We have some high water on the tailwaters all over East Tennessee currently. While we may get a break over the weekend for the Clinch, there should be some more wadable flows soon if the weather holds true. This weekend will be a great time to fish the Park, or venture out to the surrounding mountains to enjoy good weather, possible BWO hatches, and take advantage of some warming water trends.
If you have access to a boat, you’ll have a lot of water to yourself. The fishing is tough when this much water is running, but you can typically put some quality fish in the boat by putting a big, heavy nymph on your leader and then dropping something more reasonable under it. Combos could be a large tungsten pheasant tail and a midge, or even a double pheasant tail rig using a 16 and a 18.
In the mountains, seems that any nymph with rubber legs are doing well, including a good ol’ Tellico nymph or a smaller girdle bug. People are still catching a few fish on bushy stimulators and orange caddis when using them in a dry dropper rig, but carry some size 18 and 20 blue wing olives if you see a hatch.
Midges, while obviously productive on the tailwaters, are often underutilized in the Park. If you fish lower down on the Little River where the fish see a lot of pressure, a small midge can be the ticket.
Smallmouth fishing isn’t bad right now. If you’re willing to throw streamers with a sinking line, you can catch them on olive or yellow streamers in smaller streams, rivers with good flows, or around transition areas of lakes.
Fill up the boxes, because there’s good fishing to be had in the freestone streams and even better fishing in the tailwaters soon!