A float on the Hiwassee, then back to the Smokies

Yesterday Charity and I trailered the drift boat down to the Hiwassee. It’s been several years since we’ve floated it, which is funny because we used to fish there quite a bit. The busy guide calendars of the past few years have caused us to carelessly overlook one of the prettier rivers in the Southeast.

Charity rows our Hyde drift boat.
Charity holds the boat while I miss hook up several fish.

There were sparse numbers of caddis, Isonychias, and Blue Wing Olives but not enough to keep large numbers of trout rising. We did catch a few fish on dries that we blind cast to likely lies. Most of our time was spent fishing nymphs though. A Copper John and a Pat’s Nymph did equally well for us.

Hiwassee Rainbow Trout
A nice rainbow caught on a #18 Parachute BWO.

Today it was back to the Smokies. I picked up one of our old friends Walt West at a local campground and told him we’d have to go back pretty far to find any reason to fish. Water levels are at historic lows in the Smokies and we’ve had about 2 consecutive weeks of 90+ degree weather. Going high in the mountains assures cool temperatures. Furthermore, the steeper creeks have a little more water. While the flow is still low, deep plunge pools still have to be full before they can spill down into the next one. We had a fair day of fishing but it required a bit more work than usual.

Walt scheduled two days of fishing. While we hiked down the trail exhausted I explained that we could something similar in a different location tomorrow or I could take him to some smallmouth bass water. While the bass rivers will have warmer temperatures, fishing from a boat isn’t near so strenuous. Walt opted for the latter. We’ll keep you posted.