Yesterday, we had a glimpse of what’s to come in the freestone rivers and streams as we creep out of winter. Quill Gordons, Blue Quills, and other bugs were hatching and fish were rising to our dries as we fished up in the Smokies. The action isn’t quite consistent yet, but you didn’t have to look too terribly long to find cooperative browns and rainbows.

The action was definitely best when the clouds cleared and the sun was shining on the water, which also aided in spotting fish. You’re classic Parachute Adams in a size 12 or 14 worked best to imitate the big bugs, but a 16 Blue Quill or Quill Gordon pattern worked best when the fish were being finicky in spots.

I used a 9ft Suppleflex leader, which made it easier to present dry flies where I wanted them. A softer action rod was also beneficial. Something like the 9′ 5 weight Sage Trout LL  would have been a fine tool for the job, but so would an Echo Dry or the Redington Classic Trout.

The rest of this week there is a chance for a similar hatch. When you go, get to fishing when the suns out, but if it turns off when clouds roll in, eat a sandwich, enjoy a drink of your choosing, and relax until the bugs start drifting by again.

As many of you know, the tailwaters are still running too high to fish. Though the flow rate has been reduced on a few tailwaters, they’re still going to be running big water out for the next few weeks at the least. Though there is rain in the forecast, it shouldn’t be the deluge that we received earlier this month.

Here in the next month, maybe in a couple of weeks, the white bass will start to run up into the Holston, French Broad, and large creeks. This will start when the water warms up a little, along with some other factors. Getting a fly to the right depth is crucial, but once you’re there these fish will eat just about anything that’s white and looks like a baitfish, and maybe has a little flash. Whatever you throw, just make sure it’s durable and can take a beating.

Our 40% Off Winter Apparel sale is still going on in-store. We have the sweet new Orvis Pro vest, and some Orvis wading jackets that will help you get out when this rain is keeping others at home. Also, stop by and see us for Lying and Tying this Thursday, starting around 5. Bring your vise and materials, or just come and hang out to learn a little something about tying and the fishing that’s going on around here.