If your could see out the window here at R&R Fly Fishing world headquarters in Townsend, Tennessee you’d think I was crazy to say spring is here. Snow is falling and there is a dusting on the trees. That doesn’t tell the whole story, though as it’s been in the 50’s and 60’s the past few days with bugs hatching in the Smokies and trout rising to dry flies. For those of us who live in the Smokies this is what spring looks like. Warm and sunny one day and cold and wet the next.
The hatches aren’t out hand and the water has been a bit high, but if you know what to look for and how to get a good drift you can absolutely find trout to rise to a dry fly. We’ve seen Early Brown Stoneflies, Quill Gordons, and Blue Quills. So far the hatches haven’t been everywhere, but more concentrated in some pools and run. This will change as the days go by and there will be more bugs everywhere.
Right now the mayfly imitations should work better than the stoneflies. The stonefly nymphs migrate along the bottom and crawl out of the stream to hatch. The are certainly hatching if you see them flying upwards toward the trees but they haven’t been where many trout could eat them. Watch for them to dive bomb the water laying eggs in the coming weeks. This is when the trout will start to see them and eat them more regularly. We like a Mr Brownstone when that time comes.
Yes, the fishing is pretty good in the Smokies and should only get better but the situation on our local tailwaters is pretty grim. Reservoir levels have been high all winter and wet weather has kept them that way. TVA has been in full flood mitigation mode which means that the dams have been pushing that water on down the system. We should be about two weeks away from lower flows, but in the mean time the Smokies are probably the only game in town, especially if you don’t have a means of floating.
But take this as an opportunity to get out and enjoy a stream. The fish aren’t as big but they are far more likely to rise to dry flies, and #12’s at that. The surroundings are spectacular and you can’t go wrong just being out on the river with the sun shining on your face.
Catch you on the river!