Fall Fly Fishing Has Arrived in East Tennessee and the Smokies

We’re still getting our feet back under us after an incredible trip to the Henry’s Fork and Yellowstone National Park. We had beautiful weather and phenomenal fishing. More on that later, but we’re excited to be back home just in time for autumn, our favorite time of year on the water.

Rising Rainbow Fall Color

Rising trout, the best part about fall in the Smokies

It seems that the stars are lining up for a great fall season here in the Smoky Mountains and East Tennessee. After a very dry and hot late summer we’re seeing significant rainfall along with mild temperatures in the forecast. Streams in the Smokies have been pretty low for a number of weeks, but a quick check of stream levels shows that things have really turned around.

Tailwater flows aren’t much more predictable than they ever are in the autumn, but the dry weather has allowed TVA to drop reservoir levels well ahead of schedule and there has been some very good flows over the past two weeks. We’re hoping this continues as autumn on the Clinch can be terrific if the flows are good.

Clinch River

Fall float on the Clinch

Dry fly fishing is often at its peak during October and into the first half of November in the Smokies. Expect a few fish to cooperate in the morning but action always picks up around noon and continues into the afternoon. Midges, Blue Wing Olives, and some micro caddis will be the main fare for mountain trout but don’t despair. A #16 dry fly will often entice opportunistic fish. We generally prefer a #18 Parachute BWO or Parachute Adams as they bridge the gap best between visibility and small enough the fish don’t hesitate.

A Blue Wing Olive, about size #18

A Blue Wing Olive, about size #18