It’s finally starting to feel like Spring around here. The tailwaters are still pretty high and we’re anticipating more rain, but the freestone streams are falling out and warming up. With highs in the 60s and sunny weather this weekend, quills and other bugs will be popping off. In fact, freestone smallmouth streams are also turning on, and folks are starting to get into pre-spawn smallmouth in creeks around here and there as the water warms into the 50s.
If you go to the mountains this weekend, take a range of Blue Quill and Quill Gordon imitations. Oftentimes, having a range of parachute adams ranging from size 12 to 16 is sufficient to match these hatches. Look for sun on the water and fish that are rising. There are a few roads that are still closed around the Smokies, so you might have a lot of good spots if you’re willing to walk in.
For the smallmouth, you may see them feeding on the same dries that are mentioned above for trout, in which case you can take the same setup with some heavier tippet. Otherwise, throw wooly buggers or other streamers and experiment with retrieves.
We’re also getting to white bass season. Though they’re not in the upper rivers quite yet, they will be starting the migration anytime now. Pursuing white bass on the Tennessee River is a lot like saltwater fishing. Cruise around and look for diving birds or crashing bait, and throw a white or light gray streamer to the edge of the bait.
Carp fishing, of course, is picking up and offers a near-limitless resource of opportunity, even when it’s cold and rainy. If you want to learn more about carp fishing or tying carp flies, be sure to stop by Lyin’ and Tying tomorrow night (3/5) around 5:30 to see us tie up some carp bugs. Or, bring your vise and fill up your box with whatever you need for this weekend.
Also, put Thursday, March 26th on your radar. For SuperFly Happy Hour, we’re going to have TVA River Forecaster James Everett speak. James will have insights on how the TVA predicts and manages flows.