The past week has been the perfect picture of a typical August here in East TN. Hot, humid, and fairly dry. Despite the drier weather, the Clinch is running around the clock to get the reservoir levels down for winter. The Holston below Cherokee is finally offering some windows for good flows to fish for smallies, with tomorrow’s outflow predicted to be in the 4,000s. The French Broad below Douglas has also had favorable flows for wading around Seven Islands.
There will be a normal Rec schedule this weekend on the Clinch. Small black caddis, around a size 20 and 22, are coming off, and the fish are feeding on them. Foam Beetles are still working in some places, and olive, red, and chartreuse midges are sealing the deal as well.
On the Holston and the French Broad, you will need fish early or late for topwater smallie action, and experiment with black or dark poppers and stealth bombers. They may respond to lighter colors as well, but darker poppers and sliders seem to be the ticket in the early and late hours, in addition to when there is cloud cover on the water. This holds true with streamers. Just like trout, a dark fly for a dark day and vice versa. When the sun is out on the water, chartreuse clousers are particularly effective.
The mountains have been fishing well for those who are willing to hike a bit. Yellow dry flies are still working, but nymphs in deeper, riffle water is producing well too. Copper Johns were working well this weekend, but I would try a hare’s ear or flashy pheasant tail as well.
You can find a lot of good fishing on the lakes right now. Wading for carp is always great this time of year if you can find a muddy flat on Google Maps and get to it. You can also fish for smallmouth, bluegill, and other species in creeks around the area, some of which are much closer to home than you would think.
If you have a boat, go out in the evenings and look for schooling threadfin shad. It’s easy to see them moving in large groups and subtly disturbing the surface. You’ll likely see several, so find the ones that have something busting them up on top. Those are likely hybrid bass, but largemouth and smallmouth might be in there as well. Throw a white streamer, strip back as hard as you can, and have fun!