Category Archives: Clinch River

Clinch River fly fishing information

New Clinch River Description by Rocky Top Anglers

Rocky Cox or Rocky Top Anglers is one of the best guides on the Clinch.  He shared some knowledge with us recently.  Enjoy.

  • Species: Rainbow, Brown Trout
  • Angler Type: Wade or Boat
  • Access Type: Public or Private

 Guides

Fly Shops

  • Orvis Sevierville
  • Little River Outfitters
  • Three Rivers Angler
  • Smoky Mountain Angler

Lodges/Rentals/Hotels/Campgrounds

Good Eats

  • Harrison’s Steak House
  • Golden Girls Restaurant
  • Waffle House
  • Git’n Go market

Description

The Clinch River originates in southwestern Virginia. It flows southwesterly into Tennessee where it gains water from the Powell River as well as several smaller tributaries. The river meanders over 300 miles from its source, through the rolling hillsides of east Tennessee until it reaches Kingston TN and it’s confluence with the Tennessee River.

The Clinch River was once one of the most lucrative mussel producing rivers in the country. The pearl industry was well established in the Clinch River and its tributaries as well. These industries died out early in the 20th century due to environmental issues associated with coal mining and the damming of the Tennessee River system.

Norris Dam was completed in 1936 and was the first dam completed in the Tennessee River system by the newly formed Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The dam created Norris Lake, a large, deep lake that collects run off from almost 3000sq miles. Coldwater discharge from the dam changed the environment downstream of the dam. The new tailwater became a perfect place to stock coldwater species, such as rainbow trout. Over the years, many other improvements have been implemented for the improved habitat and health of the river. These improvements include a weir dam (located appx 2 miles downstream of Norris Dam), oxygen injection units in the lake and mandated minimum flows.

These days, The Clinch River is most well known for the trophy trout fishery below Norris Dam. Each year many anglers visit to chase after rainbow, brown and sometimes brook trout. The river is home to the Tennessee record Brown Trout, weighing in over 28lbs. The tailwater is stocked with rainbow and brown trout, with some added natural reproduction. The river produces many trophy fish each year and the average fish is 12” to 14” inches. Progressive regulations on the Clinch tailwater call for the safe release of all trout between 14 and 20 inches, and only one trout per day over 20 inches.

The tailwater flows about 14 miles from the dam to the town of Clinton Tennessee and into the backwaters of Melton Hill Lake. Water levels in the river are dictated by activity at Norris Dam. Norris has the ability to push close to 10,000 Cubic Feet per Second (CFS) when both turbines are in operation. Long periods of zero generation will make many parts of the river wadable while any sustained flows from the powerhouse will likely raise the river to unsafe levels for wading. Boaters will need some water flowing from the powerhouse for safe navigation and should be alert while under power for submerged rocks and trees.

Click Here for TVA Generation Schedule

Safety

  • Always be aware of the water conditions and changing levels.
  • Know the predicted flow from TVA via phone or internet app.
  • These schedules are 99% but could and sometimes do change without notice.
  • Boaters should wear a typeIII USCG floatation device, must possess by law enough for all occupants.
  • Pack extra dry clothes and rain gear. Cold water temperatures can cause very cold fog, even in the heat of summer.

Clinch River Drain-Down and Travel Times

The River

The river can be broken up into three sections; the top, the middle and the bottom. The top section, from Norris Dam to the Miller Island boat ramp offers the best public access. Canoes and light watercraft can be launched near the dam at the Songbird Trail Canoe Launch (no actual boat ramp, requires portage to the river). The weir dam access offers portage across the weir dam and wading access. Much of the area downstream of the weir dam is wadable on low water conditions. Miller Island Boat Ramp offers access to larger vessels as well as the most wading areas on the tailwater.

The middle section begins at Miller Island and runs 3.5 miles downstream to the Peach Orchard Boat Ramp. The immediate area around Miller Island offers the best access for wade fishermen on the river during low water. Anglers can wade from Miller Island downstream for one mile to Massengill Bridge. Most all of the adjacent land is private so you must remain in the river bed below the high water mark. There are several road side pull-offs along River Rd where anglers can enter and exit the river. The next few miles has no river access for wading anglers or much wadable water for that matter and is better fished by boat. The river flows deep, even on low flows as it picks up its largest tributary near the I-75 Bridge. Coal Creek is a large tributary that will often muddy the entire downstream tailwater after heavy rain events. Peach Orchard Boat Ramp offers boat access only as all of the water around the ramp is much too deep to wade.

The lower river runs from Peach Orchard to the Hwy 61 Boat Ramp in Clinton, just a little over 7 miles. All of the land adjacent to the river is private and should be respected as such. The land owners are friendly but they don’t want to find you on their land without permission. This stretch of river offers some wadable shoals and plenty of long pools. Again, wading is only possible with low water. Public access can be found at the bottom of the lower section via the Second Baptist Church of Clinton. Anglers can park and access from their property. Much of this area is very wadable under low water to slightly higher water levels. It’s also a very popular destination due to its 4.5 hour lead time on dam generation. The final access on the tailwater is just downstream of the highway 61 bridge on the east bank. The Highway 61 Boat Ramp has a nice ramp and trash cans.

Tennessee Fishing Regulations

Suggested Rods/Reels/Lines

Angling tactics can vary greatly depending on the water flows. Low water flows will allow light nymph fishing, dry fly fishing, wet fly applications as well as light to heavy streamer fishing. Rod choices will run the entire spectrum but long rods between 9’ and 10’ feet work best as they will allow you the best line control during drifts. Four to six weight rods will cover most situations on low water, but a six weight would probably cover the most tactics in one rod. High to medium water flows are usually best covered with streamers and deep nymphs. Although, insects often hatch well on high water and fish can be found sipping them. Again, rod choice is dictated by what you want to do and what you observe. Six to eight weight rods are best when it comes to streamers and sinking lines but a five weight may cover the rising fish best. Long, fine leaders ranging in length from 9 to 15’ and in strength from 4 to 7x are required for most Nymphing and Dry fly fishing setups. The use of fluorocarbon tippets and tungsten weights are recommended for all Nymphing applications. Streamer leaders can be much shorter and beefier. I usually use 4 to 6 foot lengths of fluorocarbon ranging from 8 to 20 lbs for streamer fishing applications.

The Clinch River is a very rich tailwater and has a very healthy biomass. Midges are abundant and available year round. Trout will gorge on midges in all stages of life from pupa to adult. Sow bugs and scuds are also present in great numbers in many sections of the river. These small crustaceans (#12-#22) offer high protein meals and are also a favorite of trout year round. The largest and most sought after hatch of the year are the sulphurs which historically begin late April to early May and continue into early June. Some years the hatch can come early or even extend well into October. Several species of caddis flies emerge in the fall with the small black and green (#18-#20) being a favorite.

  • 4 to 6 weight rods, 9 to 10’ in length for dry fly, Nymphing or light streamer fishing.
  • 9 to 16 foot leaders, tippets from 5x to 7x. Fluorocarbon for Nymphing and streamer fishing.
  • 6 to 8 weight rods for streamer fishing.
  • Short 4 to 6 leaders in heavy fluorocarbon weights 8 to 20lbs.
  • Tungsten bead nymphs; Pheasant tails, midge pupa & larvae, sow bugs. Sizes from #12 – #20
  • Sulphur dries, emergers and nymphs (#14-#18), Midge emergers (#18 – #22), Black Caddis (#18-#22)
  • Terrestrials, Ants, Beetles and Hoppers.
  • Streamers

Public Access Points

  1. Songbird Canoe Access
  2. Clear Creek Access
  3. Wier Dam Access
  4. Miller’s Island Ramp
  5. Peach Orchard Ramp
  6. Second Baptist Church of Clinton
  7. Highway 61 Bridge Ramp

Getting There

The Clinch River tailwater is located just Northwest of Knoxville TN off of Interstate 75. All public access points can be reached in 5 to minutes from exit 122 (Clinton/Norris). The upper river and Miller Island accesses can be reached travelling east on hwy 61 to hwy 441. Turn left onto 441 and travel 2 miles. Turn left onto River Rd to reach Miller Island Boat Ramp and various right of way access closer to Massengill Bridge. Continue on 441 to TVA access at the Weir Dam and along the river via the Songbird Trail. The Peach Orchard access can be reach off of hwy 61 onto Hillvale Rd. Peach Orchard Road is on the left with signage to the boat ramp. Highway 61 Boat Ramp and the Second Baptist Church of Clinton are along the river and just off of highway 61 in Clinton TN, 3 miles west of I-75.

Purchase a Tennessee Fishing License

Local weather forecast.

Clinch River posts and reports!

 

facebookmailfacebookmail

Fly Fishing the Clinch River

May 2nd on a Pheasant Tail Nymph
May 2nd on a Pheasant Tail Nymph

Looking back at a few old fishing reports it is evident that May and June is when I have experienced some very good and consistent fishing on the Clinch River. However in years past we have had some very high spring water levels to deal with which has limited the fishing. So far this TVA has been giving us better flows earlier than I have seen in a quite some time. We have already heard of some lower river Sulphur hatches around the Hwy 61 bridge.

On a recent Sunday trip with the wife and dog, although I was not seriously fishing, I did manage some quality fish in a short amount of time. I believe that this action will only get better as we move into June.

At the shop many people come in and say that they have difficulty fishing the Clinch or do not know what to do. I’ll attempt to simplify it here. First a quick disclaimer, that I am not a guide nor do I get to fish as much as I used to, so the below tips are just a collaboration of my observations over the last 10 years.

Sulphur
Sulphur Mayfly

The Bugs: Their are really only two main bugs to worry about on the Clinch in my opinion. The first and most prevalent are midges and the second is the Sulphur. Midges are typically very small in size (20-22), but will be very prevalent at times. The zebra midge is the most common pattern to mimic this food source. When the Sulphurs are active, the fishing will be at it’s peak. The Sulphur is a larger mayfly in size 14 to 18. Pheasant Tail nymphs and Sulphur dry fly patterns are the typical flies to match this bug.

The River: The Clinch River is a tail-water below Norris Lake and Dam. It is a TVA controlled impoundment. The dam is managed for hydro-electric power, flood control and downstream barge traffic. With that in mind the angler on the Clinch River must be ready for anything. TVA does post their “predicted” flows on their website www.tva.gov however this can change at a last minutes notice. When TVA turns on the turbines or releases water for generation it can rise rapidly and it is advised that anglers exit the water during the generation. In general there are no wade fishing opportunities once the generation has started.

brownclinch
Clinch River Brown Trout

The Fish: Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout are the two most prevalent species in the tail-water section. Although the river does hold large Striped Bass and I have heard of an occasional walleye being caught by accident. TWRA does stock both rainbow and brown trout on a yearly basis however there are opinions that some wild reproduction does take place as well. You will typically catch a mixed bag of both freshly stocked fish and hold over fish that will put up a great fight.

The Gear: My friends and I will fish the Clinch with either a nymph/dry fly rod or a streamer fly rod. Here I will only get into the nymph/dry fly rod as talking about streamer fishing is much more advanced and would take much longer and I said I was going to simplify this. The most common fly rod to use will be an 8’6″ to 9′ 4weight or 5weight fly rod. I would always put on a fly reel with a smooth adjustable drag and load the reel with the appropriate weight forward fly line. The water is very clear and the fish are very wise so we always fish a long leader 9ft plus in 4X to 5X and then add fluorocarbon tippet in 5X and 6X to our flies. If I use a strike indicator I will keep it as small as possible so as to not spook the fish. You will also want waders and good wading boots because the water is frigid year round.

leadertippetThe Fishing: When we fish for the day I will typically first check the generation schedule to ensure that we will have some wade fishing opportunities.  You can get an idea of what TVA has been doing over the course of the last couple days by keeping an eye on the generation schedule.  Also note that during May thru October TVA has an advised recreation schedule posted on the generation page, which will give you an idea on the weekend predicted flows.  We will typically rig our rods with one small indicator and down to 6X fluorocarbon tippet for the early morning midge bite, then as the day progresses we will switch over to the Pheasant Tail nymphs.  If we are lucky enough to be there during a Sulphur hatch we may fish a dry fly with a Pheasant Tail dropper.  When you are fishing try to be stealthy and focus on the moving water and seams around drop offs, ledges or any other underwater structure.  The fish will use this as a current break when they are feeding.  Focus on getting a drag free drift and explore different areas and sections of the river.

Rainbow Trout on Clinch RiverThe Regulations: The Clinch River is managed by TWRA as a Special Trout Regulation Zone.  From Norris Dam downstream to Hwy 61 bridge, including tributaries; All trout 14 to 20 inches must be released unharmed.  You are allowed to keep up to 7 fish, however only 1 fish can be over 20 inches in length.  This regulation helps to maintain a healthy catchable size fish.

Stream Etiquette: Many different types of people recreate on the Clinch River.  You will find both fly fishermen and spin fishermen.  There are fly fishing guides that float the river as well as recreational paddlers and kayakers.  Some folks will fish upstream while others will fish downstream.  The point is that everyone is out to enjoy the river and common courtesy should be practiced at all times.  There is ample amount of river and fish for everyone, so spread out find your own area to fish and have a good time.  Be sure to offer up a warm smile and wave for everyone that is out and enjoying the water.  Be safe and have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

facebookmailfacebookmail

C.R. Outfitters moves location!

So I need to apoligize to Cal and Chris, for just now getting this up, but here it is guys. C.R. Outfitters has moved locations, just a little farther down the road from thier old location. Thier new address is:

C.R. Outfitters
3310 Andersonville Highway
Andersonville, Tenn. 37705
865.494.2305
croutfitters@msn.com

I’ve heard some good reports coming from Clinch, when they aren’t running water. Stop in and holler at Chris and Cal, they’ll give you the run down on what’s happening.

facebookmailfacebookmail

The Clinch gives up another surprise!

Made it out to fish with a friend that happened to be passing through town.  I had a mid-term to study for, so I could only fish half of the day .  We decided on the Clinch as it is only about 20 minutes from the house.  Plus, it has been giving up some really chunky fish this year.  The fishing was slow at first, but as the fog burned off we got into some really fat Rainbows.  Indicator nymph rigs produced with pheasant tails winning over zebra midges again. 

The big surprise came towards the end of the day when TJ stuck a really nice rainbow.  As he was fighting it to the boat, I hear him start to holler, so I jump out of the rowers seat to see a HUGE striper trying to eat his rainbow.  It was very exciting for a couple of seconds.  TJ said the striper at one point actually had the fish about half way in his mouth.  Also this was no dinker rainbow, it was a 17 1/2 incher (we taped it)!

It never fails, just when the day seems like it will turn out to be normal, something like this happens.  I guess it is things like this that keep me coming back.  You never know what is around the corner.

facebookmailfacebookmail

Clinch River Heats Up

The generation on the Clinch has not been the best this year due to very high water.  In addition to work, I have also been working on my MBA through Tennessee Tech, which has limited the amount of fishing that I’ve been able to do.  So this last weekend was a great treat.  I had worked all Memorial Day weekend, so I managed a five day weekend off.  Also my mother and father were going to come down on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  The plan was for my father and I to fish on Friday, so I figured I should do some pre-fishing on Wednesday and Thursday, as a good son should.

We are also in the middle of heat wave so I opted to only fish for about six hours or so in the morning so that I would be off the water by noon and could get some things done around the house the later part of the day.  Oh the joys of home ownership and having a beatiful yard of clover!

On Wednesday I fished by myself out of the drift boat which is not really the easiest thing to do.  Trying to man the oars, control the anchor and cast to rising fish while floating down a moving river is somewhat complicated.  The best way that I’ve found is to cast way infront of the boat then drift with your fly while you have the rod proped up with your feet.  Also, of course you can anchor up in good riffles and fish them the way you normally would.  Just a note, but landing bigger fish from a boat with a 9′ 4wt. and 6X tippet by yourself is a little tricky, make sure you have the big net.

The conditions Thursday were going to be the same as the day before, but this time I had two friends that were coming along.  Mike and I had fished together before, but David the other gentleman had not fly fished in over fifty years.  I really wanted to get David on a fish, but it was great to hear his past fishing stories also.  I wish I could go back in time and fish some of the places I fish today before they ever became popular.  Some of them wouldn’t probably exist, but others would be lights out.

The fishing Thursday was pretty good and really heated up during a one hour pulse that came through.  I think that little bit of increased flow really makes the trout happy.  We landed some nice fish and lost even nicer ones, but that’s how it goes.  If I landed every big fish I hooked, what fun would it be.

On to the last day, Friday, again the conditions were pretty much the same as the last two days.  We opted again to fish in the morning as to get off the water before the heat set in.  My father has only done a little bit of fly fishing and not caught much.  Today however was a little different.  We caught some good fish early in the day, but the highlight was the one that got away.  Towards the end, my dad hooked a monster Rainbow Trout!  We fought it for a good bit, but right at the end the big Rainbow  made one last ditch dive under the boat and spit the hook.  So goes it, but I’ll be back.

The Clinch is fishing good and the river really seems to have some great fish in it right now.  We caught all of our fish on Split Case Sulphurs size 16 and 18, Black Zebra Midges size 18 and 20 and Bead Head Pheasant Tails 14 to 18.  If you are needing a guide for the Clinch check out the following CR Outfitters and Smoky Mountain Gillies.

facebookmailfacebookmail

Size doesn’t matter with a skunk on your back

Okay…go ahead and admit it.  You’ve been guilty of wishing for a small fish.  Sure, we all hop in the water with visions of one of those grip and grin laviathans that will make us the envy of all our angling buddies.  We picture the perfect hookset, the admirable fight, the headfirst guide into the net, a smattering of accolades from angls who saw the whole thing and were impressed by your skill.

Then the real world hits…

You’ve been fishing for four hours and haven’t got so much as a twitch.  Nada.  Nothing.  It is around this time, when you can see the end of your trip in the distance, that you are just wanting to get the skunk off your back, just one fish to justify the trip, just one fish to put a bend in the rod; even if the fish is so small that the rod only bends a couple of inches from the tip.  It is moments like that when you don’t really want to impress anyone, you just don’t want to be the poor schmuck who leaves without anything.  This usually occurs when those around you are catching a few.  Pride has a way of making us ruthless in our desire not to be odd man out.

Recently, I was on such a trip, in this exact set of circumstances.  I was fishing with my ol’ buddy Jermz, who by the way is one of the most prolific anglers I have ever seen.  I’ve even seen him catch fish literally right on top of his boot in six inches of water.  Love the guy, but sometimes I just wish I’d see him get skunked.

To continue with the story…I got to the river at around six, full of the aforementioned thoughts of glory.  He showed up about fifty yards down stream three hours later.  I had yet to get a bump.  Not fifteen minutes later and he has an impressive bend in his rod.  So, in line with these modern times, I broke the anglers code and called him on my cell phone.

“Hey man!”, he says full of glee.
“What did you catch that one on?”
“Pheasant Tail”
“Thats what I am using and haven’t caught any.”
“C’mon down!”

So, with my tail between my legs, I wade downstream.  He caught three more by the time I arrived.

Two hours at least pass and I reached the point where I was just hoping for a minnow.  Then I notices a healthy Sulphur hatch.  Of course, I had no Sulphurs.  The only thing I had close in color was a size 14 Yellow Humpy.  Not exactly matching the hatch.

Three or four unproductive casts, and then it happened.  WHAM!!!! A trout that we both agreed would go t least 24 inches came roaring skyward with my fly in its jaw.  I set the hook and the fight was on…for all of about five seconds.  That beast snapped 5x tippet without slowing down.  Never even got him turned.  He felt the hook and just took off.  I was left shaking and empty handed.

“My God that was a monster!” He says.

“I never had a chance.”

“He was so big he could hardle get airborne.”

“Yep.”

In the next two hours, neither of us got another hit.  Storms rolled in.  The day was done.

No, I didn’t catch a single fish.  I left with the skunk I rode in on.  But that morning, I hooked a fish of impressive length and girth in full view of one of the most respected anglers in my circle of friends.  If only for five seconds, I was on top of the world, and I had a story to tell.  A story to tell with a witness.  Sometimes that is enough.  Even though the smell of fish was absent as I slid into my ride and headed home.

facebookmailfacebookmail

A taste of spring

I made it out and fished the Clinch on Friday with a couple of friends. The fishing was not great to say the least but we had a great time anyways. I was just happy to be floating down the river again.

We only landed a dozen fish, but a couple were really nice. The highlight was when I stuck a little rainbow and this huge brown trout came after it like he was gonna eat it!

Flies of the day were red and black zebras in size 18 to 20. No real surprise there.

It’s gonna be a great weekend so I hope everyone has the chance to hit the water.

Tightlines!

facebookmailfacebookmail

How it all started

On the Clinch River in East Tennessee, west of interstate 75 as it bridges the water at breakneck speed is a mass of T.V.A. power lines that keep the City of Knoxville and points beyond supplied with electricity.  The water beneath these lines is deep and clear, full of large rocks and twisted deadfall.

Wading isn’t an option in this stretch of the river, but the bank is often cluttered with corn cans that linger until high water flushes them further down stream.  If you want to work the river from the bridge to the power lines a water craft of some sort is mandatory.

The Clinch isn’t a world class span of water, but it does hold a respectable population of browns, rainbows, and recently they added brooks to the foray.  The size of the fish caught is usually in the mid sized variety though an occasional leviathan is spotted.  This river in all its normalcy is special to me because it was in this place that I discovered my love of fly fishing.

It was the summer of my 40th birthday.  Up to that point in my life I had been a basic bank fishing worm dunker.  The most exotic angling I ever ventured to do was cast a Jitterbug or Hoola Popper to pond bass.  The overall vision of river fishing in my mind was sitting on the bank pitching chicken liver for catfish.

My best friend had been fly fishing for a while and despite his persistent urging that I give it a try, I remained resistant.  It seemed like to much work to catch a tiny fish, and frankly it just looked to hard to be fun.  His consistent assurance that I would love it was respectfully dodged till my birthday.

With some money I had been given as a gift, I bit the bullet and purchased some gear.  The rod was a nine foot five/six weight Phlueger combo with double taper line that I got for thirty five bucks at Wal-Mart.  This seemed to me like a total waste of money, but I guessed that I could put a spinning reel on it and bluegill fish.

When I got home I called my buddy and set the fishing trip for the following Saturday.  He told me to pick up some flies, we set the time, and my fate was sealed.

Selecting flies for my first trip was the equivalent of trying to translate the Magna Carta into Mandarin.  The Friday before my trip, I went to a fly shop on the west end of town.  It was a small place tucked at the very back of an old strip mall.  Several trucks were parked out front, I pulled in along side them and peered through the mosaic of stickers adorning the window. 

Gathering my nerve, I walked in the door and was immediately greeted by and old black lab who bumped me with his graying muzzle.  I rubbed his head and walked on in, trying to look like I knew what I was doing.  I am quite sure that I looked as lost and out of place as a Nascar fan at a performance of Swan Lake.

“Can I help you?”, the guy behind the counter asked.  He was polite enough, but his voice held a hint of indifference which implied either I had walked into the wrong store, or I was as lost as a ball in high weeds.  It didn’t take him very long to get me figured out.

“I’m heading up to the Clinch.  What are they hitting?”  Let me just state now for the record that if you go into a fly shop and ask that question, you might as well have a red flag dangling over your head.  I am sure the guy behind the counter could see the donkey ears and buck teeth protruding from my face.

“Pheasant Tail”

  He may as well have said Pig Ears.

“Do you have any?”  Oh, this was getting bad.  By now the donkey tail had emerged from my back and a Hee-Haw was welling up in my throat.

“Over there in the flies.”

“What size?” 

“Twenty.”

I looked around and found the tray that said Bead Head Pheasant Tail size twenty.  It was the only slot that was nearly empty.  Just a small was of very small hoods with tiny gold beads.

At this point I was sure that this guy was playing me.  I could hardly see the eye of the hook let alone try to fish with this thing.

Embarrassed, I picked up a few, put them in a cup, paid my money, and walked out with my donkey ears drooping and my fly swatting tail tucked meekly between my legs.

The lab looked up at me sympathetically from his spot by the t-shirt rack.  I felt like he had seen this all happen many times before.

To be continued…

facebookmailfacebookmail

Clinch river 11/15 and 11/16

Sorry for the late post, but go fish!

We floated on Monday on the upper river as TVA was generating almost all day.  picked up fish on red zebra midges and pheasant tails on deep nymph righs.  We also threw Kelly Galoup’s Articulated Sex Dungeon on a full sink line and caught a couple of browns and bows.  Great day!

I had some errands to do on Tuesday morning so I did not get on the water till around 11:00am.  However I did fish till dark.  Big surprise, but zebra midges did the trick.  There were a few sporadic caddis hatching, but I did not catch any on top.  Water was off most of the day so it was all wade fishing. 

It was two really great days of fishing.  Also the browns are starting to redd up.  Please respect them and do not harass them on the beds.  I know a lot of folks say that the spawning is not successful, but if you catch a fish that is on a redd, you run the chance of killing the fish as all of his energy is going to spawning.

Tightlines!

FlyFishTennessee Admin

facebookmailfacebookmail

Clank and Topper fish the Clinch 5/30/10







Happy Memorial Day. I want to thank those who have given their lives and those who put their lives at risk to give me the freedom to be a Trout Bum.

I hope everyone has been able to hit the water at some point this weekend. I got to spend the day on the Clinch with Doug “Topper” Moore. While I am a competent guide on the Clinch and I know the river fairly well, Doug has logged many more hours on the river both guiding and fishing than I have.

The TVA was giving us a recreational release schedule today. The water was off until 10am, they ran 1 generator from 10am-2pm, and kicked on a second at 2. This is the ideal schedule to do a Peach Orchard to Hwy 61 float. Conditions were perfect. There was thick fog on the water, and pretty solid overcast above. We put on about 8:30am and threw dry dropper rigs as we floated down to the first shoals. This is usually a productive stretch, but we only caught one on the way down. However, once we reached the shoals things started to pick up. We started to catch fish on a PT nymph dropped about 24″ below an elk-hair caddis. We also picked up a few on a double nymph rig in some of the deeper slots. A had my grand slam (Brown, Rainbow, and Brookie) completed by 10am or so.


We picked our way through the shoals and continued picking up fish in both the tailing riffles and flat water. Hitting the edges of structure is always a good idea, and this proved true today as well. The water reached us in the vicinity of Coldwater Farm, and things just got better. We caught fish on dry/dropper rigs, double-nymph rigs, and even picked a few on a small olive bunny streamer on a sinking line.

The sulphurs started to pop shortly after and fish started to rise. We might have done well if we switched to sulphur dries, but the PT nymph was producing so well that we never bothered. A few fish even rose and took the Elk-hair.




Sight-fishing to rising trout is one of the most exciting ways to fish. We would see a rise, cast about 6 feet above it, and when the nymph drifted by the fish would usually take it. When it started to rain the fishing got even better.

We lost track of the number of fish we boated, but it was several dozen between us. The majority were in the 12-15″ range, but we caught several larger fish between 15-18″. All in all a fantastic day on the River with a great friend.

If you can get out tomorrow, I would highly recommend it.

facebookmailfacebookmail