Warm and dry weather is perpetuating summer here in East TN, with highs in the 90’s predicted at least until the first part of October. This has resulted in poor fishing for the mountains, but the TVA is still running plenty of water through the Clinch, Holston, and French Broad.
On the Clinch, most mornings you can get out and fish for at least a couple hours before the water comes down. Otherwise, the weekends have been the most predictable for wading. Bright midges are still working well, but we had more success this past week on small pheasant tails and hare’s ear nymphs surprisingly.
Eggs were also producing this week, and those patterns are only going to become more relevant as we get into fall.
As far as flows for the Clinch, it’s worth noting that there will be some recreation schedules for upcoming events:
Friday, September 27 – Project Healing Waters – Minimum flow only from 7 am to 1 pm
Saturday, September 28 – Project Healing Waters – Minimum flow only until 5 am, one generator from 5 am to 3 pm
In other words, you’ll want to play hookie from work or school Friday to wade fish. Sunday will be a normal Rec schedule.
The Holston is still way too warm for trout, and will likely remain that way into November, but we’re getting more windows to float and wade from the TVA to chase smallmouth, drum, and carp. Baitfish patterns, trout streamers, and smallmouth-specific flies like tequeelys will do well. Whatever you do, try to get some elevation and sight cast, as you’ll do much better than blind casting. Same goes with the French Broad. Find a place to wade where you can peer into deeper holes or float on a platform that you can stand up on.
The mountains, at least on the Tennessee side, are too low and hot to really fish ethically or effectively without hiking deep into the backcountry. That should be changing soon, as rain is starting to appear on the forecast. If you do want to fish in the Smokies, consider going for smallmouth where streams and rivers exit the Park. If you take topwater poppers and sliders or cast rubber-legged streamers, you’ll catch smallmouth and rock bass without attracting many, if any, trout.