UPDATE: 9/12/2016 Smokies Fly Fishing Report -- Current Hatches: Isonychias (aka Slate Drake or Mahogany Dun), Mahogany Duns (Paraleptophlebia), Little Yellow Stoneflies, Golden Stoneflies, Tan and Cinnamon Caddis, inch worms, beetles, and ants. Some cooler weather has been helping conditions in the Smokies. Nighttime lows are falling enough to keep the lower elevations close to fishable. Probably give them another week though and then it will be game on. Fish are eating fairly well. Yesterday's Little River Outfitters Day 2 School was successful with all of my students catching fish even with the low water conditions.
Caney Fork Fly Fishing Report: Our floats continue to churn out some really nice trout. See some of the recent blog entries below for more on that. I have some availability if you are looking for a guided trip so 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: Flows are mostly up so heavy deep nymphing or streamer fishing will be the way to go during periods of generation. Look for fish eating terrestrials along the banks and especially in areas of soft water. On low water, think midges and long fine leaders. Dark seems to be the color although both dark and silver beads are working on the midges. I recommend strike indicators with hooks in them on low water. Last week I caught my best fish on a #14 Yellow Stimulator that was serving as my strike indicator.
Holston River: Give this river a break on the trout sections until next winter. Water temperatures on most of the trout water are elevated and fishing now will stress these beautiful fish.
Cumberland Plateau Fishing Report: Smallmouth bass fishing is good but the water is low. We have another week or two of warmer temperatures before the final turn towards cooler weather begins. Both topwater bugs and subsurface offerings are getting it done. Before we know it, the cooler weather of fall will have us chasing muskie again as well!
Friday, February 24, 2012
Go fishing now!!! The first early spring hatches continue to happen pretty much daily over in the Smokies. Some nice fish have been caught on dry flies for the fishermen willing to work hard and find those wary browns.
Currently, bugs are hatching from near Townsend to up past Elkmont, but on the warmest days, the hatches are actually coming off pretty early. Larger fish will be easiest to catch on those days that keep all but the diehards off the water. Right now, the crowds are heavy on good days meaning you may be fishing used water. Thankfully, during hatches at least, you can still catch fish even on "used" water. This is the best time to fish if you are a relative Smokies novice as fly selection can be as simple as tying on a Parachute Adams. However, closer inspection will often reveal the fish to be taking Blue Quills or Black Caddis in various stages.
On a recent trip, I found a good hatch early in the day that dwindled to just a few stray bugs by early afternoon. During the hatch, the dry fly action was fast and furious. Before moving to another spot, I found a nice brown rising and got it to nail the dry. The first cast produced one of the most stressful refusals I have ever had as the fish rocketed out of nowhere just beneath the fly only to vanish just as quickly. The second cast must have been a better drift and a beautiful brown was soon posing for a quick photo.
The rainbows are fatter than I ever remember seeing a Smokies trout. The high water that has kept the tailwaters off limits to wade fishermen has done wonders for the fish in the Park. The warm winter probably helped as well. Anyway, I expect the next few months to produce some of the best fishing in the Smokies in the last 10 years. As soon as the tailwaters become fishable we should see similar epic fishing on them as well. Get ready for a great fishing year!!!
Posted by David Knapp at 5:32 PM