Autumn Leaves Provide Colorful Backdrop for Fly Fishing in the Smokies

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Fall colors are at their peak along the higher ridges and will only get brighter over the next week along the trout streamsFall colors are at their peak along the higher ridges and will only get brighter over the next week along the trout streams

It’s been a wet couple of days in the Smoky Mountains and more rain is on the way, but fishing is still quite good. Up to this point the streams haven’t been blown out. Expect to find water levels like they are in March or April.

Dry fly fishing is nothing short of excellent on Little River right now. Fishing has been good on other streams, but nymphs have figured more into the equation. Copper Johns, Prince Nymphs, and Pheasant Tail Nymphs are all basic yet essential patterns right now. We’re seeing more Blue Wing Olives and micro-caddis hatching than anything else, but the trout don’t seem to be very selective to size.

Delayed Harvest streams have opened in Tennessee and North Carolina. These are always popular and provide good fishing, particularly for those who have trouble fooling wild trout. I floated the Tuckaseegee yesterday and found it more or less the way I remember it.

A strong weather system blew through in the morning and fishing was exceptionally slow. However, things picked up dramatically in the afternoon as we put about 15 fish in the net. Three of those were relatively large. The largest was a chunky brook trout that stretched to 17″ on the tape. Woolly Buggers were the pattern of the afternoon, but we often do much better with nymphs in many sections of the river.

Tailwaters like the Clinch are essentially blown out right now. All of this rain is keeping the reservoirs from draining very quickly. It will probably be more than a month before the lakes reach winter levels.

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