Hottest week of the year in Tennessee

Fly fishers will be up against some pretty big obstacles this week in the Smokies and on the tailwaters. Water levels are still exceptionally low in the Smoky Mountains. There are, however, regular afternoon rain showers which are preventing temperatures from rising to critical levels. The best thing to do would be to head for the higher elevations where the heat isn’t so bad and showers are more common. This will put an angler in smaller water but dividends will be paid in aggressive strikes on dry flies.

Tailwaters like the Clinch, South Holston, and Watauga will have cold water temperatures but the weather forecast features oppressive conditions in the low to mid 90’s every day this week. There isn’t much shade on these rivers so the best thing to do would be to fish early or late if generation schedules allow. The Hiwassee has had excellent water temperatures in the 50’s. Previous years have seen the water at or above 70 for much of the day so this a welcome surprise.

Don’t neglect possibilities for smallmouth bass in streams and rivers. Smallies are far more active at this time of year than trout are and they put up as good or better a fight. Some of the best rivers and streams to consider for smallmouth are the Holston River, Pigeon and Little Pigeon Rivers, lower Little River, Cheoah River, Nolichucky River, French Broad, upper Clinch River, Powell River, and Obed River. I’m a sucker for fishing poppers but Woolly Buggers and small Clousers and Muddler Minnows are excellent as well.