GATLINBURG (WATE) – It is finally feeling more like fall outside, but some are still feeling the effects of months of temperatures at or near 90 and little rain.
Some of those struggling the most are those looking to catch some fish in the Smokies. Fishing is a top sport in the rivers of Sevier County.
“We’ve got 800 miles of wild trout springs that I fish, that we take clients to. Then outside that, Gatlinburg program is a great program for people that want to get a mess of trout. You know, ‘I’d like some trout to eat,’” said Greg Ward.
Ward runs Rocky Top Outfitters, taking fishing groups out through the Smokies year-round, but this year has been a challenge.
“That river flow is 70 percent less than it should be this time of year,” he said. “The temperatures went into the 90s in mid-May and literally stayed there all the way through September.”
That heat combined with little rain means fish just cannot handle what is left of the waters. It forced Ward to cancel the 18th annual Fall Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament.
“The first time in 18 years, the Fall Trout Tournament. The reason I canceled it was I didn’t see in the long term when the river would straighten out,” he said.
Now as the fall temperatures arrive anglers like Ward are just looking for a little rain to help bring the fish back upstream.
“I truly believe that this is an anomaly,” he said.