Spring Fishing Starts Now

It was an absolutely beautiful weekend here in the Smoky Mountains. In spite of warm weather the streams are still a little on the cold side, but things are certainly moving in the right direction. While there have been some insect hatches on the streams we have yet to see the best of the season. For the most part we’re seeing a short burst of bugs around lunch time with sporadic moments here and there through the afternoon.

Underwater Rainbow Trout

So far nymphing has been the best way to get a hook up, but just like you we’re ready for some dry fly fishing. After a morning of nymphing we decided to split the difference yesterday. I tied on a #12 Thunderhead for Seth Judd and trailed a #16 Zelon Nymph off of that. The Thunderhead certainly drew plenty of attention but the nymph received more strikes.

A little while later I set up Sally Judd with a #12 Haystack and a Pat’s Nymph dropper with similar results. A few fish were on the dry but there was at least as many that took a swat at the nymph.

This solid Smoky Mountain rainbow took a #12 Thunderhead

This solid Smoky Mountain rainbow took a #12 Thunderhead

Sally Judd took this great pic of Seth working a beautiful run of water.

Sally Judd took this great pic of Seth working a beautiful run of water.

Changing gears a little bit, the tailwater scene is set to take off. TVA is still pushing two generators of water through Norris Dam on the Clinch, but you can be sure that will taper off in a week or less as flows subside and Norris Lake starts to fill for the summer.

The Holston River looks like there are some great flows this week and the Hiwassee should work out better for waders as well. The South Holston and Watauga already have some good flows and those will only get more reliable in the coming days.

Nymphing is the way to go on the tailwaters. It will be a little while before hatches really come on strong. The caddis hatch on the Watauga, Hiwassee, and Holston Rivers aren’t too far off.