After returning from my trip fishing for walleyes on the New River in West Virginia my focus has shifted to fish for smallies in the French Broad and Little Pigeon Rivers in East Tennessee. The extended period of unseasonably warm weather has the peak daytime water temperatures in the Little Pigeon River in the mid-sixties. The tailrace section of the French Broad downstream from Douglas Dam is much cooler with the daytime temperatures in the high forties to low fifties depending on the generation schedule at the dam. This is the time of year when the smallies start migrating from the French Broad into the Little Pigeon River to spawn. All indications are that this spawning run has started early due to the higher than normal water temperatures. I have not been catching large numbers of smallies in the French Broad and Little Pigeon, but the fish are good sized like the 20 1/2 in. 4 lb. 6 oz. smallie pictured above. Most of the smallies are running between 17 and 19 inches so it is quality vs. quantity at this point in the season.

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