A Variety of Fly Fishing in the Smoky Mountains and East Tennessee

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It’s been too long since I’ve posted a report and the reason is because we’ve been fishing so much. Fishing in the Smokies, fishing on the tailwaters, fishing for smallmouth. You name it, we’ve done it over the past two weeks.

The drift boat has seen plenty of use over the past few weeks when we haven't been fishing in the Smokies.

The drift boat has seen plenty of use over the past few weeks when we haven't been fishing in the Smokies.

Smoky Mountains

Water levels have come down to where you’d expect them to be in late July. However, we have much more water than we did in 2007 or 2008 and things are where they’re supposed to be. In fact, cooler than average temperatures have kept things fishing well. Water temperature at Elkmont yesterday morning was 62 so things are picture perfect.

It’s terrestrial time! We have a thing for ant patterns so that’s what we’ve focused on most, but beetles are also pretty good. Use these patterns during sunny weather. They aren’t near so effective on cloudy or rainy days.

Backcountry streams are really fishing quite well. There are too many to mention, so just pick a blue line on the map and head for the water.

Tailwaters

We’ve been on three tailwaters in less than two weeks time. Generation schedules are really a day to day thing right now with very little in the way of consistency outside of the Watauga and Hiwassee.

The Clinch is fishing pretty good when the water’s right. As usual, bring your midges and small beadheads.

We fished the South Holston for several days when we went to the South Holston Fly Fishing Festival. Sulphurs were hatching, but there were more bugs than rising trout. We caught enough fish to have fun, but seriously, there were excellent hatches every day we fished and only a few fish were looking up.

This 19" brown ate a midge pupa on the Holston

This 19" brown ate a midge pupa on the Holston

The Holston is still fishing, but the schedules are far more challenging than the trout. Midges are the scene.

Smallmouth

Now is the time to try fly fishing for smallmouth bass if you haven’t done it. Fish are taking poppers or small streamers in most streams. Little River from Townsend on downstream towards Maryville is really fishing good.

Chunky smallmouth bass with take poppers are small streamers in a variety of East Tennessee rivers and streams

Chunky smallmouth bass with take poppers are small streamers in a variety of East Tennessee rivers and streams

Another overlooked stream is Abrams Creek in Happy Valley. While Abrams is always thought of as a trout stream (it’s a damn good one) it’s also a great smallmouth stream on the lower end. It fished great a few days back.

The Pigeon and Holston Rivers are two more of our favorites and be sure to hit the Nolichucky if it’s not too far for you.

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