Fly Fishing report, June 9

Here it is June already! We’ve been locked into our busiest season of guiding ever, which explains the extreme lack of posting on the fishing reports. We’ll try to make up for it here since we’ve been all over the place in the past month.

First of all let’s consider the severe drought we’re in here in East Tennessee and the Smokies and the implications it’s had on fishing. Water levels are at historic lows for the spring and early summer. These levels are not at all time lows, but records for the time of year.

This has made fishing on the large streams tougher than we’re accustomed to, but NOT impossible as the photos below will show. We’ve relied more on nymphs in swift runs. This has proven to be highly effective as Charity has had several anglers hook and land some extremely nice fish on Little River and the Oconaluftee. Pictured here is Nat Ackerman with a nice rainbow and LaDawn Ostman with a 15″ Little River brown trout. Both anglers even got the Smoky Mountain grand slam and landed all 3 trout species in the same day.

Nat Ackerman with a nice trout LaDawn Ostoman

Brook trout fishing has been superb! Several of our favorite brookie streams have been exceptionally low and we’ve been working some alternate water, and quite successfully. Low water conditions aren’t as evident in these rough and tumble streams and brookies are always eager to meet a good drift.

Fly fishing for trout in Tennessee

Tailwater floats on the Holston River have been excellent as well. Oddly enough, the drought will probably be a good thing for the Holston. Dry conditions will keep generation to a relatively low amount. This will keep an abundant supply of cold water in Cherokee Lake at good levels which should last through the hot weather. Wet years can be hard on the Holston as years of high generation will deplete the cold water at the bottom of the lake.

Fly fishing

Dry years see better water temperatures so we’re expecting to see plenty of fish hold over. This is exciting since we’ve caught a number of brown trout around 12″ which should grow nicely by next year. We’ve landed plenty of rainbows this year with several up to 18″ and even one 21″ back in the spring. Hatches have not been up to par this year so dry fly fishing opportunities have been limited, but nymph fishing has kept the action hot. We’re still encountering some rising fish though. Most days see experienced anglers bring as many as 20-30 trout to the boat.