When is the Best Time to Go Fly Fishing in East Tennessee?

East Tennessee has some of the best fly fishing destinations in the United States. Wild brown and brook trout thrive in numerous trout streams. The Watauga River, South Holston River, and Boone Lake are all great spots for guided fly fishing in East Tennessee. And of course, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park contains some of the most pristine wild trout waters anywhere. When is the best time to go fly fishing in East Tennessee? Whenever you have the time to fish! East Tennessee Guide Service conducts guided tours with amazing fly fishing opportunities all year long. When should you plan for the best fishing? Let’s break down fly fishing in the different seasons.

The Best Seasons for Fly Fishing in East Tennessee

It’s important to consider the season when planning a fly fishing trip to East Tennessee. Of course, as our residents already know, the weather changes almost hourly in our part of the state. A bad morning can turn into a fantastic afternoon for fishing. Generally, the best time for trout fishing is during the spring and fall months when the weather is mild and water temperatures are ideal. During the spring, the hatches are plentiful, and the fish are active after a long winter. Late spring is particularly good for fly fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Summer Fly Fishing

Summer can also be a great time to fish, especially in the first part of June. As the temperatures rise during the summer months, low and mid-elevation mountain streams like those in the Cherokee National Forest, particularly larger ones, begin to “slow down” as water temperatures warm. Better fishing can be found on smaller, more canopied streams and at higher elevations during much of the summer.

Fall Fly Fishing

Fall is also a great time for fly fishing as conditions get mild again and fishing can be great in the mountains. It’s a dryer time, so it’s a pretty safe time to schedule a trip and avoid rain. However, water levels are lower, and fish are a little spookier. We see a little more rain in November in East TN, but temperatures are still fairly mild, making for good fishing through the end of November most years.

Winter Fly Fishing

Winter is the toughest time for fishing in the mountains, especially in January and February. The Delayed Harvest streams, the Clinch River, and the Watauga River are the best bet at this time. December is usually a great month for Delayed Harvest water.

The Best Time of Day for East TN Fly Fishing

The best time of day to fish is early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the light is low. Trout are most active during these times, making it a great time for dry fly fishing. However, the midday hours can also be productive. While the fish may not be as active on the surface, they can still be caught using nymphs and streamers. East Tennessee’s weather is unpredictable, so it’s important to be prepared for anything. If it’s been raining heavily, the water levels may be a bit high for fishing. On the other hand, if it’s been dry for a while, the water levels may be pretty low. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and adjust your plans accordingly.

When Is the Best Time to Go Fly Fishing in East Tennessee? Cutting to the Chase

Essentially, the best time to go fly fishing in East Tennessee is during the spring and fall months, early in the morning or late in the afternoon, and when the weather and water conditions are favorable. But perhaps most importantly, the best time to go fly fishing is whenever you can. East Tennessee Guide Service offers different guided trips on several waters in the region. Call 423-398-8885 to plan your guided trip today. Don’t wait to get out there and enjoy the beauty of East Tennessee’s rivers and streams – you never know what you might catch!


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