Smallmouth fishing is still going strong, and trouty weather is just around the corner. The Clinch and Holston are transitioning from Summer patterns into Fall, but mountain streams are doing very well for this time of year. In fact, we could be seeing some Fall caddis hatches this weekend.
Smallmouth bass are still feeding on baitfish throughout the rivers, and they’re chasing small white streamers and poppers fished near the surface. 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, but they can be more spread out into the lakey sections of the rivers if there’s cloud cover or you’re simply not seeing fish working groups of shad.
In the trout tailwaters, the action is still 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.
In the freestone and Park streams, summer patterns may still work but I would take elk hair caddis, parachute adams, and even October caddisflies for the morning and evening sessions. Temps are improving in the lower sections, but still move up and look for water in the 50’s if you can find it.