Despite the persistent heat and lack of rain here in East Tennessee, the fishing has remained pretty solid straight through August and September. Most of the reservoirs in the TVA system failed to achieve full summer pool this year and as a result we are actually getting some wadeable flows on most of the area tailwaters. Norris Dam’s schedule has seen zero generation during the morning and early afternoon providing lots of opportunities. There are a lot of reports trickling into the shop with reports of caddis on the clinch with some claiming that they are not the typical black caddis we’ve grown to associate with hours of frustration on that river. I haven’t personally made it on to the water to confirm whether or not it’s the infamous black caddis or something all together different, either way, it means the fish are active. Most anglers are having success with midges and I’d expect that to be the case through the remainder of the week.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that Cherokee Reservoir has officially exhausted its coldwater reserve and water temperatures are now well into the danger zone for trout and will remain that way until late October when surface temperatures finally begin to bring the water temperatures down. Having said that, we are imploring all anglers to lay off the trout in the upper reaches of the Holston for the next 6 weeks or so until the temperature issue resolves itself. While the fish you catch may actively swim off the likelihood of it surviving are extremely low. The middle and lower portions of the Holston are still fishing very well for small mouth bass and it has been a phenomenal year for top water fishing for small mouth. I haven’t fished a streamer with clients the entire summer and I can’t recall a time I’ve been able to make a statement like that. If you haven’t tried top water flies for small mouth bass then you don’t know what you’re missing.
Like the Holston, the mountains are suffering from the current dry conditions with low flows, warm water, and skittish fish. Weather forecasts don’t show much relief in sight though a few are predicting some rain for the weekend. I’m hoping they’re right not only because we desperately need the rain but also because it may get me out of soccer duty!
Summer has hit its end, or at least it has if you have little ones like I do who are now safely back at school. That doesn't mean its over for everyone though. Young Brett (pictured) is down in Florida visiting his folks while doing a little fishing and John, we aren't even sure where John is now...probably lost on some back road in West Yellowstone. Reports from his western trip have been thin since he dunked his phone in the river but from what I understand both Brett and John are due back in town by the middle of next week.
If you've been paying attention to generation schedules then you've noticed that TVA has been pushing a lot of water through most of our dams of late. August is the beginning of the draw down period and despite most reservoirs not having achieved full pool this summer; TVA has begun this process in earnest. As of last week, there were complications with the generators on Norris Dam and TVA was sluicing about 6,400 cfs around the clock. By most accounts, if you got out on that flow the fishing was still pretty darn good. As of this week, however, they've got at least one generator back online and they're now sluicing and generating simultaneously. I mention this because if you go and look at their website it looks as if there might be some wadable periods in the morning on Clinch. Unfortunately, that's not the case. There are some decent flows for boating anglers in there and so it is probably worth a poke if you've got the time.
The Holston has likewise been receiving plenty of water through it with TVA turning on the taps mid-morning and leaving them on all day into the night. There is a little bit of wading available early in the morning for trout up top, however, water temperatures are beginning to get into that dangerous zone and we don't recommend pressuring the trout at this point in time for the foreseeable future. To that end, we typically suspend our guide trips for trout on the Holston during this period of the year until we start to get the cool weather of Autumn. It's what's best for the trout and we hope that you all can understand why that's important. Unfortunately, some guides don't.
The good news is that fishing for small mouth bass on the tailwaters, both the Holston and the French Broad is a great option. Even with TVA pulling water on Douglas and Cherokee, there are spots in both rivers with low water that is perfect for fly fishing for small mouth. If you haven't given this a try yet you absolutely should do it, it is a blast!
Another great option is fishing for whites and hybrids on the area lakes. The shad are schooled up on most of our lowland lakes and the game fish are absolutely destroying them in the early morning and late evenings. I was headed out to Maryville yesterday and looked down from the Pellissippi bridge and noticed a big school of hybrids busting on the surface. That is some hot and fast fun on a fly rod and doesn't require a ton of time.
As per usual this time of year the Mountains are suffering from low flows, no flows, or high water depending on what drainage you are on. With temperatures as high as they are your best bet is to absolutely get up to the upper elevations and try and find some cooler water. The fish shouldn't be too picky with your fly selection and you might just find yourself a break from the Valley's temperatures.
A recurring mantra on any of my boasts is that “it only takes one fish” to turn the day around. The theme of this year’s 3 Rivers Carp Cup could be the same since it only took one fish to secure the Carp King label for Richard Birmingham in what was challenging conditions. The morning of July 30th dawned promisingly enough and check-in went smoothly enough despite a creeping squall line moving from east to west across the state. While some anglers noted the changing atmospheric conditions and checked their phones, many did not and were caught out in a significant down pour for about twenty to thirty minutes. Fortunately, the weather was through and gone and partly cloudy skies dominated the remainder of the day.
Anglers who opted to head west out of Knoxville and fish the portion of the Tennessee River now known as Fort Loudon Lake encountered turbid water and rough conditions from pleasure boaters simply out for a good time. While most reported seeing a lot of fish it was usually in the form of a plume of silt as the fish scurried out from underneath the bow of the boat. All the winners in this year’s tournament made the right judgment call and headed east towards either the upper Holston or French Broad Rivers where there was clear water in abundance and apparently carp as well.
The team winners this year was team “Carp Whisperers” comprised of Paul Brooks and William Murphy (2015 Carp King!). The landed 6 total carp on the bottom section of the French Broad River with their top 5 scoring a total of 122 inches. The Individual winner in the Kayak Division was Jeremy Edge out of Asheville, North Carolina. Jeremy, who won the 2014 Individual Division, fished the upper portion of the French Broad River below Douglas Dam and landed 5 fish which totaled 122” as well. This year’s 2016 3 Rivers Carp King, Richard Birmingham, fished the middle section of the Holston tailwater (I believe) and landed only one fish on the day but it was the one fish he needed, a 30” brute that was long enough to give Richard the top billing!
As always, 3 Rivers Angler wants to thank all of our sponsors with all of their generous support of Legacy Parks and the 3 Rivers Carp Cup. Highland Brewing Company generously wet our whistles at the Meet & Greet Friday night and Knoxville’s own Sweet P’s BBQ provided the table fare. Many thanks to both the Staff at the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center and for putting up with our mess for the evening and day and of course thank you to all of the many sponsors who generously donated prizes and items for gift bags and winners. If you missed this year’s adventures be sure to mark your calendar for the 2017 3 Rivers Carp Cup on July 27th, 2017!
The Fourth of July means fireworks, fun, and big savings this year. Celebrate the 4th with big savings at 3 Rivers Angler on all fly lines, apparel, packs, bags, waders, and boots. Take a whopping 20% off during the week of July 2nd through July 9th.
Steve Dally of Dally's Ozark Fly Fisher is bringing his much ballyhooed Streamer Lovefest on the road and he's making a stop at 3 Rivers Angler on Saturday, July 9th. The Lovefest kicks off at 10 AM with a overview of the White River System in Arkansas' famed Ozark Mountains. If you haven't fished the White, or the Little Red or Norfolk for that matter, you don't know what you've been missing out on!
Following the overview, Steve is going to lay some serious education on us with a presentation on Streamer Tactics for Southern Tailwaters. Whether you're a streamer junkie or simply steamer-curious, Steve is the man with the plan to fill you in on sink rates on fly lines, streamer rods, the best flies, and simply effective streamer tactics. One thing is for certain, if the tactics work on the White, they're going to work right her in East Tennessee on the Clinch and Holston as well. We'll wrap up the morning session with a viewing of Chasing the Donkey.
In the afternoon Steve is going to get on the vise for a few hours demonstrating how to tie meaty streamers that work. If you're interested in upping your streamer tying game, this is the demonstration you'll want see. In addition to learning general tying tips like how to manipulate streamer weight to get different actions, Steve will be tying three of his proven patterns: the Tiny Dancer, the Big Butt Baitfish, and the Twerking Minnow.
There will be plenty of time to pick Steve's brain, tell a tale, and just avoid the July heat. Save the date and come on down to 3 Rivers Angler for this summertime extravaganza!
Page 3 of 29