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!!!
UPDATE: 5/24/2015 -- Streams in the Smokies are getting lower with the recent lack of rainfall. Dry/dropper rigs are accounting for a lot of fish, especially on the dropper. High gradient streams in the mid and higher elevations will fish better because of the broken water but water temperatures are still acceptable all the way to the Park boundary on Little River. We could use some rain so keep praying, doing rain dances, or whatever it is you do to get the water flowing.
The Caney Fork continues to fish well. Conditions vary from good to great with some days being easier than others. On days that start out slow, a pattern change or two will keep the rods bent. Contact me about a float trip if you want to get in on this great fishing at TroutZoneAnglers@gmail.com or call/text (931) 261-1884. With the holiday weekend and summer coming up, expect the fishing pressure to steadily increase on this river so get out and enjoy it while you can.
Cumberland Plateau smallmouth fishing is definitely getting cranked up. Two weeks ago, I landed my new personal best smallie from a favorite local stream. This fishing will only improve. Isonychias are hatching on the smallie streams here on the Plateau and Golden Stoneflies should be just around the corner. Over the next few weeks, the streams will transition to great surface terrestrial and popper fishing.
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