Flows are looking good on our local tailwaters in the valley. The Clinch and Holston alike have been offering great wading opportunities both during the week and on the weekends as well. Afternoon generation is allowing the boating angler to get their piece of the pie. The low water schedules on the Clinch mean tricky fishing to weary trout holding in very shallow water. Black caddis are hatching off, especially in the early mornings.
Midge activity has not been great, but we are seeing olive, cream, and black ones in small sizes throughout the day. Size #20 is a safer bet right now to trick fish on midges. With very low clear water, 6x fluorocarbon tippet is an absolute must. I got out for a wade guide trip on Tuesday and we got some action on a soft hackle trailed behind midge patterns. Tie a long section of light tippet to the bend of your first fly, let your traditional dead drift transition into a swing, and be ready for an aggressive hook set followed by a couple of strips. Swinging flies often times means that fish eat directly downstream of the angler, if you find yourself in this situation, move quickly to one side to get a better angle on the fish and remember to keep lots of tension.
Water on the Holston is still running cold. Wading anglers are catching some nice fish at Nance’s Ferry and those able to float have large low water windows to do so. This likely will not last much longer, but for the time being, fishing has been great. Caddis in olive and tan are both hatching. Tan caddis patterns in a #14-16 and olive in #16-18 will likely serve you well. Lately we have been throwing Henryville Specials and Hot Creek Caddis along with X-Caddis patterns and finding success. Nymphing with a pheasant tail or fishing small streamers in the heat of the day is another way to draw up some big fish from the depths. Keep an eye on water temps when you’re out there, and make sure the water is still cold, we are looking at a short window left to safely fish trout.
A great way to escape the summer heat is to head up to the higher elevation streams of the GSMNP in search of Southern Appalachian Brook trout. We love these fish for their impressive colors and willingness to attack most flies. A yellow never sink caddis with a green weenie dropper can be a deadly combination to catch our local native trout species! Flows and temps suggest that the bite on upper elevation streams is probably a better bet than the lower sections. If you need suggestions on which areas are a good place to target, we are happy to give you some streams to explore in the park.