The Clinch River below Norris Dam has had the dream generation schedule lately, but only if you have a boat. Norris Dam has been running one generator about 20 hours a day. Steady flows make for happy bugs and happy fish. Furthermore that water level allows for excellent fishing. Of course it sucks if you’re confined to wading as most anglers are.
Nymphing with #16-18 beadheads has been the standard method, but when I’m not guiding I prefer to work a streamer or cast a dry fly at a pod of working fish. Both of these methods require more work and may be less productive overall, but if I’m not guiding I’m not quite so results oriented.
Charity and I initially intended to take a “streamers only” float, but with such beautiful weather (notoriously bad for streamer fishing) and the occasional pod of rising fish we ended up fishing dry flies as well. Both of us turned some XL size fish on streamers. We didn’t get any eats from them but did land several fish in the 16-17″ range.
Interestingly enough, the best fish of the day was an 18″ rainbow Charity hooked and eventually landed on a #18 Parachute Caddis. It was an epic moment complete with wild jumps and a screaming reel. We had to follow the fish down river a little way before we could land it. We actually got video of the moment and I’ll try to get it up soon.
We’re working on a bit of a website issue right now that isn’t allowing us to upload any new pictures so we can’t even show off a bit. Not that big a problem, though, since all the best pictures are of fish Charity caught….
Fishing is still great in the Smokies with the resurgence of warm weather. There are still a few fish to be had on dry flies, but the smart money is starting to go with nymphs more as every day goes by.