The cool weather is here to stay but the sun helps. No substantial rain is also helping our case. Yeah it gets dark early now; trust me we’ve heard. Fishing possibilities still abound in the valley. 

The valley’s tailwaters are showing some promising trends. With the lack of rain, the Clinch and Holston Rivers are aligning with their operating guides. When they do finally meet up, we will see more wading opportunities. The Clinch right now is still running mostly at 2+ generators. This is not ideal but if you are so inclined to poke a fish or two it can be done. Fishing beadhead Pheasant Tail nymphs deep has been the ticket for boating some nice fish. You can pair that with a midge or an egg to add some variety of hook laden food options. Streamers can also be productive on high flows fishing holding water or current breaks. Some favorites are Galloup’s Dungeon, Peanut Envy, Schultz’s Sculpin, or Chocklett’s Finesse Changer. Black, olive, and white seem to be the best colors. Cold weather on the Clinch can yield some good gray midge hatches as well as some small black caddis. Find a window of low water and you can fool some fish with Zebra midges or Griffith’s Gnat. The black caddis are small (#18-22) and an Elk Hair Caddis in all black can be a great imitation. 

The Holston River is getting very close to being at or below its operating guide. Wadeable flows seem to be in our future; fingers crossed. When this happens it can have some good dry fly midge fishing. Griffith’s Gnat, Palomino Midges, and Sprout Midges are great for this application. Beadhead Pheasant Tails, caddis larva, and Zebra midges will catch fish as well. 

The mountains are low at the moment making for easy wading. With low water, be stealthy; use rocks, riffles and other natural features to hide your presence from the trout. The water has warmed four degrees over the last week from the abundant sunshine. Nymphs under an indicator is what I would focus on. Like always, BH Prince, PT’s, Copper Johns and Hare’s Ear nymphs will catch fish. Larger stonefly patterns like Pat’s Rubberlegs, Smethurst’s Stone Bomb, and George’s Nymphs are a good option as well. Streamers can work to incite strikes from larger fish. Watch for brown trout redds in the tail-outs of pools and leave them undisturbed. 

Don’t be afraid to branch out to some of the state’s stocked streams and rivers. They can offer nice fish to those that venture to them and can be a great starting place for the novice angler or for seasoned anglers to relax. TWRA posts their stocking schedule and rivers on their website.