceptional, and we’ll all enjoy that benefit when the water levels out for a long summer season of fishing.
The mountains continue to be fishing extremely well as long as you find the right water. The rain is helping bump the water levels back up to median flows or even a little higher. The fish may be a little spooky, but just focus your efforts on the deeper holes and runs in the higher elevations, and steer clear of the tailouts of pools, unless you want to test your mettle and technical skill against some cruising fish.
Warmwater species are starting to heat up as you get closer to Knoxville. If you look at the creeks and tributaries that feed into the Tennessee River (especially the urban ones) you’ll find lots of bass, panfish, and carp in the shallows during the morning and evening. These spots are perfect to hit before or after the workday, and can result in a productive half hour or hour long session.