UPDATE: 4/18/2015 -- With the recent damp weather, stream levels are elevated but fishing can still be good if you pick your stream carefully. This past week we have seen March Browns showing up and of course the Hendricksons are around. During cloudy or rainy days, Blue-winged Olives may also make an appearance. Little Yellow Stoneflies and Little Black Caddis are also around.
Warm water options are heating up and I'm offering 1/2 day trips in the Cookeville/Crossville area for anyone wanting to target bass, bluegill and shellcracker and trout all in one trip. This will only last a short time as the water will soon warm too much for the trout so get on this trip option in the next couple of weeks.
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