Good Fly Fishing in the Smokies and the Clinch plus More Bear Pictures

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Great water levels are keeping the water cool and the trout happy

Great water levels are keeping the water cool and the trout happy

Water levels are well within fishable, but look much more like April than August. Here on the Tennessee side of the Smokies Tremont is fishing really well. I’ve been fishing nymphs about three feet under a yarn indicator, but dry flies will tempt plenty of fish. Just be sure to cast dries to spots that aren’t more than three feet deep for the best success.

Little River along the road is fishing much better than it usually does in August,  but it’s still the most difficult fishing to be found in the park right now. It’s unusual to shake me up, but I almost fell over yesterday when a brown trout in the 4-5 pound range appeared in a shallow riffle and nosed my indicator yarn. I continued to nymph the run with a rubber leg Tellico Nymph then followed that up with a streamer. No dice, but I know where that one lives.

The Clinch River continues to be the best bet for a tailwater in our neck of the state. Generation schedules have been great all week. Anglers can fish near the dam until well after lunch time or wade around Clinton all day long. The Sulphurs are long past gone so focus your efforts on nymphing. Small midge patterns like a Zebra Midge are the usual flies we rely on at this time of year. Some small black caddis could make an appearance, so a black Elk Caddis in #20 might come in handy, but it’s still a little early in the year.

A black bear returns to the berry patch near our house

A black bear returns to the berry patch near our house

We received a few comments about the bear we saw behind our house last weekend. He returned this morning for a second helping. So everyone knows, I’m using a 300 mm lens to take these photos which allows me to zoom in close without getting near the bear. We’re also observing him from the back deck on our house which is on the second floor and has no stairs down to the ground where the bear is.

Charity and I try to maintain this area over the winter by keeping pine sprouts down and keeping it open so blackberries, polk berries, and devil’s walking sticks will continue to grow. All of these produce berries that are eaten by a variety of birds, squirrels, deer, turkeys, and of course black bear.

The bear is usually stays hidden in the brush. A long lens and a fast shutter speed allowed me to get this image.

The bear usually stays hidden in the brush. A long lens and a fast shutter speed allowed me to get this image.

We have been pleased to see that the bear remains somewhat skittish so we have to remain pretty quiet to watch him. It’s also a good sign that he’s in the berries. We never keep trash cans outside because of wildlife and this bear seems to prefer natural foods.

Our daughter Willow was thrilled to “eat breakfast with a bear” on the deck. The berries in her cereal were picked a while ago and came out of the freezer, but she giggled at the idea that she and a bear had the same thing for breakfast.

Fly Fishing for Brook Trout in Great Smoky Mountains National Park