The rain is continuing to fall, and that’s keeping (most) folks from getting out on the Clinch, Holston, and French Broad. However, it’s go-time for the Spring mountain fishing, and warmwater species are schooling and busting bait on the lakes. Freestone smallmouth opportunities abound in the mountains and on the plateau, and water temp is just about right.

Some folks have been getting out on the Clinch to throw streamers when the water gets down to 10 or 11K, and they’re throwing heavy lines and a heavy streamer. They are, however, getting into some big fish.

In the mountains, throw bigger size parachute adams, like a 12 or 14 to imitate the bigger quills that are popping off. The water is still a little cold in places, but it will reach the 50’s and stay there for a few days, which will cause the dry fly action to heat up. Otherwise, your good ol’ pheasant tail or prince nymph will get it done. 

Lots of folks are asking for an update on white bass. Right now the smaller males are heading upriver, and folks are finding them in the Tennessee River. Sort of like saltwater fish, you’ll see schools of these fish work schools of bait. Oftentimes, a white streamer thrown at the edge of these baitballs will elicit a mighty strong bite from a white bass. After a couple of weeks, or maybe less, they’ll start running up into the rivers and creeks that feed into the larger reservoirs. 

For smallmouth, focus on crayfish and minnow patterns, but it’s not out of the question to sightfish them with a popper or stealth bomber dead drifted over them. Some streams, particularly those in urban areas, may be blown out from the rain. Instead, venture out to streams with stabilized banks that are less likely to be stained with rain events.

The same goes for carp, though you can do that on the lake and not have to worry about it. Throw a hybrid carp fly or small cray pattern, and you can have some fun after work, thanks to daylight savings time.

Spring is here folks. The tailwaters are not the only fishing opportunity that we’ve been blessed with here in Knoxville, so get out and feed something to a fish that’s eating.



*Photo courtesy of Hunter Palmer