Delayed Harvest Waters:
Unfortunately we have reached the time of year when these, some of our favorite waters, have changed classification. They have turned to catch and keep, but that does not mean there are no fish. Several of our DH waters do host natural reproduction, and many of the fish manage to avoid the sharp points of a crawler tipped treble hook. The fish who have survived, and the wild fish, will demand a much stealthier approach. Your fly selection should be mostly dries and a few emergers and nymphs for droppers. My selection would consists of Yellow Stimi’s in sizes 14-18, Light Cayhill’s in sizes 14-18, and Sulphurs16-18. For droppers my first choice would be a yellow soft hackle or a PMD loop wing emerger. I would also have some smaller golden stone imitations (i.e. boss hogs, copper micro stone, epoxy golden stones).
Wild Trout Water:
It is a wonder what a couple of good water years will do for a wild trout fishery. All wild waters are fishing wonderful. Most days droppers are not necessary. Use the same selection as mentioned in the Delayed Harvest section but throw in some size14-16 Yellow Drakes and size 8 Green Drake Dunns and Green Drake Spinners. This is the time of year when our (WNC) largest mayfly emerges. Look for silty areas in your favorite rivers and be there a couple of hours before dark.
South Holston River:
If you have a Tennessee license now is the time to make that journey. Make sure you know the release schedule, and have ample numbers of Sulphurs in your dry fly box. The hatches have been thick and the trout have been hungry. Typically the beginning of the hatch has coincided with the 1hr
mid day pulse, and has lasted late into the evening. There are many reports of people having to get off the river because of sore arms. Size 16 Sulphur comparaduns, and Sulpher Quill parachutes have been working wonderfully. Drop a split case PMD off the back, or a yellow soft hackle and you are guaranteed some action. Not familiar with the South Holston? We are booking both full day Float Trips and Wade trips on the South Holston right now!!
Now that the DH water has been opened up, expect the crowds on the Davidson to increase. Don’t be afraid to explore new water, and get away from the crowds. There is miles and miles of river both above and below the Hatchery that sees little to no traffic. The fish will be more eager and won’t be as selective. You won’t even have to bring your 7x tippet. The fly selection will be similar to the DH and Wild Section. Do your sanity a favor and make sure you have some Green Drakes. However if you are going to be fishing the Hatchery section make sure you have your 7x fluorocarbon and midges. Gray’s and Cream’s seem to be the color of choice for the midges right now but you can never forget the blood midges. Some of my favorites are Zebra’s in black and red size 18-22. Johnny Flash’s size 22-24, Miracle nymphs size 20-22, and the Brook’s Sprout midge in gray and cream size 24-26.