Native and plentiful, the smallmouth bass is pound for pound the hardest fighter we have in East Tennessee. Smallies are found both in our local untouched freestone rivers including the Little River, and in our warmer tailwaters such as the lower Holston or the French Broad.
Depending on the location, these fish are mainly keyed in on bait fish or crayfish. Given the opportunity though, they will eat just about anything smaller than themselves – hellgrimites (dobson fly larvae), terrestrial insects, willow flies, mice, and frogs all play an important role in a Smallmouth’s diet. As with trout and striper, water flow and temperature are the determining factors for these fish to feed well enough to target with a fly.
Our best smallmouth fishing typically starts in April and persists well into October. Aggressive takes, hard runs for cover, and acrobatic jumps make the smallmouth a perfect (and exciting) target for a flyfisherman. During most smallmouth adventures you will be exposed to whole new cast of fish worth catching on a fly. Carp, buffalo, drum, gar, mooneye and sometimes MUSKIE can all present themselves for an opportunity to put a bend in your rod. We like to refer to these trips as ” warm water samplers “.