The Peak of Fall Fishing is Here!

It’s the last week of October, the weather is cool, the leaves are falling, and the fishing has been great. We’ve already seen some large brown trout moving and that will only improve over the next two weeks as they move into position to spawn.

Weather this week will be warmer than we saw last week and that’s not a bad thing. Warm temperatures will keep the insects moving and in turn, the trout rising. Most people think to spring for the best dry fly fishing of the year, but we’ve always said that no one should ever forget about fall.

Rising Rainbow Fall Color

Fish in the Smokies haven’t been particularly picky when it comes to fly selection and a #14-16 Parachute Adams will catch plenty of fish. Don’t forget, though, that the fish are eating very small bugs like midges and small Blue Wing Olives. October Caddis are fluttering around here and there as well so a #16 ginger Elk Caddis or Orange Stimulator will attract attention as well.


We’re still waiting for good tailwater conditions but TVA is still pushing water at a heavy rate. Norris Lake should be at winter levels by the first of next week so we’re hoping we see some moderate flows while the weather is still nice. Fall can have some superb dry fly and nymph fishing on the Clinch and any time the water is right for stripping streamers there is always potential for a big fish.

We’re watching the TVA flows closely and will keep you posted.


  1. Hello Ian,
    I just thought that I would report what I saw and experienced on the Holston River this Saturday. We cleaned up the lower section of Gilmore Island Saturday morning and fished for a little while to see how things are progressing in the river. I know that many Holston River fans are anxious to get back to normal conditions, but I would caution them that it is still a little too early and the fish could be damaged from fighting them. They are there, but the water temperatures are still quite high. The water felt like “to the hand” that it is still close to 70 degrees. To all who love the river, lets give it 2-3 more weeks at least. Good fishing to everyone when you get out.

    • Thanks for the update, Hugh. This is certainly a time when less generation would help cool the water down as less water in the river cools pretty quickly, especially in the overnight hours. Water in the lake should be cooling down soon, though.

      I will say that water temps hung in much better than I anticipated this year. I feared that total replacement of all the water in the lake due to heavy summer rains would spell doom, but the mild summer and near constant generation never allowed the water to get very warm.

      In fact, I would say the Holston this year had temperatures very similar to Little River around the Sinks; very easy for fish to survive, particularly with the food base they have.