August in East Tennessee

The past few days have seen the weather in a cloudy, muggy funk. While there have been some downpours, there has been plenty of dry time to get out. Unfortunately the unsettled weather (and flows) have had the bugs and fish waiting for more consistency. The rain has seen stream flows up and down and TVA’s latest flow regime is doing the same on the tailwaters. Here’s a time lapse of a common scene here in Townsend over the past few days.


The graph below shows how flows have been erratic lately, but still very fishable. In fact, if we had to choose between this and consistent but low and hot we’d take this every time. Remember, you can check flows on several streams around the Smokies on our website here.

Water Graph Aug2014

So far it’s been a pretty typical August here in the Smokies and East Tennessee. Up in the mountains the fishing is pretty good although you won’t see much in the way of hatches. You’ll likely see some mating swarms of Trico mayflies mid morning, but that’s not really anything that gets the fish super excited in the Southern Appalachians. Terrestrials are the best dry flies on sunny days and the weather forecast is calling for more of that to arrive midweek.

Flows on the tailwaters have increased as TVA has started to draw the reservoirs down for fall and winter. The biggest changes have come in the Holston River system where the South Holston was essentially a wader’s river most of the summer but has now become the domain of the drift boat. Flows on the Holston below Cherokee Dam have really jumped up there and trout fishing there is out of play now unless flows subside from the current regime.

There are some fishable flows for smallmouth on the Holston for anglers who know how to time the rise and fall of the water, but don’t expect much. Water temperatures on the lower river have around 80 degrees most of the summer but the increased flows have dropped them into the mid 50’s. If that doesn’t put the bass down I don’t know what will. On the other hand, even if flows aren’t necessarily fishable up closer to the dam you know the trout are loving those water temps in August.

Flows haven’t really changed at all on the Clinch. There’s still plenty of time to wade and anyone who wants to huck streamers in the afternoon and evening will have the big water to do it. Based on lake levels and inflows we’re still holding out hope that there will be good flows on the Clinch this fall. You never know what fall will bring from one year to the next on the Clinch, but when flows are good the fishing can be excellent.