Dogwood Winter Brings Snow to the Smoky Mountains

Fly fishing here in the Smoky Mountains got a little bit cooler over the past few days. Almost as reliable as the blooming of the dogwoods here in Tennessee, spring cold snaps always arrive after we think we’re completely clear of winter.

The front came in on Monday afternoon and temeratures dropped through the day as blowing snow got heavier as the day passed. I was guiding Clyde Seibert from Delaware and he was delighted to fish over rising trout on Little River as the snow fell. Charity, Tim, and I all re-scheduled our guide trips for Tuesday as temperatures were forecast to remain in the cellar.

I often refer to these uncontrollable events as the fly fishing guide’s version of playing Tetris with a calendar, trying to schedule the guides remaining open days with days our anglers will be in town. Fortunately we were able to get everyone down for a day on the water this week.

This should be the last big winter blast, although we still have “Blackberry Winter” to go. That’s the cold snap that usually coincides with the blooming of blackberry bushes. Blackberry winter isn’t typically as harsh as dogwood winter though.

Our guide season has taken off with a vengeance and we have relatively few open dates between now and June. The weather is much warmer today and should only get better as we approach the weekend. Most of the Quill Gordons are gone now, but there are still other insects hatching. We’re nowing seeing Hendricksons along with some olives and brown stoneflies.

There will be plenty of bugs hatching over the next six weeks. Watch for Yellow Sallies, Light Cahills, Sulphurs, and caddis.

The tailwaters have really been fishing well. We haven’t been on the Clinch but have heard good things. The Holston has been fishing good and we saw some of the first caddis of the season last weekend. That’s a prime hatch and will build as we go into May.