It’s hot. That goes without saying. It is worth saying, however, that it is too hot to safely fish for trout in a few locations around Knoxville. That includes the Holston River below Cherokee Dam and lower elevations in the National Park. The Holston River’s minimal flow regimen is still in place while TVA tries to meek out that last foot of water above the dam on Cherokee. Those minimal flows will likely maintain through the end of June and possibly well into July and that likely means we are done fishing the Holston for trout until temperatures get cool again in October or November. If you love that fishery, do it a favor and let it be. The same holds true for the lower elevations in the National Park.
The Clinch below Norris Dam isn’t exactly a bright spot in this report but at least it is a spot where you can go get your line wet. If you’re going to go, go early or late. The morning bite has been decent on midge patterns, particularly wets or emerger patterns. Once the sun gets up and it gets hot, the fish get bashful.
Everything I said above should push you in one general direction: smallmouth. As the trout bite wanes the smallmouth bite is just getting started. It’s topwater time in East Tennessee and, in my book, there really isn’t a better quarry for the fly rod than a smallmouth. The lower 40 miles of the Holston River is all fantastic smallmouth water, and, in other news, TVA has also slowed down flows on the French Broad below Douglas Dam so you can find some wadable and floatable flows. If you haven’t given this a try yet, this is a great time to give it a go. Maybe take old Dad along with you.
Temperatures look like they are going to dip a little bit for the weekend before they climb back up first of next week. Best get out while the getting is good!