Every year for the past 3 years or so, east Tennessee has had a cold first week of March. I was always glad to be heading out-of-state to places like the Everglades and the Grand Canyon for spring break. Also, each year had a warm second week of March. Since spring break out here in Colorado fell on the second full week of March, I was hoping to hit the weather right in Tennessee. So far it looks like everything is working out!
With snow and cold temperatures in Tennessee right now, I'm glad that I'm not walking the banks of Little River looking for a hatch that may never start. The long range forecast calls for moderating temperatures. That means that while the bugs haven't exploded yet, they might be trickling off in fishable numbers upon my arrival.
I've been patiently waiting for spring break but my patience is quickly wearing thin now. With only a week to go, I'm now tying flies during every available moment. Last night it was #18 Parachute Adams to match the Blue Quills. Today it will be more of the same as well as larger #12 and #14 flies for the Quill Gordons. I've stocked up on my Copper and Partridge Soft Hackle as well to match the caddis that will also be around. I tied plenty of Tellicos and other stonefly patterns weeks ago and am fairly confident with my supply there. Still, there is rarely a fishing trip that I feel completely prepared for. If all else fails I'll be stopping by to see my friends at Little River Outfitters and picking up a few extra flies if I run low.
Lately I've been paying special attention to Ian and Charity Rutter's fishing report as well as Josh Pheiffer's. Both are excellent area guides that frequent both the mountain streams as well as the tailwaters. The most recent reports indicate that bugs are hatching sporadically but in general the big hatches have yet to happen. I guess I don't have a lot of options and will have to try and stay patient for another week. Going home will be a nice treat for spring break!!!
FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 3/23/2017
The fishing has been great lately! This spring has been phenomenal in the Smokies. Long hatches have produced dry fly fishing lasting for hours every day. The Caney Fork has been producing some great fish on high water.
In the Great Smoky Mountains, the spring fishing has started early this year. Quill Gordon (#12-#14) and Blue Quill (#16-#18) mayflies are starting to transition into Hendricksons (#12-#14). On foul weather days, the Blue-winged Olives (#18-#22) have literally poured off of the river. The recent cooler weather actually enhanced the dry fly fishing. The bugs have been having a harder time getting off of the water, so despite the cool water temperature, fish have been rising lazily through an extended afternoon hatch. Little Black Caddis (#18-#20) have been hatching well along with some Early Brown Stoneflies (#12).
On the tailwaters, the fishing has been decent to good. The Clinch is fishing well along with the Holston. The Caney Fork continues to be my river of choice, however. Streamer trips continue to produce and we are doing some high water nymphing as well. This is as good a time as any to have a shot at large rainbow and brown trout on this tailwater!
I still have some open dates for guided trips in April and May, but the calendar is filling fast. I've been turning away trips because people wait too long to book. Don't make that mistake!