Hit Or Miss Rain


A thunderhead blossoms over Thunderhead Mountain in the distance

They’re called “hit or miss” thunderstorms and showers for a reason. For the past week we’ve seen storms pop up all across East Tennessee and the Smoky Mountains, but we’ve largely missed most of them. That’s really nice when you’re in a drift boat and the alternative to sprinkles and thunder is crackling lightning overhead and a heavy downpour. On the other hand, when some of your trout streams are getting dry you’d like to see some of that rain.

The Smokies have seen plenty of rain over the last week. It just depends on where in the Smokies. The North Carolina side of the park has received the bulk of the rain. In fact, the photo above taken from R&R Fly Fishing World Headquarters in Townsend essentially shows Hazel Creek getting rained on while the West and Middle Prongs of Little River just get missed.

Abrams Creek has seen some rain along with the West Prong of the Little Pigeon, Big Creek, Cataloochee, Deep Creek, Forney Creek, Oconaluftee and Noland Creek. Heck even rivers down in Nantahala and Cherokee National Forests are getting some wet weather. That pretty much sums up most of the watersheds in the area with one glaring exception: Little River.

Little River is starting to look pretty low, especially along the road, but we’re not worried yet. There’s more rain and storms in the forecast for this week as well so it can’t get overlooked for very long.

In the big picture things have been abnormally dry in East Tennessee even if it doesn’t qualify as drought conditions. Anyone who fishes the tailwaters will notice the flows have been exceptionally friendly to waders. The minority of folks with drift boats are looking for the rare time when they can float the South Holston and Clinch which are pretty boney this year.

Expect that trend to continue. The water is coming out of the dam very cold so that’s not a concern, but as the summer progresses you may see more Didymo as it really flourishes in low flows.

Heading out for a couple of days in the backcountry of the NC Smokies and should have plenty of pics to share then.