Fall, and rain, have come to the Tennessee Valleys. Little River is currently flowing a bit above the median flow, and other streams are flowing a little higher than normal. The Clinch has been giving favorable flows for boating, but the water has been coming on pretty early, which has limited wading opportunities during the week. The Holston is on it’s way to cooling down, but we’re still a couple weeks out from that.

The Clinch has been a mystery to figure out lately. Big fish are being caught, and some days are slow while others are pretty darn good. I heard a report this morning that cream colored midges, in larger sizes like a 16, are doing pretty well. Smaller olive midges have also produced. Pheasant tails are working better, higher up in the river, based on the reports that we’re hearing. Haven’t heard much in the way of eggs just yet, though I imagine those will be the ticket any day now.

As for the Holston, start tying your pheasant tails. As the water cools down and we hopefully see some more days with the water turned off, pheasant tails and red midges will be the key.

In the French Broad and Holston alike, smallmouth are staging at the transition points between the end of shallow riffles and the heads of deeper pools, so break out your faster-sinking line to fish streamers and crayfish patterns in those areas. Bring your floater too, as you’ll find a lot some topwater opportunities, especially if you see smallmouth crowding up schools of baitfish into a shallower area.

In the mountains, fish bigger, buggier nymphs. Nymphs like a hare’s ear, red fox squirrel, or something of that sort will work well. For dries, orange caddis or stimulators will work well too, and one of the aforementioned nymphs fished under as a dropper would be a good way to go.

Fall is here y’all, get out and fish it before colder temps start settling in.