We had a window of wading on nearly every tailwater last weekend. While it was rainy with some high winds, we saw some impressive fish coming out of Clinch and even the Holston, and the streamer bite is still really good on the Clinch. The mountain streams and DH sections have all had some high water but will be falling today and tomorrow. We will likely get some heavy rainfall this weekend which will lower temps and raise the water levels. The unseasonably warm temps over the next few days will simultaneously warm temps while water levels fall, so the last half of this week should be pretty good if you can get out.
On the tailwaters, the streamer bite has been really good. If you can get it down with a full sink line and a little weight on your streamers, the whole river is putting up big bows and the elusive post-spawn browns. This will be the case for the rest of the winter except during exceptionally high flows. Black, olive, and even red sculpin patterns have seemed to be the most productive.
The South Holston and Watauga rivers have been putting up some decent flows. Watauga looks high today, but the South Holston has been running some really good flows. Just avoid the closed spawning sections, and you can get into some good numbers and maybe some good size.
In the mountains, it’s crucial to get down with your nymphs and fish the bottom. Try buggy nymphs, but don’t rule out size 16 or 18 midges, which can fish well on mountain streams in the winter. Experiment with combinations of nymphs and split shot to get down. With the falling water on Little River and the warm afternoons that we have over the next couple of days, you’ll want to hit the warmest time of the day on the sunnier parts of the water.