Rain Keeping the Rivers Full and Us On Our Toes

I’ve been on the water doing some smallmouth trips lately, but the current rain situation is keeping those rivers muddy. We’re waiting on them to clear and hope next week turns out better than this one.

Red Eye

Red eyes (maybe you call them rock bass) keep the action going whether the smallmouth are biting or not

With the record drought years of 2007 – 08 still fresh in our mind it seems strange to complain about rain, but it looks like we’re going to start as it’s affecting our big river and tailwater fishing.

The rain has been a good thing for the mountain rivers and streams. They’re staying cool and the fish are happy with the flow. Furthermore, any extra water they receive tends to run off in about a day or so. It’s an added bonus that most streams in the Smokies don’t stay muddy for long.

That’s not really the case on our bigger rivers and tailwaters. Unfortunately there are any number of small tributaries that pump muddy water into the rivers during thunderstorms. Even worse, our TVA reservoirs are still more than full and these heavy down bursts continue to make it hard for the water to fall. This translates into high flows from the dams.

The South Holston and Hiwassee are two rivers that fish well with high water, but the Clinch and Holston below Cherokee Dam put out 5-10 times as much water and the fishing is blown out on those rivers. (The South Holston and Hiwassee can both get muddy from tributaries, so they’re not necessarily immune from rainy weather.)

One quick note for those fishing Little River in the Smokies: Due to firefly viewing in the evenings only those registered with a campsite at Elkmont can get up that road after 4:00 in the afternoon. You can get in there before that and come out, just not go up after.