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: 5/5/2015 -- The Smokies continue to be on fire! Lots of bugs, especially on overcast or drizzly days, but you can stay in fish regardless of whether there is a hatch going on by fishing a light colored dry fly with a small bead head dropper underneath. I've been fishing a Parachute Light Cahill with a variety of nymphs as the dropper. Guide trips are seeing some fantastic numbers of fish. On Sunday during a father/son beginner trip, the son caught 27 trout on his first time ever fly fishing. Now that is a good day!
The Caney Fork is dropping into great shape for float trips. Yesterday I had an all day float that saw two first time fly fishermen each get into double digit numbers of fish! The flows will continue to settle down with the dry weather we are experiencing so go ahead and book your trip today to get out on this fine tailwater.