River Flows Bounce Back Up… Again

This cycle is starting to get a little bit old. Weather warms up, gets nice, a few bugs start to hatch, a few fish start to get active, then BAM! More rain and the rivers get high again.

This has affected the mountain streams more than the tailwaters, but we can’t help but notice flows on those rivers are higher as well. The Holston has a trace of a schedule if you know where to go and can suit your schedule to hit it right for a few hours. The Clinch will require the same thing along with a boat and the drive to strip streamers. The South Holston and Watauga have more wiggle room, but they’re far enough away for us that they don’t really count.

This photo is about two years old, but this is a good illustration of water levels in the Smokies today

This photo is about two years old, but this is a good illustration of water levels in the Smokies today

For the remainder of this week we do have a few pointers for fishing in the mountain streams:

  • Consider smaller streams. They usually fall out faster and wading isn’t usually so hazardous.
  • Hike-in fishing might not be the way to go. There will be fishable water, but it might be further between stops so covering long stretches of water from the car might be advisable. Plus big water, backcountry rivers and streams like Abrams Creek are just flat dangerous if you body surf a rapid a few miles from the car without anyone around.
  • Don’t be a dry fly snob. Nymphing will probably get you more hook ups.
  • Don’t give up on the hatches or dry flies. You may very well see some spectacular dry fly fishing in some spots for at least some part of the day. Keep your eyes open.
  • Keep up with water levels before you head out. This can give you a huge advantage by allowing you to head for the water with the best levels. Our stream levels page is a great resource for the mountain streams.