It’s a boaters world on the Clinch during the week these days, and they’re running big water through the Holston. Doesn’t make a huge difference for us, because this is smallmouth, carp, and general warmwater season for us. Now is the time to be wading around in warm, skinny water, or going after overlooked species like white bass before Fall.
Now that the rain has been more seasonable, flows are reasonable for wading around in creeks both close to home and in the surrounding area. As one of our endemic gamefish species, smallmouth are found throughout the region, and they like low, warm water. This makes them excellent quarry throughout August and into September before the weather gets trouty again.
Redeyes are another fun little fish to target this time of year. They’re a mix between a big panfish and a small bass, and the love dry flies, stealth bombers, poppers, and other flies that make a big plop. For smallmouth and redeyes, you’ll want to switch over to streamers. Olive is a good all-around color, but yellow, white, and black all have there places depending on water clarity and how much sun is on the water.
Hybrid bass fishing is pretty good right now on several of the reservoirs around town. Just look for schools of shad with something busting them up. Throw a white streamer into the bait ball and rip it back as quick as possible for an aggressive take. I did some of that fishing Tuesday night, and it's very reminiscent of chasing fish in the salt.
Carp fishing is another thing that we like to do here in the summer when the sun is up and the water is warm. Carp flies typically imitate small worms or crayfish, and we have lots in stock. Try fishing out on the lakes where you see shallow mud flats. Within 20 minutes of our shop, there’s tons of carp fishing opportunities for folks with jon boats, kayaks, paddleboards, and wading right out of the gate. Get on Google Maps into Satellite mode and look for brown patches in the lake with public access, and you’ll likely find a few good spots to try yourself.
For fishing on the Clinch, one of our shop hands, Thomas, was able to take advantage of a narrow wading window this morning, putting two in the net with olive midges and one with an orange soft hackle. For those of you who tie your own, I’ve heard several reports of chartreuse midges working well, so you might tie up a few of those and try them this weekend on the Rec flows.
The Holston is running water that makes wading all but impossible, but the flows aren’t too bad for floating. Trout fishing is notoriously difficult under higher water, but the smallmouth will feed pretty well, allowing for easier float conditions.
The mountains are still fishing well. The water is low and warm, so try going higher up and looking for brookies or small stream rainbows. You might also try to fish the lower streams for smallmouth and redeyes as well, as many lower end streams in the Park have plenty of warmwater fish to target as they flow into Fontana or out of the Park.