High water has yet again hit the Tennessee Valley and the mountains. The next week looks like we’re going to have a little more rain. After Saturday, however, it looks like normal winter will be settling in, and everything will start going back to its equilibrium, barring more abnormal rain later this month and into February. When the water evens out, we’ll be looking for more streamer-friendly flows to get us through the winter and open up some freestone opportunities.
The mountains will also be improving, once we get some more reliable conditions. Winter fishing is typically going to be slower, but a few days of falling water and cold temps will stage us for those East TN winter days where the temps jump, and fish begin actively feeding on the resulting hatches. For those looking for things to tie, start tying BWO, Blue Quill, and Quill Gordon patterns to be ready when things turn for the warmer and drier.
For all the tailwaters, it pays to keep a keen eye on what’s going on with the generators. While they do have a lot of water to move out, operational mishaps, maintenance, and all sorts of other things will make the TVA turn off the water for a little bit of time. If they can line up with a time that you can check in a favor at work, you’ll likely have a lot of good water close by.
Other than the streams in the Smokies, DH sections like the Tellico or the more remote streams in Northeast TN can be good options this time of year. We’ve heard reports of prince nymphs and small, bright-colored streamers working well.