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.
A brief respite from the high water on the Clinch will be observed on Wednesday 5/17 as TVA shuts off the taps in order to accommodate the fine men and women of the Project Healing Waters Knoxville Chapter. Per the recreational schedule posted on TVA’s website, flows are predicted to be held to minimum until 3 pm. If ever there was a day to play hooky from work this is it!
If you didn’t have the chance to get out on the Clinch over the weekend it was nothing short of fantastic. The high water over the past two weeks has scoured the bottom and the river is in terrific shape. The fish, not surprisingly, were eager to eat and while there were plenty of sulfurs to be seen there were few reports of fish being keyed in on them. My boat had decent luck on grey zebra midges and the streamer bite was extremely strong.
Get out and play!
After two weeks of spilling, TVA has closed the spill gates at Norris Dam. With the lake level fast approaching 1020, or summer pool, it is once again time to sharpen your hooks! Predicted flows on Friday are 6218 cfs and flows should continue to drop. In order to get the lake level down just a bit further TVA is still sluicing the dam and likely will continue to do so until we meet that magic number of 1020. With only one generator on line the "best case" scenario for the coming weeks may be a round the clock one generator flow. While this is not much solace for the wading angler it is the ideal situation for those with boats. Recreational flows commence on the 27th of May. This is good news for everyone!
TVA backed off on flows on the Holston yesterday and all reports are that it is in great shape and fishing well. Hopefully they’ll give us some fishable flows over the weekend!