Tag Archives: Zebra Midges

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.



Warm weather and a New Year

Warm weather is on the way! I hope everyone is planning on fishing this weekend.

I’ll be working in the shop, Orvis – Sevierville, so stick one for me. If I did have the day off I’d would hit the Smokies and fish Little River for big brownies. They should Start getting active with the rising water temps. Be careful if the water is high.

Another good option would be the South Holston or Watauga rivers. Zebra Midges, Sulphurs and Blue Wing Olives would be great choices.

Tightlines and Happy New Years!


A few winter fishing tips

The weather here in East Tennessee has been less than accommodating for those of us who prefer to stand mid stream and ply our craft.  With temperatures that can be bone jarring cold and generation schedules on the tailwaters that offer very limited windows of opportunity, most times we are left holding a warm cup of coffee and staring out the window.

A lot of folks forgo fishing in the winter months, but it has been my experience, that if you are willing to be patient and use a few tricks, you can still have a productive day on the water. 

Here are a few…

If the generation schedule on your local tailwater will allow it, try fishing mid day.  Giving the sun an opportunity to do its thing and warm the water even a few degrees can make a huge difference in success or failure.

Along with this, it is important to realize that fish are more reluctant to move a lot in pursuit of food so an understanding of basic river hydrology in respect to prime fish locations is vital.  Areas that are stacked with trout in the spring, summer, and fall might not be as active in colder months.

Know what they are eating on a consistant basis.  For the most part, trout here on Tennessee tailwaters have a diet of midges that is year round.  This food source becomes even more important as the mayfly activity dies down.  You might find a Blue Wing Olive hatch, but if you want to step in the river with a tried and true producer in the winter, you cannot beat a midge.  Having midges tied in the smaller sizes (24-20), and various colors, will no doubt have you ready.

I also feel that it is important to cover as much of the water column as possible so I will tie a tandem rig with a bead head zebra midge tailed with an unweighted midge with some flash for a wing casing.  I can’t honestly say if the flash is the ticket, but every little bit helps.

Personal safety is always important on the water, but in winter it can be a matter of life or death.  The obvious plan is to lair up before putting on waders, but keep in mind that your layers also impede your mobility which means that moves you can make with ease in September may be risky when you cannot bend or move as easily.  I learned this lesson the hard way.  Trust me, layers can get you in trouble.

Another thing that ties in with that is the use of fleece.  If you have a well fitting fleece pullover, get it wet and see what happens.  It will magically grow three sizes, become heavy, and hold every ounce of water it comes in contact with.  When practical, use wool.  It stays warm when wet and doesn’t expand like fleece.

One day several years ago, I took a full plunge in the Hiwassee the day after Christmas.  Thirty degrees is cold, but when you are soaked to the bone, wearing fleece, and a mile from your vehicle, it is a level of misery best avoided.

Carry extra clothes, some of those hand/ foot warmers, move carefully, fish midges, and have fun.  Even when its cold, fish gotta eat.


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.


FlyFishTennessee Admin


Summer has been great

As we put a wrap on a great summer season, now is the time to be thinking about your fall and winter trips. The South Holston and Watauga have given us some great days of trout fishing this summer. We used Blackfly, Sulphur, Beetle, Ant, and Cranefly dry flies, and when there wasn’t a hatch it was Split Cases, Zebra Midges, Copper Johns, and San Juan Worms for the nymphing rigs.
The smallies were behind all season on their timing so it was shallow running streamers into the start of the summer and then they finally started looking up. Now it is white poppers and Gartside Gurglers. For the spin rod guys a small Pop-R is the lure of choice. The Pigeon River is rapidly becoming a popular destination for our trips, nice smallies, largemouth and walleye thrown into the mix.
Now is the time to book your trip to the private trophy trout waters in Southwest Virginia. We fish these waters all winter long. We have had some great catches on these waters during the late spring. On one of the rivers in the system there were fish landed that weighed 11, 13, and 17 pounds. You will catch 3 to 7 pound fish consistently on all the private waters we fish.

Starting Thanksgiving Weekend and running through March 13th, 2011 I will once again be running the Winter 6 Hour Float Trips for the discounted price of $235. These trips produced some nice brown trout while throwing big baits.
I will be in attendance November 6th & 7th at the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Expo in Asheville, North Carolina. Be sure to stop by the Orvis booth and watch me tie some of the flies I use on the Watauga and South Holston as well as the Holston Proper and Pigeon for smallies.

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.


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.


Holidays and Fishing

Working retail during the holidays is extremely busy. When I finally got some days off to visit with family and do a little fishing it was long awaited. I was able to get on the river with an old friend and do some fishing. It was a great day on the water.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


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