Tailwater fishing has been pretty good lately, and the Holston has actually cooled down a bit while the Clinch is giving good wading windows in the morning. We received some much-needed rain in the freestone streams as well, which has improved fishing in the mountains.

On the Clinch, the usual suspects are doing best. A pheasant tail with a midge under it will catch fish where they’re feeding, and it seems like the upper end is doing better than the lower. On the Holston, there are still some small caddis hatches that allow for dry fly action in slower pools to rising fish, but 16 pheasant tails are producing as they always do.

For smallmouth on the Holston and French Broad, the cooler temps from this past week and rain has hurt the topwater action, but there’s still plenty of fish to be had on crayfish and baitfish imitations. With scorching temps coming back next week, we’re confident that the topwater bite will be on again.

The mountains are in the dog days of summer, and that means terrestrials. Ants, beetles, and greenie weenies are starting to outfish caddisflies, but a stimulator imitates both pretty well and are a sure-bet in the warm months. If there’s a sudden rise in water level from rain during your next outing, don’t feel ashamed to break out nymph rigs to get down to fish holding on the bottom.