Passions & Pursuits

Late Winter on the Water

One of the major draws to being in Tennessee is the ability to have year-round outdoor recreation. We generally do not have a Winter wonderland involving deep snow and cold winds. Rather, up and down temperature swings between the 30’s and 70’s. For fly anglers, we are very much motivated based on water temperatures rather than air temperature. This year has been a rather soggy but warm Winter. This has offered up water temperatures in the high 40’s to low 50’s.

While we are warmer than most areas that are known more for the trout fishing, the Winter fishing tactics are very similar. We want to focus on slower moving water with access to deeper pockets. Trout will stack up in these deep pockets to conserve energy instead of fighting swift currents in riffles. Generally, this means if you can find one fish, you can focus your energy on that same spot to try and get another to strike.

Our local tailwaters have been pushing water that is only comparable to runoff in the western states. This means you will be either nymphing with an indicator set at 6 to 8 feet deep with enough split shot almost sink the boat. The fish are still active but are sticking very close to the bottom or the bank itself. This is an excellent opportunity to throw large streamers mimicking a baitfish or other trout. Throwing these types of flies is not for the faint of heart. It is very similar to casting a wet sock. However, the payoff can be amazing! There is nothing like watching a 20 plus inch fish move out to chase your streamer.

All in all, Winter and early Spring can be a special time to fish at Blackberry Farm. We have access to four local tailwaters to offer an amazing float trip with special scenic views. If you’re feeling a little more adventurist, we have wading trips in our backyard of the Smokies. Whichever trip you decide, I can guarantee that it will be a special memory that you will be talking about for years to come.

Josh Callihan, Fly Fishing Manager

Blackberry Farm was named one of the The 10 Best Fly-fishing Lodges Around the World in Men's Journal.

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