The afternoon is shaping up to be a great one after a little rain fell early this morning. It appears that the mountains and the valley missed the brunt of the front that came through this morning and that means pretty good things from this afternoon on through the weekend.
The streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are flowing higher than normal after what has been a wet first half of the week. They should start dropping later today but I would expect them to remain high through most of tomorrow and into parts of Saturday. The good news is that water temps are well into the upper fifties and the fish are active. If I was headed up there tomorrow, I’d drag my heals and give the water time to recede and warm up. Higher elevations should fall out quicker than the lower elevations so you may want to start high and work your way down through the remainder of the weekend. Nymphs, weighted and fished deep, should do you well until the water gets a little lower and the sun gets a chance to get the bugs active.
Both Norris and Cherokee Dams are releasing low flows through the weekend with wading access available during the daytime hours. Like the freestones, both tailwaters are fishing better later in the day once the water has warmed up. Caddis are popping with a welcomed predictability on the Holston and there’s a smattering of reports of sulfurs on the Clinch later in the day. Both rivers are fishing well so you can’t really go wrong with whichever you choose!
Small mouth bass are active in the freestones and should be improving on both the Holston and French Broad Rivers. White bass are staged up on the bottom end of both those rivers along with Skipjack Herring (aka, Tennessee Tarpon). It’s standing room only at Governor Ned McWherter park on sunny days. You can probably (hopefully) expect to meet up with a game warden either on the river or at the ramp if you head up that way so make sure you’ve got the boat in tip-top shape!
The only wildcard in the weekend forecast is the weather and even that seems manageable. Just pack a raincoat and remember to have a good time and be safe!