Winter Weather & Fishing Across East Tennessee

Snowy Tremont 1.15

Snowy morning at Tremont

It’s not really news that the streams are cold up in the Smokies. It is January after all even if we’ve seen some mild weather in the Southeast over the past week or so. Plenty of folks will forget that the higher elevations and steep terrain that keeps the stream valleys shaded make the Smokies much cooler than the surrounding region. In fact, while it was sunny and in the mid 50’s we could see snow on the shaded ridgelines of the mountains from our house in Townsend.

Nymphing in the afternoon is best way to get into a fish along with a healthy dose of patience. Water temperatures haven’t been much over 40 degrees. The USGS site on Little River just upstream of Townsend has reported a few occasions near 45, but that was at a relatively low elevation. Most streams in the park have been cooler. Abrams Creek is the usual winter stand out with warmer water and relatively active trout.

LittleRiverBrownTrout1.15

A pretty brown trout from Little River

The tailwater situation has been up and down along with flows. Last week things were really looking up as the Clinch and Holston Rivers both had fishy generation schedules for anglers who could arrive after lunch. Rains over the weekend seem to have motivated TVA to bump generation again but this will likely change again as things rarely stay the same for very long until March when flows get consistent.

The South Holston and Hiwassee seem to have the best combination of flows and timing for anglers right now, but the Clinch could come back around soon.