The wait for low flows on our tailwaters appears to be over. It looks like TVA is preparing to back down on generation for the near future as they start filling the reservoirs. TVA is predicting 850 cfs on the Clinch and . The Holston is predicting 350 cfs this weekend. Low flows should allow wading anglers ample opportunity to enjoy our tailwaters this weekend. As always, please check the TVA flows before you go, as they are subject to change.
If you do get out, don’t forget your midge box! We’ve been seeing good midge hatches the last couple trips to the Clinch. The early hatches have been of the larger variety. Think #16’s and #18’s, in olive or brown. After the bigger midges cycle through, the smaller midges have been popping off. Usually we’ll scale down to #20 and #22 olive and brown midges later in the afternoon. If the trout are rising consistently, try tying on a dry fly-emerger rig. A small Griffith’s gnat with a palomino midge or #20 brown or black RS2 tied below is an effective combo. There have also been reports of some sporadic sulphurs coming off on some of the lower sections. It shouldn’t be too much longer before we start seeing better numbers of sulphurs hatching off. Smaller pheasant tails will starting picking up more fish as we settle into normal spring fishing.
The recent cold snap likely has the mountain trout laying low. Double nymph rigs with some weight to get down to the bottom would be the preferred method this weekend. The water temps must rise a considerable amount before the fishing will pick up in the mountains. Little River is reading 38 degrees today! The lower to mid-elevation streams should fish better if you do decide to fish the mountain streams.
Wherever you end up this weekend, enjoy your time on the water and be safe!
Looks like old man winter is waking up for the next couple days. A wintry mix is expected to roll through East Tennessee this weekend with temperatures dipping back into the 30s. Snow fall has been estimated anywhere from 0 to 8 inches in some areas!
This weather will likely put a hold on the Spring-like fishing conditions we have been experiencing over the last couple weeks. The insects and trout in the Smokies have been responding favorably to good flows and water temperatures. The Quill Gordon’s and Blue Quill mayflies have been hatching off sporadically on the days with warmer afternoon temperatures but don’t expect too much bug activity up in the park this week. Your best shot at feeding fish this weekend and next week will be in the afternoons, after the water has a chance to warm up a tad. Better dig out the split shot and heavy nymphs.
The tailwaters have been fishing well when TVA has posted favorable flows. Norris has posted a 0-generation window for most ofafternoon. The Clinch has fished well when the water has been off. Midges have been thick at times and the sulphurs are starting to wake up and get moving. Long leaders, light tippet and small midges of various colors (black, purple, cream, olive) should get it done this weekend. But don’t be afraid to tie on a #18 Split case sulphur or #18 pheasant tail. The Holston is also posting favorable flows for . The Watauga and South Holston have good windows for anglers this weekend as well. As always, please check the TVA website or App for up-to-date information on the generation schedules, as they are subject to change.
While the weather forecast may be grim, anglers have a few more options this weekend than they did last weekend. Regardless of where you decide to go this weekend, have fun and stay safe!
Despite the cold snap East Tennessee has experienced over the last couple days, the weekend weather is looking up. Saturday will be sunny with a high of 57. Sunday is going to be even warmer with the mercury topping out at 64 degrees. However, the morning temperatures will remain chilly with lows in the 30s.
Unfortunately, TVA is opening the floodgates on both the Clinch and Holston Rivers this weekend. They are both pushing 2 generators all day long tomorrow and the predicted flows don’t look much better for Sunday. Although the outlook isn’t great for this weekend, the tailwaters have been loaded with midges the past couple weeks. As soon as the water warms up in the afternoons, the midge activity has exploded. Last weekend on the Clinch we experienced consistent dry fly fishing all afternoon. Check out the video to see some early Spring dry fly action on the Clinch.
Making the drive up to upper East Tennessee could be an option. The South Holston and Watauga have posted favorable flows for anglers this weekend. Those rivers have produced well this winter and will likely get even better as we transition into consistent spring weather patterns.
The quality of fishing in the mountains has coincided with the up and down weather patterns we’ve been seeing recently. These cold mornings generally make for some slow fishing. The water levels in the park are excellent. They most recent report shows Little River flowing at 267 cfs. Don’t expect the fishing to really pick up until the water warms up a bit and the bugs start getting active. The better hatches of Quill Gordon and Blue Quill mayflies have come on the days with warmer afternoon temperatures. A dry dropper setup would be ideal when those water temperatures do climb into the 50s this weekend. Try a size #16 Elk hair caddis for a dry, and a size #16 bead head hare’s ear for your nymph.
With the local tailwaters restricting wading access this weekend, the mountains might be your best fly fishing option. Regardless of what you do this weekend, be safe and enjoy your day on the water!
2017 SOUTHEAST REGIONAL MEETING
APRIL 21-23, 2017
“The mountains are calling….the trout are rising….Come home to Tennessee!”
There are no words that can say more than the phrase above, it is a message that has resonated for generations to residents and visitors alike that visit the Great Smoky Mountains. Now it is your time to come home to Gatlinburg, TN on April 21-23, 2017. We are excited to invite everyone not just from Tennessee but from the entire southeast Trout Unlimited family and beyond to join us as we gather at the Glenstone Lodge. The Lodge is located less than a ¼ mile from the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park at 505 Historic Nature Trail Gatlinburg. TN.
Whether the calendar indicates it or not Spring has arrived in East Tennessee. The forecast is threatening a high of 80 degrees today and that suits me just fine. While temperatures are supposed to drop overnight and into the weekend, the long range forecast is still calling for unseasonal temperatures to remain. Since we haven't had much of a winter to speak of most reservoirs temperatures are way above average for February. Fort Loudon is already in the upper 50's with some of the back coves pushing 60. That means that the white bass will be running before you know it.
As of now TVA is forecasting that Cherokee Dam will be at a minimum flow all day today and tomorrow. With the temps in the upper 70s today the water temps on the river should really spike and we should see some serious bug activity on the Tailwater over the weekend. While the bugs in question are still predominantly midges, if the trend continues I'd expect we will see the caddis hatch begin well before April.
Likewise, it looks like there will be some low water opportunities over the weekend on the Clinch. TVA is forecasting an average outflow of 1500 cfs. While it's impossible to say what that will mean in terms of generation there is a better than average chance there will be some minimum flows thrown into the mix tomorrow. Small pheasant tails on the upper portion of the tailwater have been producing well for most anglers and there are already reports of some sporadic sulfur activity.
The mountains are also ahead of schedule. Many anglers are reporting hatches of both Quill Gordons and Blue Quills with a few caddis thrown into the mix. There's no reason to get up too early to head to the Park as the fishing is definitely better in the latter part of the day once the water has had a chance to warm up a tad. Remember, no matter where you decide to go, be safe and have a great day on the water!
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