I’ve got a fishing report from late last week, but conditions have changed substantially in the Smoky Mountains since that time so I’m not sure just how valid it will be. We’ve been struggling with a round of the cold virus here at R&R Fly Fishing on top of finishing up holiday shopping and getting together with visiting relatives.
Late last week I headed for the river because it was going to be the last decent day before the weather made a big change. It was a sunny day and temperatures on Little River in the park were in the mid 40’s. Water temperature was a shade lower at 42 but fish remained somewhat active.
Out of sheer laziness my good instincts not to mess with a good thing, I’ve been fishing the exact same rig for about four fishing trips now. I haven’t so much as re-tied a fly or replaced tippet; just fished the exact same rig. It’s been a productive dropper rig with a Z-lon Nymph tied high and a Pat’s Nymph on bottom.
When water temperatures have been above 45 degrees the fish have taken both flies almost equally, but on the colder days they have had a profound bias for the bottom fly.
This isn’t unusual. Fish are more sluggish in colder temperatures and less likely to move very far. My Pat’s Nymph began to show some wear, but the fish continued to eat it up.
If it makes anyone out there feel better, I’ve clipped both flies off and will have to replace the entire leader next time I go fishing.
Forecast for the Smokies
We had a good bit of snow in the Smokies this weekend with more than 20″ along the crest of the Smokies. Temperatures will be mild this week, but melting snow will likely keep water temperatures frigid. Good rain chances around Christmas day may push water levels up, but they should recover quickly.
The tailwater situation just doesn’t seem to get any better. Norris, Wilbur, and South Holston dams are all sluicing water on top of generating as much water as possible. Cherokee Dam is showing some breaks in generation, but all of that water from the Watauga and South Holston has to pass through that dam as well.
We’re usually back to fishing on the tailwaters by this time every year and often times recommend it over the mountain streams because of better water temperatures. Looks like it will be a long winter for tailwater fly fishers.