The weekend fishing forecast remains pegged at the awesome level yet again this weekend. With TVA predicting flows on all of East Tennessee’s tailwaters that will accommodate anglers wanting to wade or boat, you’ve got zero excuse not to take dad out for a fish on his big day. The Clinch will have the normal recreational flow on both days which, amazingly, is actually an increase in water from what they’ve been running throughout the week. There is a smattering of sulfurs on the Clinch with anglers reporting more activity with higher flows. You might do well to call your buddy with a boat if your hoping to get in on any dry fly action. If you are out early on the low water remember your midge box and cycle through the colors until you find one the fish like. Smaller is better on the Clinch at the moment even with respects to your beadhead pheasant tails.
The Holston is currently smorgasbord of bugs with sulfurs and caddis popping off in decent numbers throughout the day. The fish do not appear to be too selective having had to suffer through high water through the better part of the Spring. Any well placed caddis pattern with a good drift should entice a strike. While smaller size 18 caddis seem to be working better there are larger bugs about so don’t fret if you feel the need to tie on a size 14 in order to float a dropper nymph during the slower part of the day; the fish will still oblige. Large size 14 sulfurs are also present so pheasant tails in 14 and 18 are a good bet. My youngest and I got out on the lower stretches of the Holston to chase small mouth last weekend with pretty good results. I felt like the fish were a little skittish on the lower flows so we had better luck drifting tequeely flies rather than ripping big streamers. It still seems a bit too early for top water. Water clarity on the lower end may be an issue with all of the afternoon thunder boomers we are getting so be prepared to fish with stained water if you show up and find that’s the case.
I haven’t personally been out on the French Broad in a bit but Andrew got out last week looking for carp and ended up catching a toad of a small mouth. Per my suggestion above on the Holston small mouth, smaller-buggier flies may be a better method on lower flows when the fish are feeling exposed. I hope to get out and do a little exploring on the Broad this weekend so I’ll update you if I do. Like the Holston, the French Broad may be a little stained given the afternoon rains we’re expecting. My go to method on the French Broad when its running muddy is a good crawfish pattern bumped along the bottom. It’s not the most exciting way to fish but it is extremely effective.
The flows in the mountains continue to be nothing short of perfect and the fishing is still about as good. Anything yellow that floats is just the ticket to get a bite. Water temperatures in the lower elevations are little high at the moment so heading up to the higher elevations may help your success rate. Where ever you and Dad end up have fun and be safe!
Between the weather and generation forecast this is shaping up to be one of the best weekends of fishing we’ve had all spring/summer. At the time of this writing, it looks like we will have wadable and floatable flows on all three of the major tailwaters in the greater Knoxville Area. I’m hesitant to punch this news out too hastily as TVA is prone to changing their predictions on a whim, nonetheless, the predicted outflow for Cherokee Dam tomorrow is 5562 cfs and on Saturday it is an even 5000. While it remains to be seen what that actually means, it does give us a glimmer of hope with respect to some low water to get out and fish.
Likewise, Norris is going to be cutting back on its generation starting tomorrow as well. The average predicted outflow on Friday is 2,895 cfs and Saturday its 2217 cfs. We can assume that Saturday and Sunday is the normal recreational flow but we may also actually get a wadable flow on Friday as well. While I was out of town last weekend, I did get some credible reports from anglers that actually caught fish on dry flies on the Clinch. Up till now the most we’ve seen in terms of sulfurs have been sporadic hatches throughout the day. At least two people mentioned increased bug activity over the last weekend so let’s hope that’s a trend that is on the up-tick.
Douglas Dam has been generating a typical summer split schedule throughout the week with the generators off all night and into the early afternoon and then on through the afternoon and evening. That trend is predicted to continue over the weekend and it is just what the French Broad needs in order to get the water temperatures to climb just a bit. I’ve yet to have a stellar day small mouth fishing on the river this spring probably due to high water and cold temperatures. A few days of lower flows and hotter weather may be just the ticket to get the small mouth active and hungry.
It is dry fly heaven in the mountains at the moment. Flows are as close to perfect as they could be throughout the park with both larger rivers and smaller creeks all having adequate water and good temperatures. There is a plethora of stonefly activity throughout the park and the fish are more than happy to take a well-placed dry fly provided it’s an appropriate shade of yellow. A pocket full of yellow sally imitations and a willingness to scramble around on the rocks should be all it takes to have a ton of fun in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this weekend. Where ever you end up be sure to be safe and have a good time!
For those of you not in the know, Matt and Brett are gone for the summer on a most excellent adventure. The two have been selected to participate in Trout Unlimited's "A Native Odyssey" program during the months of June and July. Matt, Brett, Austin Burrough, Jacob Lacy, and Heather Harkavy will embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey in pursuit of 16 native trout species, all on their public land. With support from the U.S. Forest Service, Costa Sunglasses, Simms Fishing Products, Fishpond, and Three Rivers Angler these students will tell the stories of our native trout, the places they live, and the local economies they fuel.
These students will be chiming in on Trout Unlimited's and Trout Unlimited Costa 5 Rivers' social media accounts to document the adventure. They will fish and explore our public lands around the country, unearthing challenges facing our native trout species. In addition to pursuing each species on fly, they will be interviewing local stakeholders, including ranchers, TU Volunteers, TU and U.S. Forest Service staff. They hope to reveal a diverse set of perspectives on what public lands, native species, and clean water means to each region the students visit.
This week we will be introducing this year's Odyssey participants. Each of these students comes from a unique background, having shaped their conservation viewpoints from their respective fisheries from around the country. Stay tuned to the blog to meet the participants.
To stay up to date with the Odyssey, follow @Troutunlimited, @TUCosta5rivers, @USForestservice, @simmsfishing @Fishpondusa to discover the story of our native trout, public lands, and what you can do at home to keep your lands in public hands and be excellent!
For additional opportunities to get involved with protecting public lands, please visit standup.tu.org.
The rains have finally seemed to slow a bit, or at the very least they have fallen into a more predictable pattern. Most if not all of TVA’s reservoirs are well above summer pool and as a result most have been sluicing this week. As of now, TVA is predicting the recreational flow on the Clinch on Saturday and hopefully Sunday. As many of you are well aware, this could change if there is a hint of another big system headed our way. I was on the Clinch over the holiday weekend with mixed results. With the generators on most anglers were struggling to find a pattern the fish were truly interested in eating. While there were a few sporadic sulfurs hatching there weren’t enough to get the fish interested in larger nymphs. I spoke with a friend who pumped the stomach of one of the trout he caught and he said it was full of black flies. If I was headed to the Clinch this weekend I’d twist up a bunch of smaller midge patterns in black and grey. Alternatively, if you are inclined, the streamer bite has been pretty good even on the higher flows.
Unfortunately it doesn’t look like we will be getting any type of fishable flows on the Holston any time soon. Cherokee is several feet above summer pool but that is the least of the problems on the Holston system. South Holston Lake is well above summer pool and as a result South Holston Dam is sluicing and generating full bore. Because Boone Dam is out of commission there isn’t any additional holding capacity (or much) in between Bristol and Cherokee Lake so TVA has no choice but to run all of the dams on full bore around the clock.
While the French Broad has been in a similar predicament of late it looks like TVA will back off on the 24 hour generation starting today. With the generators off during the better part of the night there will be lower water flows on the downstream portion of the tailwater starting today and this trend appears to improve through the weekend.
The real bright spot in this report remains the mountains. While flows are slightly higher than normal at present the streams in the Park are fishing extremely well. If I were headed up there I’d be throwing a dry dropper with a Never-sink Caddis for the dry and something like a Prince Nymph or a Quasimodo Pheasant Tail as a dropper. While there is a little bit of rain in the forecast for the weekend it is mostly just scattered thunderstorms. With school out and the summer officially here it is time to get out on the water and enjoy the beautiful place we live!
At long last we have a break from high flows predicted for the weekend! TVA has published the predicted outflows on both the Holston and Clinch for Saturday 5/20 and both look favorable for both wading and floating opportunities. Saturday’s predicted outflow for the Clinch is 2,788cfs which looks suspiciously like a standard recreational flow. In the event you missed it, the Clinch was off yesterday from 7am to 3pm and the fishing was nothing short of fantastic. There were enough sulfurs on the water to have the fish looking up and the beadhead bite was strong (size 16 Quasimodo) fished underneath a dry (approximately 8 inches) or an indicator. Once the sulfurs slowed a bit the fish were more than happy to eat midges (size 18 black or grey) and the bite remained pretty consistent throughout the low water.
Likewise, the predicted outflow on the Holston on Saturday is 3,460cfs. While it is hard to say precisely what this will actually look like in terms of generation I would wager a guess that it will be minimum flows through the morning and into the early afternoon with a 2 generators thereafter. With the Holston running high for the better part of the last few weeks the trout and small mouth should be more than eager to get their feed bags on.
From all accounts the French Broad, which has had a more normal schedule relative to the other tailwaters in the Valley, is still fishing pretty well on the lower end for both skipjack shad and small mouth. Like the other rivers, TVA is going to back off on the generation starting Saturday so this should improve what is already a pretty solid bite.
Throughout the high water in the Valley the mountains have remained consistent and predictable and the fishing is nothing short of fantastic. Fish are all looking up and the dry fly bite is nothing short of fantastic! If you’re headed that way make sure to pack plenty of yellow sally’s or neversink caddis (yellow) and hold on. No matter where you end up this weekend be safe and have a great time.