Even a couple of weeks worth of high water on my local tailwater can seem like an eternity. The last several weeks are starting to seem more like several years. The last time I was on the Caney was last November. Since then, the generation has been pretty consistent at over 10,000 cfs. That's a lot of water no matter which way you look at it. A few brave souls are still out in boats but most people have been trying other spots.
Now, Center Hill Lake is finally slipping below the magical 630 feet above sea level. Unfortunately, in the colder months this threshold has little meaning. Winter pool is much lower than that so while we might start to see TVA cut back on the generation a little, it is doubtful that there will be any wadeable windows any time soon. The active weather pattern looks like it will continue for the foreseeable future, so it is doubtful that the lake will drop very fast. In fact, don't be surprised if it spikes up again within the next week or two.
Thankfully, there are still fish that can be caught. In fact, when I stopped by the river to take a look a couple of weeks ago, there were fish rising in a very accessible spot. I doubt I'll be driving 45 minutes to fish a small section of bank, but I can take comfort in the fact that I could if I really wanted to.
The last few days have awakened the first stirring of spring fever somewhere inside. Visions of Blue Quills, Little Black Caddis, Quill Gordons, and of course rising trout, have been dancing around in my head in several spare moments. I find myself staring out the window. What I'm really seeing is not the dreary sky threatening more rain, but huge hatches with lots of rising trout. As inspiration grows, I'll be heading to the Smokies searching for fish willing to be force fed in the colder water now flowing. Some days will be phenomenal with lots of fish out feeding. Other days will be classic winter fishing with tight-lipped trout hugging the bottom, but thankfully those days will soon draw to a close as winter gives way to spring.
UPDATE: 7/11/2016 Smokies Fly Fishing Report -- Current Hatches: Blue-winged Olives, Isonychias (Slate Drake), Little Yellow Stoneflies, Golden Stoneflies, Tan and Cinnamon Caddis, inch worms, beetles, and ants. Hatches are sparse for the most part. We have reached that point in the summer where heading higher in elevation will increase your odds of success as will a good hike. Brook trout fishing is great now. High water days will be excellent in the lower elevations throwing nymphs or streamers. Recommended flies include, Prince Nymphs, Golden Stonefly nymphs, Yellow Stimulators, Green Weenies, Ants, and Black Foam Beetles. If you need to learn how to fish these streams and where to go, a guided trip with me can help you accomplish that!
Caney Fork Fly Fishing Report: Terrestrial season is upon us but we have been boating some large trout on nymphs and midges as well. Some high water this week will also offer the chance for some streamer fishing with very large trout and stripers always possible. Fishing will remain great if you know the river. The best way to enjoy this fishing is out of the drift boat which allows us to access some less pressured sections. Contact me about a float or wade trip if you want to enjoy this fishing at TroutZoneAnglers@gmail.com or call/text (931) 261-1884.
Clinch River Fishing Report: So far the sulfur hatch has not been anything to write home about. When there aren't a lot of bugs on the water, stick with small nymph, emerger, and midge patterns and you should catch some nice trout.
Holston River: Give this river a break on the trout sections until next winter.
Cumberland Plateau Fishing Report: Smallmouth bass fishing is excellent right now. The rain last week has left a good amount of water in the creeks and the fish are happy. Get on this sooner as opposed to later and be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms and rising water.