It’s been a long time with only a few windows to get on the big rivers in East Tennessee, but this weekend things are going to change. TVA’s predicted flows for area trout rivers show that there will be wadeable flows on most rivers. The Clinch, Holston, South Holston, and Watauga will have the most fisherman friendly levels that we’ve seen in months.
If you’re down south and the Hiwassee at Reliance is your home water… Well, sorry; you’ll still need a boat, but you should be able to find somewhere to fish on the Elk River or down south in Georgia on the Toccoa.
If you’re still reading and aren’t jumping up and down while digging your waders out of the closet this would be a good time to take a breath and consider the reality of the situation. The Clinch has been running high for quite a while and even as TVA has tempered the flow somewhat, the fish may be a little freaked out by the low water. We’re not telling you to stay home, just don’t expect the fish to be jumping into your waders.
Expect the usual winter scene of small Pheasant Tail Nymphs and Zebra Midges. Gloomy weather could bring out BWO’s on the South Holston. I’m trying to check my enthusiasm, but that’s an honest to God possibility.
If the mountain streams are more your style you should expect the deep nymphing scene. Snow is starting to melt today and should only be around in those spots that never see the sunshine in winter. Unfortunately that’s about 30% of the water in the Smokies. Don’t expect to slaughter fish, but they should be catchable by Saturday. Hope for water temps better than 40, but be comforted by the knowledge that pools covered with ice this morning will be free flowing.
Now go! Tie those flies and round up your wading boots before the weekend!