Unseasonably Cool Weather Makes for Excellent Fly Fishing Across East Tennessee and The Smoky Mountains

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The weather across East Tennessee and Western North Carolina barely cracked 80 degrees over the weekend. We managed to fly fish in a variety of locations for a variety of fish species and it was excellent everywhere.

This fish rose nicely to a dry fly

This fish rose nicely to a dry fly

Generation at Cherokee Dam fell off significantly over the weekend so we hitched up the drift boat and headed that way to see how things are. Water temperatures can get marginal for trout on this tailwater in late summer and fall so we were curious to find out what’s going on. We’re pleased to say that the water was in the high 60’s at Indian Cave and there were some trout feeding.

Fishing was nothing like it is at its peak in the spring, but we still picked up several nice rainbows, even a couple on dry flies. Trout fishing was a bit on the slow side so we moved to a different section of the river and broke out the poppers.

We caught a number of smallies about this size

We caught a number of smallies about this size

The smallies were real active and we hooked them on poppers, Woolly Buggers, and Clouser Minnows. This was upstream of Indian Cave and the best bass fishing is downstream of there so the river is fishing exceptionally well for the bronze backs right now.

It looks like generation at Cherokee Dam will cut back this week so there should be some good windows to fish smallmouth around Nances Ferry or even lower on the river.

The weather was cool and wet in the Smokies and it felt more like October than August. Temperatures were in the 60’s and 70’s across the Smoky Mountains and we haven’t seen the fish so happy since last May.

A cool, damp weekend in the Smokies

A cool, damp weekend in the Smokies

Tricos, Isonychias, and a variety of stoneflies are hatching right now and the fish are looking up. The fish may have eaten larger flies, but we stayed true to #18 parachute patterns. We started with a Hi-Vis Parachute Blue Wing Olive and never used anything else because it worked so well. We even cast flies to rising fish, something that usually happens later in the fall.

Most of the fish we caught were rainbows about this big

Most of the fish we caught were rainbows about this big

We missed some fish in the 10-12″ range, but virtually every one we caught was in the 5-8″ range. Not very big but colorful and very willing.

This weather pattern is forecast to last through the week with plenty of sunshine. We’ll be on the water loving every minute!

A quick reminder… Newfound Gap Road in the Smokies between Gatlinburg, TN and Cherokee, NC will be closed from sunset Tuesday September 1 through 6:00 PM on Wednesday September 2. This is for the rededication ceremony for the Smoky’s 75th Anniversary.

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