It’s been a wild fishing season across the Southern Appalachian region with high water, or sometimes worse, good water levels that have been muddy. Fortunately, it looks like things are beginning to resemble something like normal this week.
Well… Normal might be pushing it, but let’s say fishable and call it good. East Tennessee just exceeded it’s usual annual rainfall total and there’s talk of this perhaps being the wettest year on record. There’s still a ways to break that record from 1875 and we’re just happy to finally take advantage of good water conditions.
Fishing in the Smokies has been excellent over the past week. Are water levels perfect? No, but they are fishable and as an added bonus for July, very cold. Nymph fishing is easily the best way to go on the larger streams, but anyone who can engineer good drifts on a regular basis should do very well on dry flies.
Dropper rigs are the best compromise, but in the afternoons we’ve just gone with straight dry flies and put the nymphs in the box.
Water levels are a mixed bag throughout the mountains. Locally, Little River is a tad high, but very fishable. A quick look at the gauges show the the Tellico River basin and other areas aren’t quite so high but still well above average.
It’s also been nice to get the drift boat out of the garage and back in the river. The Clinch and Holston Rivers have had some good water for us to float and the higher than average flows have even allowed us to float Little River for smallmouth bass in sections that are typically only suitable for wading or a canoe in July.
The biggest issue with smallmouth rivers has been that they have been muddy if they weren’t high. This week we finally got a break and were able to back on them. It’s been a mixed bag of streamers and popping bugs, but the smallies are eating.
As far as the tailwaters go look for good flows on the Clinch this week. The Holston below Cherokee isn’t so warm as we feared, but as soon as the water cuts off from the dam it will warm up enough that you should leave the trout alone. This will be a precarious year as far as water temperature is concerned on the Holston. The silver lining here is that the smallmouth fishing should be excellent.