Category Archives: Clinch River

Clinch River fly fishing information

South Holston and Clinch March 16 thru 19, 2010

My best friend Wade came into to town for a few days to do some East Tennessee fly fishing. He had been working a bunch and really needed a break. We really lucked out with some great weather and excellent fishing. Also another buddy joined us for a couple of days from Indiana. It’s great getting on the water and sharing old stories all over again.

Wade and I have a really bad habit of planning fishing trips too early in the year and having to fight blizzards, tornado’s and severe thunderstorms. Just name it and I’m sure it has ruined at least one of our past fishing trips. The fishing gods must have been watching over us this trip as the weather got better and better.

Day one and two we headed up to the South Holston. The blue wings and black flies had been hatching in abundance. We got up early, ran into traffic, but made it on the water by 10:00am. Nymph fishing started the day off until the dry fly fishing got good and we switched to a blue wing with a black fly dropper.

We stayed at Holston Castaways, which gave us access to some great wade fishing water. Check out their website at Holston Castaways. They are great people and have really fair prices and perfect fisherman accommodations. Also on the second day we stopped in at Webb’s Market for some Breakfast/Lunch. We fished too long in the morning so all they had left was a little bit of biscuits and gravy, so we finished it off with their famous slaw dogs!

Day three and four we headed back to Knoxville to do a little fishing on the Clinch. I have been fishing the Clinch a bunch the last year and wanted to show it off to my friends. The fishing started off slow, but we eventually figured it out.

Small pheasant tails and zebra midges were on the menu. We saw a few sulphurs on the water, but not many. There were a good bit of midges hatching in the afternoon. However I couldn’t get them to eat the same midges we used on the Soho, but a size 22 zebra below a dry would get an eat.

Day two we opted to do some wade fishing instead of drifting. We started at the church early until the water rose and pushed us off the water. For lunch we stopped at Harrison’s off of the exit and were surprised to find some great wings and good beer on tap!

At the end of day four we all convened on the hill at Miller’s island still reminiscing about past fishing trips and stories when we were a little wilder or do I mean dumber. Either way we survived it all and hopefully there will be many more to come.


Birthday on the Clinch 1/18/2009

Got out with a few friends on the Clinch to celebrate a buddies birthday. The weather was amazing and the fish cooperated fairly well. We caught fish on zebras and pheasant tails sized 14 to 16.


Clinch Repeat

Generation is getting better and better every day. Mother nature also decided to ease up a bit on the weather. It ended up being an absolutely beautiful day. The original plan had been to float with a buddy, but that changed. He works nights and got in very late so it didn’t work out. I guess I won’t hold it against him this time. So instead I ended up driving around, looking at some new spots and hanging out at CROutfitters until the water dropped out enough to wade fish. Cal just started carrying Simms waders plus he got in a bunch of other stuff, it’s worth the stop. I like his shop a lot and he’s also got some great stories to boot.

The fishing was pretty good and the fish were all super healthy. I didn’t catch anything that big, but they were all great fish that pulled really hard. I’ve got my fingers crossed. This year could be the year to be on the Clinch.


What happened to 33 degrees!

Wow it was a frigid day on the Clinch. However we caught some fish and had a blast despite the cold temperatures. I don’t think it got above 30 degrees all day. Here is a few fish that fell for Pheasant Tails and Red Zebra Midges.


Clinch Sept. 13th and 16th

Wow, I’ve managed to get on the water a good amount so far this month and the fishing has been good. What makes it better is I have been able to share it with quite a few of my friends.

On the 13th I fished with Chad and Brad. Chad works part-time at the store and Brad works full-time. Even though Brad and I work together quite a bit, we usually work opposing schedules, so we have coverage in the fishing department at all times. This makes it hard to get away and fish together.

Chad with a nice Bow

On the 16th I had an old fraternity brother, who was in town with the family, and was able to get away for a day. I hadn’t seen Brent since his wedding 4 or 5 years ago and it was good to catch up and talk about the college days.

Both days we got on the water around 9am. The 13th was nice and sunny and the 16th was rainy and over cast. We caught good fish both days. Before the water came up we fished dry/dropper rigs, casting to the midging fish. After the water came up we would switch to heavier double nymph rigs with larger flies. I also had a couple of fish chase streamers on the 16th. So I’m excited to pursue some more streamer fishing next trip out.

Brent’s big Bow

Also on the sixteenth Brent landed his first Brook Trout and first Brown Trout ever. Plus he had a grand slam before we even made it to the first riffle below Peach Orchard. None of them were big, but it didn’t matter. Then later towards the end of the float he caught one of his largest Rainbows ever on a fly rod. It was very cool for me to have just been there to see it.

Brent’s Clinch Slam!
Brent’s Clinch Slam

Brad with a nice fish

I caught a few too

I have been amazed at every trip to the Clinch this year. The river is amazing and it shows me something new every time I go. I have been having a lot of fun fishing it this year and can’t wait to see what it holds this winter.

Kris Maurer


Clinch September 8th and 9th

Day One

It has been almost two weeks since my last fishing trip. That last day of work was brutal. All I could think about was fishing the next day.

The Clinch was back to running a favorable generation schedule for floating. Doug and I met up around eight in the morning and got on the water at about nine thirty after running a quick shuttle.

We started off with the normal dry/dropper rigs and caught a good number of smaller fish. Once we got down to the first set of riffles we switched over to a double nymph rig. The fishing wasn’t gang busters, but it was consistent and we would land or hook a good fish fairly consistently.

Later after dropping over one of the better shoals in the river, we anchored up the boat and got out for a little wade fishing. We were both wet wading and although the Clinch is very cold, it felt really good to cool off and get in the water. I kept with my double nymph rig and fished some faster water right below the main drop off and stuck six fish.

I am always amazed out how slow you can get the indicator to drift in heavy current with proper mending and line control. There are so may little micro eddies throughout a run. I don’t think “micro eddy” is a real term, but I hope you get the idea. It is usually when I find these slightly slower areas in heavy current that I pick up fish.

Shortly there after the water began to rise and we caught a few more as we floated with the rising water. All of these were really good fish. We were just floating with the current and every ten minutes or so we would have a fish eat. It doesn’t get any better than that. It reminded me of fishing on the Big Horn river and a few of the fish must have thought they were on the Big Horn, because they would pull like a freight train.

The next day, Wednesday, September 9th we headed up to do a little wade fishing, instead of taking the boat out again. On the way up Doug had to stop by CR Outfitters and talk to Cal. We ended up talking with Cal for almost an hour. He has got some great stories about the Clinch and has been fishing that river for a very long time. If you have a question he is definitely the guy to ask. Check them out atCR Outfitters.

Back to the fishing, so we got on the water a little later than we had hoped. we started right in front of the church and fished our way up to the second island. I picked fish up on Hickey’s Auto Emerger, Black Zebra Midges and a Pheasant tail pattern that we tie up. The rig I was using was a double nymph rig with the top fly tied off of a tag and a yarn indicator. I really like using yarn now, as they seem to be more sensitive than the others. If you watch me fish you will see me set the hook a lot. I’m not necessarily seeing the indicator go under, but just hesitate or a movement that I was not expecting, so I set the hook. Sometimes it’s a fish and sometimes it is not, but you won’t know if you don’t try.

Kris Maurer


Clinch River August 4th

A day that we could do no wrong. It is not very often that you have a day where everything comes together perfectly. The type of day that the fish cooperate and every fly that you pick seems to be the ticket. When those days happen you need to take advantage and really enjoy them. The only thing that makes it better is being able to enjoy it with friends.

It has been a few weeks since I last floated the Clinch. The rain and high water and possibly need for increased electricity had TVA running almost constantly. The flows are back to being conducive to floating and Doug and myself had the day off, so it seemed like a good idea to float. Coincidentally I had a new associate, John, start at the store and we invited him along as well.

We got on the water around 9:00am after having to weave the drift boat in between two bait fisherman’s cars. I don’t have anything against bait fisherman, but wish they would practice proper boat ramp etiquette. Anyways as soon as we got pushed off we started catching fish on dry dropper rigs. We stuck fish consistently all the way to first set of riffles. So consistently that Doug had landed 20 fish by the time we got to the first set of riffles and reluctantly handed the rod over to me so I could get off the oars. John had also landed a good amount, but was still getting some of the cob webs knocked off.

Doug and I continued to switch off about every dozen fish, which on this day didn’t take too long. Since John was the newbie he got the front of the boat pass. All newbies get this the first time, and if they fair well, they’ll get to row from them on.

Around noon we stopped for lunch and Doug got out to do a little wade fishing. I should say wet wading and for those of you that have fished the Clinch that is a cold proposition. While I was eating my sandwich I think I must have seen him land at least 8 fish!

Just as soon as we had pushed off John hooked up with a huge fish. All I saw was a gigantic brown tail flash as John set the hook. I thought this was the brown of a lifetime, but as it streaked by the boat I saw it’s big scales. It was a very nice carp. Although John had my 8’4″ 3wt Helios! in his hands with 6X tippet. I honestly thought there was no way we would land it, but I did my best to keep close to it with the boat as John played it perfectly. After a good fight we brought the bruiser to the net. Nothing better than a carp on a Midge with 6X tippet and a 3wt!

Just past Cold Water we got a text from Doug’s girlfriend saying that severe thunderstorms were heading our way. Honestly at this point we had caught more fish than should be allowed and we reeled in our rods and headed for the take out. We had been lucky enough all day and did not want to tempt our luck any longer. This had been one incredible day that will be remembered for a while.

Tips from the Trip: The rig of choice was dry dropper with and Adams size 14 dry fly and midge dropper. I don’t know if the dropper really mattered as the fish really wanted to eat that day. We used a red midge or the new Hickey’s Auto Emerger in Sulphur/PMD, both flies were size 16 to 18. Long leaders of 12ft and 6X fluorocarbon was a must.

Kris Maurer


Clinch River June

I’ve fished the Clinch six times in the last month and it has been fishing great! We’ve managed to catch good numbers and land a few respectable fish each trip. The menu has been made up of sulphur dries, split back sulphurs, pheasant tails and sow bugs in sizes 14 to 18. Most days We’ve kept the same size 16 split back sulphur on till it is literally shredded. Dry/dropper rigs or two nymph rigs with yarn indicators have been the name of the game. Once the sulphurs are done I’m sure it will switch over to more midges and standard tailwater fare.

Doug and I have floated Peach Orchard to the 61 bridge twice recently and fishing was spectacular. There is some really great water throughout that float. We landed fifty or more fish on each float. Both times we only made it about three fourths of the way before the water came up and pushed us out. There were only a couple places that get a little tight in a drift boat, but nothing unbearable and we had to get out once because we took a wrong turn around a shoal. I’m really looking forward to seeing the entire stretch on low water and really learning this river.


Clinch River 2/20

It was Wednesday, and presumably the nicest day of the week, so Sean and I decided to do some afternoon fishing on the Clinch. I must admit, that since moving to Tennessee, I have not given the Clinch its due. I used to live a half-mile from Twin Bridges on the South Fork of the Snake, and a 35 minute trip to the Clinch seems like quite a step down. I usually head to the National Park since it is only about 15 minutes farther away and I am a sucker for wild trout. Plus, since fishing in the Smokies is such a radically different style of fishing from western tailwaters, it can be judged on its own merits- and is a world class fishery in its own right. Comparing the Park to a tailwater is apples to oranges.

The weather wasn’t super cold, it was windy but the water was off. We started the afternoon at Miller’s Island and to our surprise there were only 2 other fishermen (another thing I like about the Park is the solitude if you are fishing more than a 1/2 mile from a parking spot).

There were fish rising on midges, but the wind was making casting 7x and midges difficult. The numbers of rising fish seemed low compared to calmer times, but we managed a couple of hookups. I was using a Griffith’s Gnat with a green midge dropper. Sean went double nymph.

I caught one of the prettiest brownies that I have landed in months. It wasn’t huge, especially by Clinch standards, but the colors were wonderful.

Sean caught a couple as well. When the wind really started to howl, we decided to pack it in. We drove up the the Weir Dam and scouted around a bit, but decided to roll back home ahead of the traffic.

It was nice to fish for just a couple of hours. I miss doing that, since when I head into the National Park it is usually for 6 hours or more. I know that there are more and bigger fish to catch on the Clinch and Holston, and as the spring progresses I am going to spend more time getting to know these two river that are so close to home.