Fly Fishing Possibilities Looking Good in the Smoky Mountains and East Tennessee

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We’ve been out fishing quite a bit over the weekend and plan to do some more in the coming week. The weather has been relatively mild and the water is in pretty good shape. It’s still a little early for the spring hatches to start, but we’re beginning to see a few bugs.

Charity’s guide season started over the weekend and fishing was fair. Julie Tallman caught a few fish on nymphs while missing a couple more. Late in the day they found some rising trout in one of our favorite winter dry fly pools on Little River and Julie caught several on a #18 Paracute Hi-Vis Blue Wing Olive.

I took to the water by myself yesterday and nymphed up a decent number of trout in about 4 hours on Little River. I used a Pat’s Nymph fished in tandem with a Z-lon nymph I’ve been tying that closely resembes a Beadhead Pheasant Tail. There were a few mayflies out and about along with some dun caddis, but no risers. The way things are going this year we’re expecting an early Quill Gordon hatch. The bugs usually arrive some time around the first of March, but I’m going to guess we’ll see them by the last week of February.

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Tailwaters

It looks like generation from TVA dams is cutting back enough for some good opportunities to fish. The South Holston and Wautauga have been the only game around for the past couple of months, but it looks like there are some other places to try. While the Clinch hasn’t cut back enough for wading just yet, it looks like it will soon. The flows there today favor floating. The Hiwassee at Reliance looks promising and this is always a great place to fish in the late winter and early spring. The Holston River below Cherokee Dam is still spotty, but fishing near the dam and down low at Nance’s Ferry is beginning to look good. Then over to our west we notice that the Corps of Engineers has cut back flows on the Caney Fork. We’ve heard nothing but great things about this river over the past year and might be able to sneak over there before the guiding kicks in.