This has been a good week for fishing. In short, we’re starting to enter the spawning time for brown trout. Fish are actively feeding, and they will soon be taking egg patterns. The Holston has been too hot for trout and will likely remain that way for a bit, but the smallmouth fishing has been pretty good on all the tailwaters.
For the Clinch, stick to small and bright midges, and start using an egg pattern somewhere in your double nymph rig. Focus your efforts higher in the river, but we’ve also heard that the lower section was fishing pretty well too.
In the Holston and French Broad, throw bait fish or crayfish patterns with a sinking or intermediate line. Bright colors for bright days, dark colors for dark days. There is still time to go for carp, so get after them while there’s still good conditions to target them.
You might also try to target large freshwater drum. Freshwater drum, closely related to redfish in the salt, commonly get over 10lbs in the warm tailwaters, and up to nearly 40 lbs in reservoirs. They’re tricky to get, but make for fun fishing while targeting smallmouth and carp.
The mountains, on the Tennessee side, are dangerously low and unproductive. To avoid killing fish, we have decided to stop fishing the Little River drainage until rain. The North Carolina side, however, has received rain and is doing well, so venture out a little further over the border and look for higher and cooler water. If you do want to fish the Tennessee side of the mountains, look for low elevation streams that flow out of the park or into Chilhowee lake for smallmouth, redeye, and other warmwater species.
Out on the lakes, start scouting some spots for smallmouth and other bass species as we get into fall. During this time, bass will work baitfish from deeper water into shallower water, so look for ledges and transitions with some current before the reservoirs become stiller. The more of these spots that you accumulate, the more that you can work from a kayak, canoe, boat, or the the bank when that fishing heats up.