Happy New Year!!! We are still waiting on a sustained shad kill on the tailwaters while fishing in the Smokies is mostly slow but with some windows of good fishing. I’ve been spending more time getting stuff done at home and also doing a bit of writing. I have tons of blog posts to get caught up on, but will slowly work through the back log of posts over the next few weeks.
The Trout Zone Blog Updates
If you haven’t been by the Trout Zone lately, there is some new content finally! I have finally begun posting about our trip to Glacier National Park and northern Idaho as well as some recent fishing here in the Smokies. Here are a few of the more recent articles.
Great Smoky Mountain Brown Trout Extravaganza
Glacier Day One: Lessons Learned, Going to the Sun Road, and Howe Lake Trail
Glacier Day Two: Hiking and Fishing at Snyder Lake
For those unfamiliar with my blog, the Trout Zone is a long time blog that I’ve been posting about my adventures since 2006. Needless to say, there is a ton of content there and some good info for those willing to work through all the material. In contrast, the blog here at Trout Zone Anglers is kept for fishing reports on bodies of water I regularly fish and guide on.
Smoky Mountains Report
The fishing in the Smokies has been quite up and down. The water temperatures have stayed good on some days while cooling down a lot on others. As long as water temperatures hold up in the 40s, fishing will be at least decent. The other current issue has been high water. Little River has been quite high and is just now settling back towards something fishable. Some of our favorite winter options take longer to drain out after a rain event, so overall our options are limited right now.
If you get some warmer days, look for midges, blue-winged olives, and winter stoneflies as well as perhaps a few stray caddis. The spring hatches are not far off and could happen sooner rather than later if we don’t get some real winter soon. Look for blue quills to begin emerging by late February with little black caddis and quill gordon mayflies not far behind. Blue-winged olives often emerge well in early February on lousy weather days. Early brown stoneflies should begin by sometime in February or March as well.
In the meantime, streamers will often move some fish even on lousy days with cold water. They require the utmost skill and patience to stick with, but can reward anglers with their best fish of the year.
Tennessee Tailwaters Report
The Clinch River has been running a LOT of water lately. Soon, I expect that to begin slowing down, at least until our next big rain event. Lower flows of one generator should be good for nymphing and maybe some streamers as well. The Caney Fork River has begun dialing back generation some as well and will start providing some fishable windows moving forward. We are still waiting for the shad kill to develop. Lake surface temperatures are in the low to mid 50s right now and need to drop a few more degrees to really get the shad kill going. If we get an extended cold snap, look for shad to really begin pouring through the dams and providing good streamer fishing. In the meantime, streamers will still move a few fish, but not the big numbers we associate with the shad kill on most days.
Look for the tailwaters to begin improving as we go into March and especially April. The Clinch River is a great early season fishery if we don’t get too much rain. Some of my best days on both rivers has been in March and April. Look for sulfurs on the Clinch by late April, hopefully. Last year, we barely saw any bugs, so time will tell how that hatch is this upcoming year. The Caney will be excellent by sometime in April or May and fish well at least into mid June. Remember, the Caney fishes poorly in wet years and great in dry years. We are probably due for a normal to dry year, but I’m not holding my breath yet.