It is smallmouth season here in East Tennessee! If you have ever wanted to get into smallmouth fishing, this is the time to do it. The trout tailwaters are in flux and have spotty action as we transition from Summer into Fall, but mountain streams are doing very well for this time of year, and we’re set up for a much better Fall of freestone fishing than what we have had for the past couple of years.

Smallmouth bass are keying in on baitfish throughout the rivers, and they’re aggressively chasing small white streamers and poppers, especially in the mornings on tailwaters and impoundments around East Tennessee. You’re mainly looking for a little bit of flow and riffles, as they will usually be towards the tail of a shoal or plunge.

In the tailwaters, the action is hit or miss, and you need to be moving around until you find willing fish. Your usual mix of BHPTs and midges will work fine, as it’s more about finding cooperative fish and being ready when they’re ready to play ball. The Holston may give us better opportunities to fish as we had better temperatures through the dog days of summer, and we may get earlier Fall fishing than years past. But for now, it’s generally too warm to make a day out of it.

In the freestone streams, you’re typical summer patterns of yellow dry flies and greenie weenies or other nymphs will keep working while we have warm temperatures. Once it gets a little cooler, be prepared with elk hair caddis, parachute adams, and even October Caddisflies. Temps are improving in the lower sections, but still move up and look for water in the 50’s if you can find it.

Fall is definitely upon us, so we’re excited to get out and enjoy the different ways that you can pursue fish in cooler weather. The choices are many, so be prepared to take full advantage and check back in to see where the fishing is hot!