Water conditions in the Smokies continue to be pretty good as we see a number of sporadic rain showers and thunderstorms pass through. Water temperatures are excellent, particularly in the higher elevations around 3000′ and higher where waters have staying in the high 50’s to low 60’s. The steep nature of our streams ensures this cold water will rush downstream before it has a chance to warm up.
This good new for the mountain streams hasn’t necessarily translated to good news on our local tailwaters. Norris and Cherokee Lakes are already well above full summer pool with more water flowing in. This leaves TVA no choice but to keep flows high on the Clinch and Holston Rivers. Expect a break for some ideal fishing flows around the 4th of July holiday.
For now the best bet on the tailwater scene remains the South Holston. Flows are ideal and the Sulphurs are hatching. The Watauga also has some good flows. Both of these rivers are susceptible to dirty water inflows after hard rains, so keep an eye on the radar before making any long drives. Doe River is the primary culprit on the Watauga and Stoney Creek can contribute a little mud as well, but that leaves a fair amount of clean water up toward Wilbur Dam. The South Holston can be muddy near the boat launch below the weir dam so it can get blown out a little easier.
Smallmouth rivers and streams can also be excellent right now so long as they are clear. Locally the Little River around Townsend and Walland has fished quite well with poppers. Lower Abrams Creek is another strong play for the small jaws. The Pigeon River should be clear by now, but it also has a tendency to get muddy after hard rains, particularly downstream of the tomato farms around Edwina.