While you wouldn't know it right now thanks to highs in the 60s today and 70s tomorrow, winter is going to be slow to relinquish its hold over middle and east Tennessee. This warm weather we are experiencing might get a few hatches going, and of course once the bugs start they can't really stop, but realistically it might still be a couple of weeks at best. As recently as 5 days ago it was looking like we might be in for an early warmup that would last long enough to get the hatches going, but now with a strong front moving in tomorrow night and forecast highs by the middle of next week in the 40s at best, I'm ready to tie a few more flies and wait for the main event.
My friend James Marsh over at www.flyfishingsmokymountains.com reported a couple of days ago that some Quill Gordon nymphs he found just outside of the Park were nowhere close to being ready to hatch. This short warmup won't be enough to get the main show rolling.
The 6-10 day and 8-14 day outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center indicate extremely high chances of colder than normal weather for the next couple of weeks. Here are the two graphics for those two time periods respectively.
Yep, it's going to be cold still for a while. On the plus side, the cold weather should include fairly dry conditions which will allow time for the tailwaters to come down after the rain tomorrow. Also, I should mention that some of the best shad kills on the Caney Fork have happened in years that were cold later into March than usual. Plus, all the cold water now translates into happy trout that will stay healthy all summer on the tailwaters.
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!