We’ve only just kissed the beginning of June but the temperatures and humidity have it feeling like it is already the middle of July. TVA is reporting that the Tennessee River Valley received 200% of normal rainfall in the last seven days, with some areas receiving over 10 inches of precipitation. The bulk of that water fell to the southern portion of the Valley and as a result Douglas and Fort Loudon Dams are both currently spilling excess water over their tops to lower the reservoirs to acceptable summer levels.
In contrast, Norris and Cherokee reservoirs are both still under their summer levels. In the case of Cherokee, five and a half feet below pool. As a result of the low reservoir level, TVA has been maintaining minimum flows on the Holston River and the fishing has begun to suffer. Temperatures are beginning to get close to the danger zone and fishing is better during the early morning hours and later in the evening with most bug activity occurring late. If the river doesn’t get some relief soon, we will likely have to lay off the trout in the upper zone sooner rather than later this Summer. Be advised, the Catch the Cure for Cystic Fibrosis tournament is occurring this Saturday on the Holston so you can expect quite a bit of boat traffic.
The Clinch is in slightly better shape as the Norris is currently only about ½ a foot below pool. There are good wading opportunities in the morning and boating opportunities in the afternoon. We are not getting many reports of hatches on the Clinch so most trout are being taken sub-surface on midges.
Smallmouth bass fishing in the Valley is improving. Fish are just beginning to start looking up a bit and that trend should continue as we get further into June. I haven’t begun to see the Japanese Beetles and June Bugs under my outdoor lights just yet, but they shouldn’t be too far off.
The real gem in the fishing forecast must be the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Fishing in the park has been good to great depending on the day. Flows are still a little higher than normal for this time of year, but the fishing has been great. Dry-dropper is the ticket early but you can really go to just the dry in the afternoons. Yellow Sally imitations are working well. Keep your eye on water levels as rain is in the forecast Thursday afternoon.