After a weekend of guiding in the Smokies we’re still happy to report the fish are still active. In fact, we pulled a good number of fish up to the surface on dry flies. On the other hand, it doesn’t look like the tailwater situation will get any better in the near future hear in East Tennessee.
The smart choice is to fish nymphs. A wide range of nymph patterns should fool fish, but we’re focusing on #14-16 Z-lon Nymphs. That’s been our standard nymph for most of this year and is a derivative of a Pheasant Tail. Big Prince Nymphs and Tellico Nymphs are also good for fish turbulent pocket water. The weather is forecast to get cooler over the next week, so we’re expecting to move to nymphs full time.
Try a #14 Parachute Adams or #16 Elk Caddis in the middle of the day. Look for slower currents that are 18″ deep to about 3′ deep. That’s where we’ve picked up most of our risers.
The Clinch still pushing two generators worth of water. That’s floatable, but fishing is generally slow under those conditions. There’s a lot of water on the Watauga as well. The South Holston could be a good float, particularly for those casting streamers, but seasonal closures on several sections of the river diminish some of the opportunity. Wading opportunities are pretty sparse on that river right now.
Head west to Middle Tennessee for tailwater fishing right now since the Caney Fork and Elk Rivers look like they are both providing a chance to wade.
Over in North Carolina the Nantahala is still off limits due to high flows, but in great shape for paddlers. The Tuckaseegee has fallen to a level that makes for good streamer fishing from a drift boat, but it’s still pretty high for any wading.