High Water, High Flows, but the Fish Gotta Eat!
With all of the rain we have had over the past few MONTHS, that has kept local streams high and the lakes all of those streams flow into, higher. Around Boone, the local streams regulate fairly quickly and the water levels go down to fishable levels fairly quickly after a heavy rainfall. At the current moment, our water levels are great. The fishing conditions are ideal! All of the Delayed Harvest sections have been stocked and the fishing is great. BE AWARE...Hatchery Supported streams are closed to fishing during the month of March. They will reopen Saturday, April 6. We are still having most of our success with subsurface flies. Small is key in the winter and is still having the most success. Midges, small PT's, hares ears, winter black stones, and beatis nymphs. When we have rising fish, they are feeding on small midges or beatis, so go small on the dries too.
The tailwaters of the Watauga and South Holston are running HIGH. If you are looking to wade those rivers, good luck! They have had very brief windows, on both, with wadable flows, but it has been rare over the last few months. With the lake levels, it looks like that trend will continue. The good news is; if you have a boat or are able to to float trips, the fish are used to the high, fast water, and are willing to eat. The key is heavy, deep rigs on high water. We have had many days of good dry fly action, as well. We are getting close to some really good hatches...The caddis hatch on the Watauga and the sulphur hatch on the SoHo. They do not disappoint and we will keep you posted on when they are in full swing.
We are all sick of the rain, but don't despair. The fish have to eat and all we have to do, is adapt to how they are feeding. That's what makes fishing great...you have to adapt and figure the fish out regularly. If you did the same thing every day; day in, day out, it wouldn't be much fun. Sometimes you have to work for it. Good luck and get out there!