Thunderboomers, humidity and long days are omnipresent in the forecasts these days. Summer is officially in full swing. As you can imagine, the trout bite has slowed a bit in the face of this weathering heat. That said, I’ve received some favorable reports from both the Clinch and the Holston in the last day or so. Hot weather and thunderstorms typically mean TVA has ample water at its disposal. While that wasn’t necessarily the case earlier in the Sprint, it is now, and the generation schedules on both the Clinch and Holston reflect that fact. While TVA is pumping some cold water through both dams, there’s still ample low water in the mornings to get out and try your luck and the Clinch has had a generous afternoon flow featuring one generator which is perfect for a float. No surprises here, pheasant tail nymphs are working well and it’s not a bad idea to float them underneath the terrestrial of your choice through riffles and runs. Be mindful, though, while the temperatures on the Holston have stabilized with the increased flows, that could change overnight.
The mountains are tough right now. If you didn’t hear, the Greenbriar area in the GSMNP received upwards of 9 inches of rain in just a couple of hours on Tuesday night. Some roads and trails have washed out and there are closures in the area as a result. Other parts of the park received just a fraction of that amount and as a result flows are low and temperatures are hot. Little River is currently flowing at about 156 cfs and the water temperature is in the upper-upper 60s. If you are headed to the mountains this weekend, be sure and check the radar and head up as high as you can to find the cooler waters. Dry droppers with a double dose of terrestrials should get some attention.
The smallmouth bite has been nothing short of fantastic. See my above post about the 9 inches of rain in the Greenbriar area, however, and you might guess what the flows are looking like on the French Broad right now. The Little Pigeon River, a tributary, jumped up to 12,000 cfs the other evening and turned the Broad into chocolate milk. In addition, TVA changed the flow regimen from an afternoon only affair to an all-day affair. There are still windows of opportunity in the morning hours, but the afternoon is all but closed down. That’s not necessarily a bad thing given the heat. The longer and more sinuous Holston has some low water on it throughout the day, so the getting is still good. Both rivers are seeing the bass chase minnows early (think Clouser or Murdich minnows) and the topwater bite has been consistent throughout the day. If, by chance, you find yourself on a stretch that’s slightly stained, give a crayfish imitation a go.
Finally, the lakes are fishing great. Bass busting bait balls and everything and its brother eating Willow flies. If you need an evening or morning diversion, see if you can’t locate the willow flies hanging from the trees. There’s guaranteed action lurking below. Stay safe and have a great weekend!