The weather is about to turn off cool here in Knoxville, with temps dropping into the 30’s and even in the high 20’s over the next few days. This will certainly help cool down the Holston to trouty temps. We’re starting to get into a more regular rain pattern, so nearly all mountain streams are at the perfect temperatures and good flows, though some might rise a bit during this week’s heavy rainfall. The Clinch is still producing big fish, and a few more browns are being picked up.
As for the Clinch, folks are doing well on small pheasant tails and midges, particularly purple and olive. Streamer action will heat up as we get later into November. As far as wading opportunity, TVA has backed off a little on the solid 1 gen flows that they were running in weeks past. Now, the flows are starting later, or offering some falling water opportunities in the evenings. This weekend will probably prove to have pretty ample wading windows, and the weather looks like it will be cool and clear.
This is the time to go fish in the mountains, both close to home and around Southern Appalachia. There’s not really a bad place to go, and much of the fishery has been left alone during the drought conditions and high water temps that we had earlier this year. Nymphs, such as a copper john, hare’s ear, or buggy pheasant tail will do pretty well. Size 14 is a good place to start, but you may drop to a 16 if this fish are being finicky. Don’t rule out a good ol’ fashioned wooly bugger either. Higher up, orange stimulators or orange caddis is a size 14 or even a size 12 will bring brookies and small rainbows up.
Not much to report on the Holston yet, though we’ll start fishing it very soon. Be sure to have some flashback pheasant tails and small caddis when the water becomes favorable. For smallmouth, imitate baitfish and cast in the deeper ledges and holes behind shoals. Use intermediate lines and slow retrieves, and a small, flat baitfish pattern to imitate the forage that’s running up the rivers this time of year. With the Holston and the French Broad, the temps are still awesome, and this is a great time of year to get a big smallie that’s looking to put on the feed sack for winter, and perhaps feeding more freely than usual.
If you access to a boat or a favorite bank to fish from on the lake, redear, smallmouth, and hybrid bass fishing can be pretty good this time of year before those fish head into deeper water. Cast into a deeper area beyond a shelf, preferably with a gravel bottom, and slowly retrieve a small baitfish or wooly bugger to pick up some warmwater fish before they head to deeper haunts.