Unseasonably Warm Weather

Just a few days ago we wrote how water temperatures were struggling to reach 40 degrees and the trout were sluggish. Yesterday we were peeling layers on the river and this morning we woke up to 64 degrees on our front porch here in Townsend.

That might sound great to some of you, but for those of us who spend most of their life outside we recognize that only leads to wicked weather. Right now ominous gray clouds are obscuring the Smokies while sliding quickly to the north. Heavy rains and high winds are almost surely on the way.

Ian fishes Little River

Yesterday we figured it might be our last opportunity to get out for a while so we made time in the schedule to get on the river for a couple of hours. The water was certainly warmer, but still chilly in the upper 40’s. I went with a double nymph rig of a Zelon Nymph and Pat’s Nymph. Charity, true to her character, went with a more optimistic rig, a #12 Thunderhead with a #12 Tellico fished about three feet underneath.

Our numbers stayed pretty close to each other, but I think Charity had one particular run of water that put her out front. One run of water yielded five fish in hand plus a couple more missed strikes. It’s tough to keep up when the competition gets a boost like that. She had a few fly by’s on the dry fly, but every fish ate the nymph.  It seemed like the fish had no general preference between the two flies I was fishing. I probably caught 6 or 7 fish on that rig and the fish were pretty evenly divided between the two nymphs.

At one point I asked Charity to swap rods. I just felt like trying the dry and dropper set up. She wasn’t so motivated to fish two nymphs and a split shot, but grudgingly agreed to trade out for a couple of runs.

Smokies Brown Trout with a Thunderhead

Then she asked for her own rig back. This pretty brown trout slid up to the surface slowly and deliberately to slurp in that Thunderhead. It was the only fish either of us caught on the dry fly, but I didn’t really get more than a few drifts before it was confiscated.

We’ll see how the water levels hold up, but it sounds as if some heavy rains are on the way. The mountain streams will probably get pretty high if that happens, but recover in a couple of days. This weather system could bring more water to the TVA reservoirs which only means more of the same high flows. Even if the South Holston and Watauga Rivers don’t bump up flows, there will likely be long sections of the rivers that get muddy. We’ll keep you posted.

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