A Busy Weekend on the Rivers Around East Tennessee

It was the first weekend we’ve seen this year with good tailwater flows and warm weather. That added up to lots of folks out on all the rivers from the Clinch to the Smokies, and not just fly fishers.

This weekend a whitewater get together of sorts was in East Tennessee. “Ain’t Louie Fest” is a gathering of primarily open boat whitewater paddlers and they descended on Little River on Saturday. If we had known about this in advance we would have said something. It took us by surprise how many boaters turned out on Little River and Tellico River.

And so did fly fishers, cyclists, and almost anyone else with cabin fever. Fortunately we had already decided to get the drift boat out and head to the Clinch, not a whitewater destination.

Clinch Brook Trout Release

This Clinch River brook trout took a black Super Bugger

I think shallower water would have fished better as the fish would have been a bit more concentrated but we moved a few fish on streamers. Nothing much to talk about, but the first day out in the drift boat and it’s sunny and 63 degrees, you don’t want to complain too much.The Clinch had plenty of folks lined up around Millers Island up to the dam. Schedules made wading down around Highway 61 a little more problematic.

We put the drift boat in at Peach Orchard but found things a bit on the slow side. Midge activity was almost nonexistent, but as the day progressed we were pleasantly surprised to see a few Sulphurs hatching. We were on the falling side of one generator which is really one of our favored flows, but it didn’t fish up to our expectation. We’re sure the fish were there, just not much happening.

Quill Gordon

Quill Gordon – Coming to your favorite Smoky Mountain stream soon!

There is some significant rain on the way and we’re crossing our fingers that we don’t get much more in the way of high water. We’ve had a our share for at least a little while! Hatches are really starting to move along in the Smokies now even as water levels remain a bit on the high side. There were some rising fish over the past few days, but honestly, we saw more bugs than risers most of the time. This is usually the way things get started but the fish should get it all figured out soon.