Great Fishing All Around

After last week’s well above average temperatures you could say things have normalized via the law of averages. Yesterday was the first day of spring and late in the afternoon many roads inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park were closed due to snow and ice. We saw some sleet and snow flakes mixed with rain here in Townsend, but the ground was far too warm for anything to stick here. It’s bright and sunny now and temperatures are forecast to be in the 60’s and low 70’s this week, so don’t hesitate to get out on the water.

An angler using Tenkara to cast to native brook trout in the Smokies

An angler using Tenkara to cast to native brook trout in the Smokies

We’ve been working a variety of locations and even more are on the queue as the tailwaters are now in play. Float trips are on the calendar this week and we’ll surely have some photos to post soon. So far all of our guided trips have been in the Smokies. We’re not seeing quite so many bugs as we often do at this time of year, but the trout have been rising well regardless.

The brook trout have been happy!

The brook trout have been happy!

We’ve been starting our days on the stream fishing nymphs, but the fish have been slow to move until late in the morning and even then most of the fish take the dry fly over a nymph. One of our favorite tactics to prospect for fish is to employ a dropper rig with a #12 Haystack, Parachute Adams or Thunderhead with a #14 or #16 Zelon Nymph, Pheasant Tail Nymph, or Pat’s Nymph about 24″ below. We are absolutely getting some fish on the nymph, at least enough to warrant the technique, but it seems like once the fish are ready to eat they’d just as soon rise to the surface.

And who can be upset with that!

Colorful Smoky Mountain brown trout in ultra clear water

Water levels are a little on the low side for late March, but theres’ no reason for alarm as long range forecasts aren’t suggesting a drought pattern. We’ve also had a pretty wet winter so this is likely a short correction. This is also a good trend for our tailwaters.

We’ve just seen our first week of fishable conditions on the Clinch and Holston Rivers. The generation schedules last week bounced around a bit but it looks like they’re getting more reliable and consistent this week. It’s still a bit early to see sulphurs, but Zebra Midges are always a good bit and #16-18 Pheasant Tails are always a top pick. We’ll keep you posted!

A solid rainbow trout prospects for nymphs in the current

A solid rainbow trout prospects for nymphs in the current