Return of the Fishing Report

It’s been a crazy month of guiding fly fishermen here in East Tennessee on the edge of the Smoky Mountains. If you’re someone who follows our blog it’s needless to say that we’ve been pretty slack about posting fishing reports. Everyday (and I mean EVERYDAY) we’re up early prepping the kids for their day while making sure our fly boxes are full and the drift boat is either hitched or unhitched depending on the schedule.

It’s pretty crazy to look up and see June fading fast because it seems like April was last week. We’ve said it before, but once again we’ve covered just about everything in recent days from small brook trout streams, large trout streams, trout floats, smallmouth bass floats, and bass creeks too! Here’s the scoop.


Smoky Mountain Rainbow Trout

Recent rains are right on time for the Smokies. Water conditions were getting low but are back in great condition. Dry flies work best in pocket water right now. Longer pools on the bigger streams get tough in the summer, but terrestrial patterns like ants and beetles will still pull fish up here.

Use whatever you like in the smaller streams. Nymphs, dry flies, and wet flies will all produce. The most consistent rig right now is a dry fly/dropper combo. Go with something bushy like a Stimulator or Thunderhead for the top fly and something sensible like a #16 Pheasant Tail, Zelon Nymph, or Copper John on the bottom.

Keep a few streamers on hand if you get caught in rising water after a thunderstorm. All of the larger streams with brown trout fish well when the water starts to rise and color up.


We’ve hit that point in the summer when we have to keep a close eye on generation schedules for the tailwaters like the Clinch and Holston. The reservoirs are full so TVA will need to get rid of all that extra water. The Clinch has had good schedules for waders and that looks like it should hold up for a little longer. As usual, small Pheasant Tails and Zebra Midges are the way to go.

The best bet for tailwater fishing right now is the South Holston. Maintenance on the generators there has the river running at a steady 280 cfs. That’s perfect for wading and a little more flow than the bare minimum that’s so common up there. Bring your fly box with a variety of Sulphur patterns because the hatch is on.

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass with Clouser Minnow

Honestly, the smallies are what get us the most worked up as we move toward the heart of summer. They’ll eat a variety of streamers and the popper bite is on! Lower Little River downstream of Townsend has been fishing excellent as well as lower Abrams Creek. The Pigeon River is another great river for bass, but recent rains will keep it muddy for a few days. Same goes for the Nolichucky and French Broad.

Our schedule is starting to get a little bit of daylight so we’re hoping to catch up on a little bit of sleep and do a little bit of fishing for ourselves.

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