Plenty of Options for Fly Fishing Around East Tennessee

Early spring rainbow trout on the Clinch

Early spring rainbow trout on the Clinch

The mountain streams have been fishing well for the past couple of weeks and after a long hiatus it looks like our tailwater rivers should start becoming consistent as well. Norris Dam has been spilling from Norris Dam for a while and even as there were some fishable moments on the Holston River, they were almost impossible to predict more than 18 hours in advance. Fortunately it looks as if that should change.

Fishing in the mountain streams continues to get better. Nymphs have done far better than dry flies even as that’s been somewhat frustrating for us. This was the case last spring and as much as we love the dry fly fishing, we also do whatever it takes for folks to catch fish. Conditions will always vary from one stream to the next, but we saw that trend over several streams last week and had the same reports from our most trusted confidants who are also on the water.

A wild Smoky Mountain Brown Trout caught on a Beadhead Flashback Pheasant Tail Nymph

A wild Smoky Mountain Brown Trout caught on a Beadhead Flashback Pheasant Tail Nymph

Haystacks, Parachute Quill Gordons, and Parachute Adams have been our top dry flies and will remain so for the next couple of weeks. Don’t neglect Mr Brownstone or Stimulators either as the Early Brown Stoneflies are out and laying eggs too. The dry fly activity really kicks into gear in the afternoon but nymphing has been quite reliable in the mornings with a wide range of patterns. We’ve had success with Pat’s Nymph, Beadhead Pheasant Tail, Flashback BH Pheasant Tail, Beadhead Tellico, and Copper John.

Pair up bushy, high floating dry flies like a #12-14 Thunderhead with a #16 beadhead late in the morning or early afternoon to do some experimentation. You’ll have a better idea of when the fish are starting to look up while still hedging your bets with a nymph.

Small nymphs will be the only way to go over on the tailwaters. The all too necessary Zebra Midge will be in demand along with #16-18 Pheasant Tails. Feel free to tinker with sipping trout with tiny dries, but we usually just go straight to the small sub-surface patterns that the fish always prefer even if it doesn’t feel as cool. Here’s a short video we did a couple seasons ago that will give you a quick primer or refresher on fish small midges to risers.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/vGYTdTxZQa0[/youtube]