KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — On the banks of the Tennessee River near the Fort Loudoun Dam, water crashes over the rocks and spills on to the sidewalk as Kyle Eady braves the rain to test his luck with his fishing rod.
"Rain or shine, I come out regardless," said Eady. "I expected the rain and I didn’t plan on going home when it started raining. I’m ready."
The past few rainy months have caused the water levels to rise, keeping anglers on shore instead of wading through the river.
The National Weather Service said more than 11 inches of rain have fallen in Knoxville since Dec. 1. That’s more than three and a half inches above average.
"High waters have kept us off the rivers most of the winter. October is the last time I ran a guide trip," said Allen Gillespie, owner of 3 Rivers Angler. "If this is your normal depth, we’ve gone to, well I can’t even do it with my hands the level we would typically like to see for ideal fishing conditions."
The rain has put a damper on Gillespie's business.
High water levels have made it nearly impossible to fly fish on rivers where he would normally take guided tours.
"It’s just too much water," said Gillespie. "At some point, you have to start considering that the spring is also going to be affected, already and here we are in the middle to latter part of January."
"What we’ve seen is a pattern of around two inches every week or four or five days," said James Everett with the TVA River Forecast Center. "We are seeing and have already seen record amounts of rainfall."
With more rain in the forecast, the TVA said they’re prepared to continue spilling from their dams for the foreseeable future.
"It’s a little unusual to spill that many locations along our main river for that kind of duration," said Everett. "Anybody that chooses to be on the river this time of year, we urge them to use extreme caution."