**Updated August 21, 2015
The wild waters in western North Carolina are currently running at less than half to as much as less than one-third of their normal flows for this time of year as the short-term near drought continues to prolong. This doesn’t mean the fishing is bad. Reports have suggested hungry fish willing to eat. We would encourage fly anglers to be extra considerate of the fish during this stressful low, warm water condition that we’re in right now. The fish are under immense stress right now just to stay alive and get enough to eat. Why, you ask? Low water creates softer flow, which means less tumbling and turning of the water which creates free oxygen for the fish to absorb from the water. Warm water holds less oxygen than cooler water. So the fish are in double jeopardy for oxygen absorption right now. Couple that with the movement of fish from normally skinny riffles that current bare bones trickles to deeper runs and there are lots of fish piling up in the same pools. This situation creates an abundance of competition for the biomass allocated to those deeper pools. We would encourage you to “keep them wet” by not taking the fish out of the water, redoubling your efforts at smashing down barbs, and strongly limiting hero photos. Fall will be here soon with hopefully some tropical remnants filling up the water table and cooler temps.
The tailraces of eastern Tennessee have been fishing extremely well. The South Holston has been excellent. Sulphur hatches have been starting daily at 2:00 and by 2:30, fish all along the upper river and eating an abundance of adult, emergers, cripples, and dead bugs. Depending on the day, the hatch has been going strong until 4:30-6:30. After the hatch dies off, be sure to look for the back eddies where the crippled bugs and dead bugs get trapped and the fish can easily much on them. Vice-President John Zimmerman, co-owner of Upper Creek Angler guide services, strongly recommends #16 sulphur patterns in a variety of yellow color spectrums and variations. One day they’ll eat this–and the next day they’ll eat that! Feel free to e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information on how things are fishing on east Tennessee and in western North Carolina.