I’ll make this short and sweet. Previously I have offered catfish and striper trips using live and cut bait. Though it is fun, I will no longer be offering this service. I learned a lot about fish behavior using these tactics but I have concluded that it is irresponsible to teach them. Simply put, its too easy to kill fish and the time I devoted to it detracted quality from my other trips. I’m no snob when it comes to methods but its all artificials from here on out.
The short and sweet of it is there is plenty of great fishing to be had in East Tennessee. The only catch is timing. Due to a massive rain event earlier this spring and steady waves of weather ever since, TVA reservoirs are brim full and the tail waters are pushing hard, leaving only small windows of hot fishing to be had. A drier forecast seems to be on the horizon which will equate to more consistent, fishable flows.
In this type of situation, the clinch will be the go to trout fishery in the Knoxville area but I wouldn’t forget about the Holston. Due to heavy generation the Holston will likely run out of cold water and be too warm to fish ethically some time in early July. The Clinch however will fish great all summer long, specifically for those who choose to float the river. Pheasant tails and midges still seem to be the name of the game but sulphurs are making an appearance on both rivers.
Smallmouth bass fishing has been absolutely amazing on local freestone rivers with a mix bag of streamer and topwater tactics yielding 40 fish plus a day. Most fish are fun 1/2 to 2 pound fish, but 5 pounders are routinely breaking hearts.
For those of you who have an affinity for stripers, I also have decent news. The conventional tackle game is still very strong, and the fly fishing game is doable but improving. As flows slow down and the water warms up, fly fishing opportunities will increase since the fish will seek out food and cooler water below local dams. We have recently pulled several fish in the 10 to 15lbs class on gurglers and deceivers.
If you’re interested in getting after some big fish this spring, give me a call and we’ll talk about trip options.
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to take out two Outdoor Studies and Tourism students who are currently enrolled in a Professional Seminar course at Maryville College. The course is designed to expose students to a variety of topics, trends, and ethical conversations as well as career options with the field of outdoor recreation. During my “guest lecture” we talked about ethical fishing practices related to striper, trout, and muskie. In other words how to not kill fish in the process of making a living.
The new Outdoor Studies and Tourism major prepares students for careers that emphasize the importance of the natural environment, how humans can respectfully enjoy and interact with nature, and the value of active, outdoor experiences. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the major at Maryville College, you can check it out here:
I am really looking forward to working with Maryville College to preach the good word and fight the good fight of conservation!