Summer’s Last

Labor Day weekend is only a few days away. We just came out of a refreshing week of mild weather to be greeted with a week of sunny weather in the range of 90 degrees. Just yesterday I rowed the drift boat down the river on an overcast day barely 80 degrees and it was great. The prospect of doing it again in a few days under beating sun and temps over 90 are a kick in the crotch, but the blow will be lessened knowing it’s likely the last scorcher behind the oars in 2015.

Wendy Williams Smallmouth

One of many eager smallmouth that took a popping bug yesterday

Streams in the Smokies are very low right now and could absolutely use some water. We were watching the remnants of tropical storm Erika, but it looks like that moisture will stay primarily to the south and east, although there are some thunderstorms forecast this week. It is the Smokies after all.

Hazel Creek Rainbow In the Water

Expect trout to be extra skittish in skinny water right now

While it always seems folks want to know what fly to use, this week the main thing is to be sneaky. Even the best fly will be worthless after the fish blew out before your cast. The best advice is to stay out of the water all together and be sure you have a good position to make your cast. Chances are you’ll only get one shot so make it a good one. Then move on to the next likely spot.

Creek Smallmouth Bass

A typical smallmouth bass from an East Tennesse stream

Fly fishing for smallmouth is still a top option and popper fishing is about at its peak. Yesterday was superb on the Holston, although generation from Cherokee Dam isn’t doing any fishermen any favors until the weekend. There are still plenty of freestoners with smallies to fish though. Since the trout will be tough this week you might consider bass on lower Tellico River, the Pigeon River, Nolichucky or just about anything with running water on the Cumberland Plateau. The bass are almost never picky, although you should give them some credit for not wanting to get caught and use some stealth.