We Return to the Holston River

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After several weeks of high flows we’ve seen water levels subside a bit on the Holston River. Charity and I managed to sneak off for a day and headed for a section of the river where smallmouth bass tend to dominate in the warm months. We caught several nice bass, but trout were far more common and more active.

The trout were all caught on nymphs, but there were a number of pods of midging fish up and down the river. Flows from Cherokee Dam are still cold and it looks like there is a good cold water layer in Cherokee Lake this year since the water is still cold enough for trout about 15 miles downstream of the dam.

This is typical of the fish we were catching

This is typical of the fish we were catching on the Holston River

We caught most of the smallmouth on poppers, but they weren’t very surface oriented and we turned our attention to the trout.

The Clinch also has some great flows right now, so if you’ve been waiting for the right time, this is it. Lake levels are still relatively high and we expect TVA to start generating a bit more within a couple of weeks.

I did a float on the Pigeon River for smallmouth bass upstream of Newport on Saturday. The fishing was excellent through the morning into the early afternoon. We got a number of good strikes on streamers. There were a few bass on poppers, but we didn’t fish them as much. By late afternoon the bite slowed down quite a bit, with mostly sunfish coming to the flies and only the odd bass.

The Pigeon is an exceptionally scenic smallmouth bass river that most fly fishers completely ignore

The Pigeon is an exceptionally scenic smallmouth bass river that most fly fishers completely ignore

Most of the fish were relatively small on Saturday. The Pigeon typically yields several really nice smallies in a day, but we only got follows from the larger fish, no takes. It was still a great day of fishing and the good action in the first 2/3 of the day more than made up for the late afternoon lock down.

Looks like it should a be great week for fly fishing in the Smokies. Water levels are perfect for mid-summer and there are plenty of locations where fly fishers can have miles of water to themselves. Of course most of these spots require at least a short hike, but there are still plenty of good trout along the roadsides as well.

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