The sweet, sweet summertime fishing season is upon us folks. Though somewhat beleaguered early on by high water and an unpredictable late spring/early summer, the flows are consistent and favorable in all the tailwaters. Furthermore, all of these 90+ days of summer has made wading a pretty nice weekday treat in the mornings.
On the Clinch, we’ve had lots of consistent wading opportunities, thanks to the recreational flow provided by sluice. Olive and red midges have done particularly well, especially when put below a 16 or 18 Quasimodo pheasant tail to help keep it down on the bottom. As far as streamers, we’ve also heard reports of crystal wooly buggers and sparkle minnows attracting good numbers of fish through the deeper riffles, though you could cast larger, articulated streamers on full sinking lines when the water’s running to find bigger fish.
The Holston has been fishing fantastic lately. No need to get complicated, just throw small pheasant tails and you’ll be into the healthy, hungry, and unpressured fish that enjoyed cold and oxygenated water this year. Sulphurs are still present and caddis are starting to come off, but nymphing has been far more productive.
Smallmouth season, though a little late, is starting as the lower Holston and French Broad become very warm in the later part of the day. Smallies will be looking up in the morning and evening, and in shady spots throughout the day. When you stop getting action on top, go subsurface and fish baitfish or crayfish streamers.
Carp fishing, especially as we approach the Carp Cup, has been a hot topic. We’re hearing of large fish on the lakes around muddy flats. On the rivers either wading on gravel or mud bars while waiting for large groups of fish to come by can be effective, or cruising up and down in a boat looking for pods of feeding fish.
The mountains are low and warm, so you’ll need to go high up to avoid warmer temperatures. They are holding in shallower riffles over the still pools (except for brookies), so stealth and light line is paramount. We’ve had a lot of folks come in and ask about light line mountain rods, so it’s clear that folks are heading up there to find cooler weather and wiley brookies.