Now that our schedule has freed up we’re pretty grateful for the nice weather we’re seeing plus more in the extended forecast. Overnight temperatures are frosty, but we’re still seeing afternoon temperatures in the 50’s with a few days even pushing on past 60.
Dry fly fishing isn’t a given anymore, but there are still some pretty decent opportunities. We’re also keeping a close eye on our tailwater generation schedules. It shouldn’t be much longer before TVA eases up on the flows and the Clinch, Holston, and Hiwassee should have much more friendly flows.
Smoky Mountain brown trout have wrapped up their spawning, at least where we were seeing them all through November, but they are still out and about. These fish aren’t nearly so easy to spot as they were just a few weeks back, but the good news is that they are eating about as aggressively as they will all year long. Unfortunately this doesn’t make them any less skittish are cautious.
As long as low water conditions persist in the Smokies you should focus your efforts on deep slots with big nymphs.
We’re really starting to get antsy about the tailwaters. Quite frankly we expected to already be casting to some chunks on the Clinch by now. Water conditions are fine for floats, but TVA has some squirrely flows that have kept us from making the drive.
Perhaps the biggest news in fly fishing around East Tennessee right now is that the South Holston is sluicing a constant 400 cfs around the clock. TVA is working on the generator and this flow is much better than what you’ll find at almost any other time. This flow is fine for wading, but the extra bit of water will make the fish a bit less cautious and also allow enough depth to float much of the river. Sulphurs are still hatching and expect superb BWO hatches on cloudy or rainy days.
When the Clinch and Holston come back around be sure to be armed with small midge larva and pupa patterns. This isn’t out of the ordinary for Clinch River veterans who know Zebra Midges are a staple.
A major sleeper right now is the Hiwassee. We’ve heard some reliable reports of nice fish being caught down there. Just like most of the other tailwaters it may be another week or so before flows become agreeable so let’s hope the nice weather lasts just a bit longer!
A good day on the Tuckaseegee should produce a few jumbo brook trout
Looking for a sure thing? The Tuckaseegee near Dillsboro, NC is about as close as you’ll find. Delayed Harvest regulations and heavy stocking make this a great place to kill an afternoon. Attractor nymphs always do well on the Tuck and you’ll never go wrong swinging Buggers. Expect some outsized brookies as well as some good rainbows and the occasional brown trout.