A Gray, Damp Week On the Water

It’s been a damp week out there, and that’s not a bad thing. As we always remind people, “Fish like water!”

Underwater brook trout

A native brook trout high up in the Smokies

Unfortunately it’s been in short supply recently in East Tennessee so it’s nice to start seeing some rain. Charity and I were talking about it this morning that while we’ve not been particularly worried it has been tougher than usual to sneak up on fish in many locations, especially the larger runs and pools on the larger streams. For the past couple of weeks our thoughts on the dry weather have something like “The water’s not THAT low,” but that also comes with the admission that our idea of low water has been shaped by the all time record low water we saw in 2007-08. That was lower than anything in our lifetime, or anyone else’s for that matter, so that’s probably not a good standard to use when it comes to saying whether or not the water is low.

We typically fish pocket water and smaller streams in the summer anyway, but we’ve been making sure to stick to that with a religious fervor lately. You just can’t get a fly on fish in slow, still water in the Smokies and expect much success.

The rain we’ve seen will certainly help water levels in Norris and Cherokee Lakes, but honestly it’s pretty late for it to amount to much. Those watersheds have been so dry that most of the rainfall will be absorbed with very little run off. Still, we have more showers in the forecast and every bit helps.

A typical humid, overcast day on an East Tennessee tailwater

A typical humid, overcast day on an East Tennessee tailwater

These humid, overcast days with intermittent rain mean foggy conditions on the tailwaters. Occasionally you even need a jacket with the cold water influencing air temperatures on the river without any sunshine to warm things up.