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Small Streaming to Beat the Heat


photo by Bruno Poço


Despite a pretty good looking forecast for the next few weeks, the recent heat mixed with low rain totals has a lot of the coldwater fisheries dealing with temps hovering at dangerous levels for trout fishing. We may be dipping into the upper 80s on dry land, but the water temperatures don't show signs of cooling off just yet. That means that fishing for trout in some sections of local rivers (yes, even on tailwaters like the Hiwasee and Elk) is likely to kill fish, even if unintentionally. Catch and release isn't worth a hill of beans if the fish die later on, but don't fret, there are still plenty of accessible waters where temperatures are still in the safe zone. You just have to think...smaller...


The Elk has been sluicing, The Caney and Clinch are covered in float tubes and kayaks, The Hiwassee is covered in people, and the Tellico is too warm everywhere below the North River confluence...yea, it's been a weird year, and though it's great that everyone has found solace in the outdoors, it's made finding space on the river a bit challenging. Luckily, there's plenty of untrampled water to go around. Maybe its time you ditched the big rivers and made your way into the shady creeks and streams for some quality backcountry fishing.


photo by Bruno Poço


Sure, backcountry fish are typically smaller, but I promise you that you will find more beauty and enjoyment in these wild fisheries than you will in the put-and-take waters where while the summer sun is beating down.


For those hell bent on catching trout, the Tellico tributaries, like the North River and Bald Creek are fishing well and holding colder temperatures than their downstream counterparts--not to mention the countless streams scattered throughout the smokies.


photos by Seth Fields


For those looking for something closer to home, the backcountry smallmouth bite has been very strong on streams like North Chick, Big Soddy, and just about every small stream in the region.


Whatever water or species you choose, your bound to find eager fish willing to take dry flies, and, at the end of the day, it just feels nice to hold a wild or native fish in hand. Stop by the shop sometime, and let us get you hooked up with right flies, gear, and tackle to make the most of these small streams and the awesome fish that live in them. - The Hatch

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