November Means Cool Weather and Brown Trout in the Smokies

November has arrived and we’ve had a pretty dramatic cool down here in the Smokies. There’s been plenty of snow along the crest of the mountains and warmer afternoons have been enough to melt some of it. That means COLD water, which in turn means the fishing has slowed down a little bit.

Considering the fishing was on fire a little more than a week ago it’s taken a little bit of getting used to. The fish are still rising in the afternoons if you know where to look and you can certainly pick up some fish on nymphs, but you have to work a bit harder for it now.

A pair of brown trout

Brown trout are now spawning. The slight rise in water levels seemed to knock them out of their rhythm for a day or two, but the observant angler can get a good look some very nice fish like these. You can be sure they’re spawning when paired up and over pea gravel, but you may also find them feeding in slower runs as well.

Don’t feel like you have to stalk the big ones. There are still plenty of smaller streams where you can now find plenty of privacy. In fact, you’ll likely find that the fish in these smaller waters will come to your fly a little quicker.

Fall stream

If tailwaters are more your speed you’ll have to wait just a little bit longer. Looks like the Clinch, South Holston, and Hiwassee will be prime for wading in a couple more weeks so long as we don’t get an major rains to fill the reservoirs.


Fly Fishing with Streamers - Advice from the Guides



  1. thanks again for the Smokies fishing update. I am always amazed at how generous y’all are with your fly fishing tips. A question, when you spot a brown trout or two like that, assuming they are not spawning and you decide to cast to them, how close do you get? Do you have to drop the fly right on their noses? Or will they move? Thanks.

    • John,
      Great questions and truly far more than can be effectively answered in such a short format as our comment section. The short answer is, “It depends.”

      Even though we may be casting over a larger trout, the basics still apply. No one can cast further than the conditions allow and as we always remind our anglers, there is no reason to cast further than you can achieve a good drift.

      We’ll often sight cast to fish like these, but just as often hook them over the course of “working the water”. The best way to catch any fish is to have a mastery of the basic elements.

      Looking forward to getting you out on the water is in a couple of weeks!


  2. That spot looks familiar! Maybe even that guy….