We’re looking at the warmest and driest week of the year. Considering it’s late August, it’s about time. We often dread this time of year for its hot weather, warm water, and tough fishing, but that’s not the case this year.
Overnight temperatures in the Smokies are down in the 50’s and likely as cool as the 40’s on the high peaks. Daytime temperatures are in the low 80’s during the afternoon on the trout streams and the dry fly fishing has been great. This is a perfect time for a hike in to remote backcountry streams.
The tailwater situation is varied depending on your location and your means of accessing the river. The Clinch provides the best example as TVA is pushing water through one generator for extended periods. This isn’t good news for waders but provides perfect conditions for floating. You’ll find similar conditions on the Hiwassee where there’s not much to wade but perfect for those who know how to handle a set of oars.
Waders will need to focus their tailwater efforts on the South Holston and Watauga Rivers this week. Both have flows to accommodate waders and floaters.
The warm weather and good flows around the region make for good smallmouth fishing. The largest rivers in East Tennessee like the Holston and French Broad will have some favorable flows, but you need to know where to find the best water as the flows are yo-yoing for the foreseeable future. Smaller freestone rivers will provide more opportunities this week. Look to lower Tellico River, the Nolichucky, and small rivers on the Cumberland Plateau for the best fishing.
What should you cast at the smallies? One word: poppers. Nuff said…