Like it or not it appears that Fall has decided to grace us with its presence in a timely fashion this year. After three or four years with the heat lasting till Thanksgiving, it’s a welcome change even if it feels a little out of place. The upshot is that the weather forecast for the next two weeks is nothing short of fantastic. Cool mornings and dry, sunny days with that sleepy sideways sunlight creeping down further and further from its southern vantage. This weekend’s forecast is dynamite, and that’s the good news. The downside of the arrival of the cool front was that it brought with it an abundance of somewhat unexpected precipitation. Yesterday’s rain, in conjunction with the rain we received from Tropical Storm Beta and Hurricane Laura has all of the Valley’s reservoirs swollen a touch higher than where TVA would like them this time of year. Given that the last two years have ranked number one and number two in precipitation, TVA is doing what they do, dumping the excess and making power for everyone to run their furnaces at night.
From the looks of it the Mountains received even more rain than the Valley yesterday and at present most of the drainages on the Tennessee side of the Park are swollen and unfishable. That should change by the weekend. With the Fall foliage quickly approaching peak colors, it would be a fantastic time to get out and up in the higher elevations in order to get some time on the water. Brown trout and brookies will be doing their mating dances and it truly is a magical time to be in the highlands.
Here in the valley, the tailwaters don’t hold a ton of potential for the weekend. Norris will run modified rec schedules on Saturday and Sunday so there should be some low water for the wading angler and with the arrival of the cooler weather we can probably expect the fishing on the Clinch to get consistently better. Saturday’s rec flow is off till 10 am, 1 Generator from 10 t0 1 pm, and 2 or more there after. Sunday, on the other hand, only promises low flows till 10 and then it’s up to TVA’s discretion thereafter. Just like in the mountains, the big browns on the Clinch will be out and about and going through their spawning motions. Now is the time to be throwing meat (streamers) and/or egg patterns.
Douglas has received the most rain out of the lot and is probably the most out of whack reservoir in the Valley at the moment. Shame, as the Fall smallmouth fishing on the French Broad was nothing short of fantastic. Hopefully TVA can get the water run out sooner rather than later and we can get back out there to chase the last of the Fall bite on the Broad. Cherokee is running two generators at the moment and that’s also not likely to change. Unlike Douglas, however, it is a lower than usual flow coming in at around 6 or 7 thousand cfs. Anytime I see sustained flow on the Holston I think that it’s time to get get out and swing some flies on the lower end of the river in the long deep pools that the smallmouth like to fall back to during the Fall and Winter. If I was a betting man I’d say you’d likely find me out there one of these afternoons trying to soak up the last of the sun and hang into a trophy small mouth.
Speaking of bass. The bass fishing on the lakes is still heating up. Most of the fish are getting fat either busting bait or chasing frogs in the grass. If you’ve got a boat an an inkling, it might be worth getting out there on one of our reservoirs. The cool weather should have most of the wake board boats and jet skis headed for the garage. If you’re looking for a great bait fish pattern, check out 3 Rivers Angler’s own Andrew Smalling tying up his Small’s Snow Bird Minnow.
Where ever you get to this weekend, be safe and have fun!