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2weightfavorite
04-20-2013, 06:43 PM
Fished the clinch today at the dam, weir, and the church. Caught fish at every spot, however the church and the weir is where I caught the most. Midges up towards the dam seemed best and at the church they wanted pretty much any small nymph. I did see some sulphers hatching around 3 o clock at the church, but the hatch was sparse at best. Its been a while since I caught as many as I did today in all three locations..

Corbo
04-21-2013, 06:34 AM
Started behind Miller's Island about 12 PM... alot of folks were leaving and reported no catch... saw a fellow from Kodak land a nice bow about 20 inches on his green hotspot quasi and landed a smaller bow myself on size 16 BWO parachute... fish were eating them on a sparse mixed hatch with sulphurs.... wicked picky eaters on the slooooow water.

THEN THE SIREN WENT OFF... WAY EARLY

Went to church and hurled everything till dark; one pull on a streamer. Saw sulphurs, a few olives and "midge balls" extremely sparse hatch... no surface activity and observed no landed fish by the few who were still on river.

Saw several guides float past with "sports" who reported a lot of casting practice.

Cool & Blustery all day; pleased I brought a six weight to pound through it.

MadisonBoats
04-21-2013, 07:22 AM
I thought Saturday fished very well. The wind was crazy at times and gave me a few fits. However; the fish were steadily taking olive midges and olive sulphurs.

The water is very low; so you have to strategically target fish to maximize your takes-I work the deep holes, fast water, and seams. Be sure to minimize your false casts and use shooting casts upward of your target. Slowly mend line in and be patient on the drift; then mend line back out and maximize the tailout of your drift.:smile:

I never went above a #16 hook size.

Here is a bug sample of the current activity from my friend Beto...
https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/557998_402563956508848_310137376_n.jpg

waterwolf
04-21-2013, 05:16 PM
I would love to see a picture of the BWO's y'all are seeing. Glad some are getting a chance to fish and having a good time while out. 3 weeks left of chasing turkeys and I will join the masses.

77punk
04-21-2013, 08:30 PM
i floated my canoe in the weir dam pond around the gated parking lot side. my brother in law and i had the whole island area to ourselves except tva was working on the weir on the back side of the island. we stayed well out of their way. the fishing was great there, we were picking up browns and rainbows on black midges and black copper johns.

corbo, the tva guys were done working on the weir for the day, and the siren went off as soon as their boats arrived at the launch. i was hoping for more time as well, but my sun burned knees are glad we left when we did

MadisonBoats
04-22-2013, 06:48 AM
I would love to see a picture of the BWO's y'all are seeing. Glad some are getting a chance to fish and having a good time while out. 3 weeks left of chasing turkeys and I will join the masses.

Jim,
The suspect BWOs I found; was a year to two ago. However; I will keep my eye out and be sure and seine that area really good to get some samples to share. Maybe; they are just a unique variation of the typical sulphur...? But, I will try and find one to share and help us all learn more about the Clinch and nature.:smile:

BTW; I about got Turkey Bombed by two huge turkeys Saturday. Flew right over me at about 10 feet. They were beautiful birds!

On a separate point; there must be tons of stocker brown trout in the river. I have caught many small browns that have spectacular color and fin shape.

waterwolf
04-22-2013, 06:52 AM
Jim,
The suspect BWOs I found; was a year to two ago. However; I will keep my eye out and be sure and seine that area really good to get some samples to share. Maybe; they are just a unique variation of the typical sulphur...? But, I will try and find one to share and help us all learn more about the Clinch and nature.:smile:

BTW; I about got Turkey Bombed by two huge turkeys Saturday. Flew right over me at about 10 feet. They were beautiful birds!

On a separate point; there must be tons of stocker brown trout in the river. I have caught many small browns that have spectacular color and fin shape.


I have seen Sulphurs over the years that have an olive tint to them, but have never seen a true BWO. It wouldn't surprise me if there weren't some around, and I would love to see them if you or anyone else gets a chance to snap a pic.

Watch out for the turkeys, they may mistake you for me and try to drown you in order to save their species :biggrin:

Corbo
04-23-2013, 05:47 AM
Four weeks ago on a cold friday I positively saw BWO's size 16 on the Clinch at Millers Island; not a huge amount and none left the water... I think it was too cold for them to fly off the film.

On Saturday most of the mayflies I saw were indeed Sulphurs but they were "Invaria" which are usually darker than the typical common sulphur and have red eyes and a dun wing most often size 16.

Dorothea Sulpurs are distinctly "sulphur" and distinctly yellow and perhaps a tad of orange usually size 14 in my experience.

I have no doubt that I saw some BWO's on Saturday but not many...

Bugs will find their way to new waters... when parts of the Kennebec benefited from much cleaner water BWO's were the first to appear followed several years later by Dorothea and then invaria and finally Isonychia.

Boy do I wish the Clinch had Iso's!

Now as to Shawn's nymphs.... beats me but I wish I had a fly to match them on saturday! Wish I had not left the CDC olives in the truck.

bigsur
04-23-2013, 11:50 AM
I fished the Church last night between 6pm & 8pm, saw no hatches and a few rises. Caught a total of two on a dropper at diffrent times, sulpher parachute 18 on top and black zebra 20, I had tied on bottom. First fish was on zebra nice size, second fish was small but hit the top fly which suprised me due to I had parachute on mainly for sight in flat light and did not expect a hit on it. The key for me on the Clinch is long long leaders and tippet and work that retrieve like Madison always says and I add some wiggle as I think he suggests also. It has only taken me a year of solid fishing the Clinch weekly to become a pitiful barely profcient fly fisherman who spends to much time and money on the Clinch! :biggrin:

Corbo
04-23-2013, 02:58 PM
BIGUR

The Clinch can be a tough river for certain.... particularly the zebra midge business. The other day I used 6.5 X at the Church in the afternoon and couldn't buy a fish. There were a bunch of "midge balls" going past me and I might have tried a Griffith's knat.

Seems I will be "tweaking" flies for the Clinch forever as Shawn & Beto keep finding "new" bugs and new "forms" of them.

Check out Shawn's underwater bug & trout videos on YouTube; they have made me "think" differently about trout behavior...

http://www.youtube.com/user/MadisonBoats?feature=

waterwolf
04-23-2013, 05:16 PM
Four weeks ago on a cold friday I positively saw BWO's size 16 on the Clinch at Millers Island; not a huge amount and none left the water... I think it was too cold for them to fly off the film.

On Saturday most of the mayflies I saw were indeed Sulphurs but they were "Invaria" which are usually darker than the typical common sulphur and have red eyes and a dun wing most often size 16.

Dorothea Sulpurs are distinctly "sulphur" and distinctly yellow and perhaps a tad of orange usually size 14 in my experience.

I have no doubt that I saw some BWO's on Saturday but not many...

Bugs will find their way to new waters... when parts of the Kennebec benefited from much cleaner water BWO's were the first to appear followed several years later by Dorothea and then invaria and finally Isonychia.

Boy do I wish the Clinch had Iso's!

Now as to Shawn's nymphs.... beats me but I wish I had a fly to match them on saturday! Wish I had not left the CDC olives in the truck.

Next time your out try and snap a few pics of the BWO's. I know the TVA benthic crew would love to document them because they have never been able to find any in the system. I have seen a handful of iso over the years, a few quill gordons eons ago, hex in the summer, but never have seen a baetis

MadisonBoats
04-24-2013, 06:43 AM
I fished the Church last night between 6pm & 8pm, saw no hatches and a few rises. Caught a total of two on a dropper at diffrent times, sulpher parachute 18 on top and black zebra 20, I had tied on bottom. First fish was on zebra nice size, second fish was small but hit the top fly which suprised me due to I had parachute on mainly for sight in flat light and did not expect a hit on it. The key for me on the Clinch is long long leaders and tippet and work that retrieve like Madison always says and I add some wiggle as I think he suggests also. It has only taken me a year of solid fishing the Clinch weekly to become a pitiful barely profcient fly fisherman who spends to much time and money on the Clinch! :biggrin:

Bigsur, I am glad you are having fun and enjoying yourself. I recommend you always keep an open mind and listen to all who are willing to give you tips. Next time; try tight lining a large midge with some hackle or a soft hackle fly. Cast out above a seam; let the line drift tight. Then slow bump; do not retreive the fly until the drift plays out. Then; slow bump retreive at a varied pace. Also; this works great even if you have not let your drift play out-especially when throwing across the river.:biggrin: If you see me on the river; give me a shout and I will share you some flies.

BIGUR

The Clinch can be a tough river for certain.... particularly the zebra midge business. The other day I used 6.5 X at the Church in the afternoon and couldn't buy a fish. There were a bunch of "midge balls" going past me and I might have tried a Griffith's knat.

Seems I will be "tweaking" flies for the Clinch forever as Shawn & Beto keep finding "new" bugs and new "forms" of them.

Check out Shawn's underwater bug & trout videos on YouTube; they have made me "think" differently about trout behavior...

http://www.youtube.com/user/MadisonBoats?feature=

Thanks Richard. I have tons off new videos to add. Just need to edit some of the videos. Also; I have a new aerial tripod that extends to 12'. I hope to get some different perspective videos this year.

Next time your out try and snap a few pics of the BWO's. I know the TVA benthic crew would love to document them because they have never been able to find any in the system. I have seen a handful of iso over the years, a few quill gordons eons ago, hex in the summer, but never have seen a baetis

Jim,
I have quite a varied collection of bugs in my own catalog and I started creating a Google Map with data and dates of the samples. Part of it is on my Facebook - Clinch River, TN page. I hope to add more photos and samples from others who are willing to contribute and share. Hopefully; it will help bring more positive attention to our great natural resource and promote conservation in keeping it clean and natural.

Joe Congleton
04-24-2013, 08:52 AM
Fwiw --/before myths about Clinch tailwater mayfly species get completely out of hand l strongly suggest you capture and place in a vial some of the male spinners of the suspected species you think you are identifying correctly and take them to a trained entomologist to ID. The foremost Clinch expert lives in Norris and would like to see what you are finding. Pm me for his contact info if u want it. ID ing these species is not amateur stuff. The expert tells me one would have to have "keyed out" under magnification hundreds of specimens in the past to properly ID subspecies by naked eye. Even then naked eye ID is a crap shoot. I would suspect accuracy is a goal worth the trouble to pursue. Or at least it should be ,so that baseline data for the river is accurate and not perpetuated as internet BS.

Rodonthefly
04-24-2013, 09:18 AM
Where is john Thruman when you need him! :biggrin:

Joe Congleton
04-24-2013, 10:26 AM
John just laughs at this stuff. He is the contact in Norris if folks want to properly iD their discoveries.

Rodonthefly
04-24-2013, 02:54 PM
John just laughs at this stuff. He is the contact in Norris if folks want to properly iD their discoveries.


And knows what he's doing! The man taught me a lot in my youth! ;)

MadisonBoats
04-25-2013, 06:49 AM
Fwiw --/before myths about Clinch tailwater mayfly species get completely out of hand l strongly suggest you capture and place in a vial some of the male spinners of the suspected species you think you are identifying correctly and take them to a trained entomologist to ID. The foremost Clinch expert lives in Norris and would like to see what you are finding. Pm me for his contact info if u want it. ID ing these species is not amateur stuff. The expert tells me one would have to have "keyed out" under magnification hundreds of specimens in the past to properly ID subspecies by naked eye. Even then naked eye ID is a crap shoot. I would suspect accuracy is a goal worth the trouble to pursue. Or at least it should be ,so that baseline data for the river is accurate and not perpetuated as internet BS.

I am no expert and I agree that entomology is an extremely delicate science in keying species. So; I ordered one of the best digital microscopes I could find last weekend in capturing detailed photos to assist with this process. Also; I think it will take nice pictures of small flies.

I have three-different entomologists that have contacted me from various universities and plan on assisting me with keying sample requests. Hopefully, I may find some new species on the Clinch if I am lucky.

Also; I know John and he is a great man and fly fisherman. I have great respect for his opinion and reputation.

Joe Congleton
04-25-2013, 07:55 AM
Sounds like the right approach. With many area fishermen going from one river to another daily it is entirely possible a lot of benthos from various rivers gets carried to a new river. So species can be moved that way and prosper if new conditions warrant. Waders, boots,Boats, trailers can all carry eggs or larval stages.

Corbo
04-25-2013, 10:05 PM
Joe C.

After 45 years fly fishing for trout (North to now South and a lot of in-between) I have noticed regional color variations in mayflies that lead me to believe in "sub-species" etc.

Caddis seem to be universally tan, brown, olivy or black.... simple enough for me.

For the most part I just try to match the hatch from the bottom up and not care too much on the LATIN STUFF. lol

Perhaps a quaestion... How is it that the Sulphur hatch on the SOHO is wicked awesome and lasts for months BUT it is a much more sparse hatch of shorter duration on the Clinch.

Also the Holston below Cherokee has a fairly decent caddis hatch that is less than wicked awesome but decent enough and the Clinch has only a sparse caddis hatch.


Lastly is it at all possible to "STOCK BUGS"? If so; how is this accomplished?

One last thought... what about MORE NUTRIENT? Could it be the SOHO has more nutrient and this is why the awesome sulphurs? Maybe we need to add a bunch of horse turd to the Clinch?

Thanks.

Richard

waterwolf
04-25-2013, 10:46 PM
Joe C.



Perhaps a quaestion... How is it that the Sulphur hatch on the SOHO is wicked awesome and lasts for months BUT it is a much more sparse hatch of shorter duration on the Clinch.

Also the Holston below Cherokee has a fairly decent caddis hatch that is less than wicked awesome but decent enough and the Clinch has only a sparse caddis hatch.


Lastly is it at all possible to "STOCK BUGS"? If so; how is this accomplished?

One last thought... what about MORE NUTRIENT? Could it be the SOHO has more nutrient and this is why the awesome sulphurs? Maybe we need to add a bunch of horse turd to the Clinch?

Thanks.

Richard

There is a ton that goes into why certain bugs live in certain rivers yet don't exist in others that appear similar.

The SOUTH HOLSTON has a different substrate than the clinch which allows for it to have Baetis, however the Clinch historically has just has big a Sulphur hatch as the SOUTH HOLSTON. It may last a shorter period of time, or be timed different, but I have seen a ton of hatches on the Clinch which covered the river bank to bank with adults, and it looked like it was reverse snowing yellow bugs. The Clinch is subjected to much higher flows which could cause fluctuations in hatch strength from year to year.

The Holston below cherokee has strong caddis because of the substrate being a lot of round rock and warmer water temps which seem to make caddis thrive.

I am not bug expert by any means, but stating the Clinch has a small and sparse Sulphur hatch makes this conversation almost a non starter. The Clinch has never had a great caddis population, other than the tiny black ones which hatch late summer.

Corbo
04-26-2013, 01:25 AM
Well; the SOHO sulphur hatches often last into December some years and the hatch is pretty well reliable day in and day out regardless of flow... one can pretty well expect dry fly action more often than not...

The Clinch by comparison is a nymphing river more often than not.... when it's on for sulhurs it's awesome no doubt but I show up expecting to fish wet, not dry.

To date I have never experienced a caddis hatch on the Holston that could be described as "strong" compared to so many other rivers I have fished...

As to "substrate" I would say the SOHO has more snot and this might acoount for more bugs.

MadisonBoats
04-26-2013, 06:47 AM
There is a ton that goes into why certain bugs live in certain rivers yet don't exist in others that appear similar.

The SOUTH HOLSTON has a different substrate than the clinch which allows for it to have Baetis, however the Clinch historically has just has big a Sulphur hatch as the SOUTH HOLSTON. It may last a shorter period of time, or be timed different, but I have seen a ton of hatches on the Clinch which covered the river bank to bank with adults, and it looked like it was reverse snowing yellow bugs. The Clinch is subjected to much higher flows which could cause fluctuations in hatch strength from year to year.

The Holston below cherokee has strong caddis because of the substrate being a lot of round rock and warmer water temps which seem to make caddis thrive.

I am not bug expert by any means, but stating the Clinch has a small and sparse Sulphur hatch makes this conversation almost a non starter. The Clinch has never had a great caddis population, other than the tiny black ones which hatch late summer.

I agree Jim! The Clinch substrate is varied compared to some of the other tailwaters. Also; the river-flow is extremely varied compared to the S. Holston. However; I believe there are several mini-ecosystems on the Clinch that do consist of some unique benthic life.

I have noticed a large increase in the amount of cased caddis on the lower end of the river this year. They seem to be consistent and plentiful. Anyone else finding these on the lower end?

waterwolf
04-26-2013, 06:57 AM
Well; the SOHO sulphur hatches often last into December some years and the hatch is pretty well reliable day in and day out regardless of flow... one can pretty well expect dry fly action more often than not...

The Clinch by comparison is a nymphing river more often than not.... when it's on for sulhurs it's awesome no doubt but I show up expecting to fish wet, not dry.

To date I have never experienced a caddis hatch on the Holston that could be described as "strong" compared to so many other rivers I have fished...

As to "substrate" I would say the SOHO has more snot and this might acoount for more bugs.

The SOUTH HOLSTON does have a great Sulphur hatch, but saying the SOUTH HOLSTON has sulphurs through December might be a stretch. I have seen them into September there but not much later than that.

Starting in a week or so, every afternoon on the Clinch the Sulphurs will hatch and you can fish dries, some days the hatch will be very strong others not so much. It has been that way for decades now. As I said in my earlier post as far back as I can remember (mid 80's) we have been fishing heavy Sulphur hatches on the Clinch in May. If all you find is sporadic hatches maybe it is the stretch of river you frequent, and not the river in its entirety.

I have seen Caddis hatches on the Holston that would be considered pretty dang heavy for an eastern tailwater, nothing like the western rivers see, but enough bugs that every fish in the river is up eating caddis and the number of bugs becomes a nuisance. Those hatches have dropped off in intensity over the past few years, and my reasoning is that at first it was a food base that was not utilized before trout were introduced. Now they are preyed on heavily which may have had an impact on overall numbers of bugs.

Joe Congleton
04-26-2013, 09:46 AM
Corbo- l have only been fly fishing a decade longer than you so l may not have learned anything new in the last ten years. So in that regard we are equals. In terms of experience with our Tn tailwaters though l guess i have about a fifty year headstart on figuring them out. Still may not have all the science right but l do catch a nice fish every once in a while. I was asked to write dome articles in Trout magazine on our tailwaters in the late 70s early eighties which sort of outlined the state of the sourhrrn tailwaters at that time if you wanted to get some historical perspective. The questions you pose and the mission or trek Madison is on are not dissimilar from mine or what any inquisitive flyfisherman would pursue. I have been a student for a long time myself

What makes this river tick? How can it be improved? Etc

The clinch has has a sulphur population that l have seen since the sixties. In the preweir days it was sparse and primarily found at major creek mouths and in the last miles above Clinton. Prior to the weir In the sixties Norris had 2-3 consequetive months of oxygen levels that could approach zero parts per million, no minimum flow regime and low water was far lower and much warmer than what we consider low water to be today. Midge and blackfly was the bulk of the trout diet the that could survive and prosper.

When the weir was built immediately after Tellico Dam issues and in response to TU and potential 404 litigation it was a new concept. It was not engineered as well as the subsequent South Holston weir but it did dramtically improve the yr round oxygen , water temperature and min flow--these improvements basically created an entirely new ecosystem in the river and led to the prolific emphemeralla hatchs on the river today. Also improved the caddis diversity ,although the black caddis was seen occasionally even in the water wasteland days in the sixties. Today twra biologists say the Clinch is the overall best tailwater for trout productivity in the region , a statement that l m not sure l agree with but l am
Glad it is doing well.

The Holston below Cherokee was viewed by Twra historically as a tailwater unsuited for trout as it suffered both high water temps and low dissolved oxygen periods even more dramatic than the clinch. Rather than build a weir at Cherokee TVA used vented turbine improvements and other reoxygenation processes to dramtically improve the river. The temp issue solved itself with a minimum flow regime and the previously undervalued impacts of inflow from springs and cave waters. Because of the higher ph and the influence of spring inflow in the cherokee tailwater it carried more natural benthos diversity than the clinch.

The south Holston also had a good ph. More diverse rubble rocks like the main holston and unlike the hard ledgerock of the clinch. It had colder discharge water from higher elevation lakes and dams and always had a strong and more diverse mayfly base populaion which exploded on the greenhouse effects of weir improvements there. The SH weir is a much better engineered and constructed weir than the clinch weir, which was thrown up hastily with inherent limiting factors as tomits long term viability . Those SH weir improvements created a greenhouse with ideal water and nutrients for the sulphurs and the population responded dramatically. With yhe food base improvements the trout mass exploded too.

So historical perspective is important to understand l think. You have seen John Thurman's name in these posts. John is retired from TVA but still does contract benthos surveys on every Tva tailwater on an annual basis l
Think. He and l have spent a lot of time fishing and bird hunting all over the country and l will say he knows more about the Clinch benthos than anybody. Sometimes he manages to catch a nice fish too.

If ypu really want to know more about these tailwater bug issues you need to go to a TU meeting where John is speaking and catch him afterwards or find him on the clinch river. Look for two english setters in the water and you will find John.
John has given many collection vials to fisherman on the river and asked them to collect bugs they think are unusual snd get them back
To him to ID. HE SAYS HE NEVER GETS THEM BACK.

I agree with Waterwolf assessment of his list above of the other mayfly species besides sulphurs that he has seen on the Clinch. He and l have discussed those finds many times as has Thurman and l and l will simply say again none of us has ever seen a BWO or BAETIS on the Clinch. There are several different sizes of the "sulfurs" In the clinch from 14 to 20 or even 22. Their colors vary too. Some may appear more green in color and could perhaps be mistaken for some other species. Having fished extensive bwo hatches elsewhere for many years l think l could ID A bwo but l am not a trained entomologist so who knows. I am confident Thurman could. It would be great if the BWO was on the Clinch . But l would not personally believe what you read on somebodys hatch chart or river map or web page until a qualified scientist confirmed a proper ID, and so far that hasn't happened. I think Purdue university is viewed as having a premier entomolgy department and the TVA samples Thurman and others have done have been periodically reviewed by Purdue folks so there is some backchecking there. In any event Whether there might be a tiny bwo population or not, it is pretty clear thst the presence of them is completely insignificant as a food source in the clinch given the year round mass if other nenthos. This doesntb mean a bwo fly pattern wouldnt catch some of the clinch fish. So if you want to fish a bwo have at it.

MadisonBoats
04-27-2013, 07:14 AM
Corbo- l have only been fly fishing a decade longer than you so l may not have learned anything new in the last ten years. So in that regard we are equals. In terms of experience with our Tn tailwaters though l guess i have about a fifty year headstart on figuring them out. Still may not have all the science right but l do catch a nice fish every once in a while. I was asked to write dome articles in Trout magazine on our tailwaters in the late 70s early eighties which sort of outlined the state of the sourhrrn tailwaters at that time if you wanted to get some historical perspective. The questions you pose and the mission or trek Madison is on are not dissimilar from mine or what any inquisitive flyfisherman would pursue. I have been a student for a long time myself

What makes this river tick? How can it be improved? Etc

The clinch has has a sulphur population that l have seen since the sixties. In the preweir days it was sparse and primarily found at major creek mouths and in the last miles above Clinton. Prior to the weir In the sixties Norris had 2-3 consequetive months of oxygen levels that could approach zero parts per million, no minimum flow regime and low water was far lower and much warmer than what we consider low water to be today. Midge and blackfly was the bulk of the trout diet the that could survive and prosper.

When the weir was built immediately after Tellico Dam issues and in response to TU and potential 404 litigation it was a new concept. It was not engineered as well as the subsequent South Holston weir but it did dramtically improve the yr round oxygen , water temperature and min flow--these improvements basically created an entirely new ecosystem in the river and led to the prolific emphemeralla hatchs on the river today. Also improved the caddis diversity ,although the black caddis was seen occasionally even in the water wasteland days in the sixties. Today twra biologists say the Clinch is the overall best tailwater for trout productivity in the region , a statement that l m not sure l agree with but l am
Glad it is doing well.

The Holston below Cherokee was viewed by Twra historically as a tailwater unsuited for trout as it suffered both high water temps and low dissolved oxygen periods even more dramatic than the clinch. Rather than build a weir at Cherokee TVA used vented turbine improvements and other reoxygenation processes to dramtically improve the river. The temp issue solved itself with a minimum flow regime and the previously undervalued impacts of inflow from springs and cave waters. Because of the higher ph and the influence of spring inflow in the cherokee tailwater it carried more natural benthos diversity than the clinch.

The south Holston also had a good ph. More diverse rubble rocks like the main holston and unlike the hard ledgerock of the clinch. It had colder discharge water from higher elevation lakes and dams and always had a strong and more diverse mayfly base populaion which exploded on the greenhouse effects of weir improvements there. The SH weir is a much better engineered and constructed weir than the clinch weir, which was thrown up hastily with inherent limiting factors as tomits long term viability . Those SH weir improvements created a greenhouse with ideal water and nutrients for the sulphurs and the population responded dramatically. With yhe food base improvements the trout mass exploded too.

So historical perspective is important to understand l think. You have seen John Thurman's name in these posts. John is retired from TVA but still does contract benthos surveys on every Tva tailwater on an annual basis l
Think. He and l have spent a lot of time fishing and bird hunting all over the country and l will say he knows more about the Clinch benthos than anybody. Sometimes he manages to catch a nice fish too.

If ypu really want to know more about these tailwater bug issues you need to go to a TU meeting where John is speaking and catch him afterwards or find him on the clinch river. Look for two english setters in the water and you will find John.
John has given many collection vials to fisherman on the river and asked them to collect bugs they think are unusual snd get them back
To him to ID. HE SAYS HE NEVER GETS THEM BACK.

I agree with Waterwolf assessment of his list above of the other mayfly species besides sulphurs that he has seen on the Clinch. He and l have discussed those finds many times as has Thurman and l and l will simply say again none of us has ever seen a BWO or BAETIS on the Clinch. There are several different sizes of the "sulfurs" In the clinch from 14 to 20 or even 22. Their colors vary too. Some may appear more green in color and could perhaps be mistaken for some other species. Having fished extensive bwo hatches elsewhere for many years l think l could ID A bwo but l am not a trained entomologist so who knows. I am confident Thurman could. It would be great if the BWO was on the Clinch . But l would not personally believe what you read on somebodys hatch chart or river map or web page until a qualified scientist confirmed a proper ID, and so far that hasn't happened. I think Purdue university is viewed as having a premier entomolgy department and the TVA samples Thurman and others have done have been periodically reviewed by Purdue folks so there is some backchecking there. In any event Whether there might be a tiny bwo population or not, it is pretty clear thst the presence of them is completely insignificant as a food source in the clinch given the year round mass if other nenthos. This doesntb mean a bwo fly pattern wouldnt catch some of the clinch fish. So if you want to fish a bwo have at it.

Joe,
Excellent post and great perspective!

I love this part! You definitely have me described right! I love learning and challenging myself and fly fishing is the perfect sport to fulfill those needs.

...The questions you pose and the mission or trek Madison is on are not dissimilar from mine or what any inquisitive flyfisherman would pursue. I have been a student for a long time myself

What makes this river tick? How can it be improved? Etc ...
I also enjoy sharing and helping others learn as well. I believe we should take the approach of, "I found this bug...?"; post the picture and ask if someone can help identify. As with most internet posts; each person should tread lightly with what they read and make their own informative opinion.

Most of all; I know that if we work together and help one another-We can help protect the Clinch and other trout waters from the development changes that are coming! Trust me; it will take all of us together!

Looking forward to sharing some more bug pictures once I get on the river again. BTW; the dam is spilling and adding tons of fresh oxygen in the river.

......if ypu really want to know more about these tailwater bug issues you need to go to a TU meeting where John is speaking and catch him afterwards or find him on the clinch river. Look for two english setters in the water and you will find John.....You forgot to add ...wearing a RED cap...:)

Corbo
04-27-2013, 08:13 AM
Thank You Joe for your response! Most enlightening and appreciated..

I am a TU Life member but have not transfered my membership south;
perhaps I could make it to a Clinch meeting. Do you regularly attend?

Now as to seeing BWO's on the Clinch about fuve weeks ago... I am not a bug scientist by any means but I've spent a bunch of time fishing eastern olive hatches and these were not sulphurs. This was a sparse hatch and none of the bugs made it off the water, the air outside was in the lower forties and a bunch of the bugs landed in an eddy behind miller's island so I had the opportunity to observe then in hand. very definitely BWO's with correct body and dark dun wings size 16... they were beautiful.

duckypaddler
04-27-2013, 05:49 PM
Corbo- l have only been fly fishing a decade longer than you so l may not have learned anything new in the last ten years. So in that regard we are equals. In terms of experience with our Tn tailwaters though l guess i have about a fifty year headstart on figuring them out. Still may not have all the science right but l do catch a nice fish every once in a while. I was asked to write dome articles in Trout magazine on our tailwaters in the late 70s early eighties which sort of outlined the state of the sourhrrn tailwaters at that time if you wanted to get some historical perspective. The questions you pose and the mission or trek Madison is on are not dissimilar from mine or what any inquisitive flyfisherman would pursue. I have been a student for a long time myself

What makes this river tick? How can it be improved? Etc

The clinch has has a sulphur population that l have seen since the sixties. In the preweir days it was sparse and primarily found at major creek mouths and in the last miles above Clinton. Prior to the weir In the sixties Norris had 2-3 consequetive months of oxygen levels that could approach zero parts per million, no minimum flow regime and low water was far lower and much warmer than what we consider low water to be today. Midge and blackfly was the bulk of the trout diet the that could survive and prosper.

When the weir was built immediately after Tellico Dam issues and in response to TU and potential 404 litigation it was a new concept. It was not engineered as well as the subsequent South Holston weir but it did dramtically improve the yr round oxygen , water temperature and min flow--these improvements basically created an entirely new ecosystem in the river and led to the prolific emphemeralla hatchs on the river today. Also improved the caddis diversity ,although the black caddis was seen occasionally even in the water wasteland days in the sixties. Today twra biologists say the Clinch is the overall best tailwater for trout productivity in the region , a statement that l m not sure l agree with but l am
Glad it is doing well.

The Holston below Cherokee was viewed by Twra historically as a tailwater unsuited for trout as it suffered both high water temps and low dissolved oxygen periods even more dramatic than the clinch. Rather than build a weir at Cherokee TVA used vented turbine improvements and other reoxygenation processes to dramtically improve the river. The temp issue solved itself with a minimum flow regime and the previously undervalued impacts of inflow from springs and cave waters. Because of the higher ph and the influence of spring inflow in the cherokee tailwater it carried more natural benthos diversity than the clinch.

The south Holston also had a good ph. More diverse rubble rocks like the main holston and unlike the hard ledgerock of the clinch. It had colder discharge water from higher elevation lakes and dams and always had a strong and more diverse mayfly base populaion which exploded on the greenhouse effects of weir improvements there. The SH weir is a much better engineered and constructed weir than the clinch weir, which was thrown up hastily with inherent limiting factors as tomits long term viability . Those SH weir improvements created a greenhouse with ideal water and nutrients for the sulphurs and the population responded dramatically. With yhe food base improvements the trout mass exploded too.

So historical perspective is important to understand l think. You have seen John Thurman's name in these posts. John is retired from TVA but still does contract benthos surveys on every Tva tailwater on an annual basis l
Think. He and l have spent a lot of time fishing and bird hunting all over the country and l will say he knows more about the Clinch benthos than anybody. Sometimes he manages to catch a nice fish too.

If ypu really want to know more about these tailwater bug issues you need to go to a TU meeting where John is speaking and catch him afterwards or find him on the clinch river. Look for two english setters in the water and you will find John.
John has given many collection vials to fisherman on the river and asked them to collect bugs they think are unusual snd get them back
To him to ID. HE SAYS HE NEVER GETS THEM BACK.

I agree with Waterwolf assessment of his list above of the other mayfly species besides sulphurs that he has seen on the Clinch. He and l have discussed those finds many times as has Thurman and l and l will simply say again none of us has ever seen a BWO or BAETIS on the Clinch. There are several different sizes of the "sulfurs" In the clinch from 14 to 20 or even 22. Their colors vary too. Some may appear more green in color and could perhaps be mistaken for some other species. Having fished extensive bwo hatches elsewhere for many years l think l could ID A bwo but l am not a trained entomologist so who knows. I am confident Thurman could. It would be great if the BWO was on the Clinch . But l would not personally believe what you read on somebodys hatch chart or river map or web page until a qualified scientist confirmed a proper ID, and so far that hasn't happened. I think Purdue university is viewed as having a premier entomolgy department and the TVA samples Thurman and others have done have been periodically reviewed by Purdue folks so there is some backchecking there. In any event Whether there might be a tiny bwo population or not, it is pretty clear thst the presence of them is completely insignificant as a food source in the clinch given the year round mass if other nenthos. This doesntb mean a bwo fly pattern wouldnt catch some of the clinch fish. So if you want to fish a bwo have at it.

Thanks for your post. It was very informative. I appreciate you contributing to this fourm, and hope you will continue to do so:biggrin:

fourx
04-29-2013, 03:27 PM
'Wolf, there are sulphurs 12 months out of the year on the soho. I promise!
Saw what I would describe as quill Gordon's coming off this spring on the clinch to constitute a "hatch". That's nice.
Would LOVE to have bwo on the Clinch and I'm not dismissing a siting.
I've seen (one time only) a substantial #12 caddis hatch come off ABOVE the weir 2 winters ago. Again, I promise.
But, remember this (beginner or expert), if the bug is small and gray, fish a small gray fly and likewise other colors and sizes of bugs.
Great info Joe! Thanks!

4X

waterwolf
04-29-2013, 05:42 PM
'Wolf, there are sulphurs 12 months out of the year on the soho. I promise!
Saw what I would describe as quill Gordon's coming off this spring on the clinch to constitute a "hatch". That's nice.
Would LOVE to have bwo on the Clinch and I'm not dismissing a siting.
I've seen (one time only) a substantial #12 caddis hatch come off ABOVE the weir 2 winters ago. Again, I promise.
But, remember this (beginner or expert), if the bug is small and gray, fish a small gray fly and likewise other colors and sizes of bugs.
Great info Joe! Thanks!

4X

Would you call them sho nuff hatches or just seeing a few bugs on the SOUTH HOLSTON ?

fourx
04-30-2013, 05:04 PM
Not full blown hatches, young Jim.
What's funny is, in jan. I've seen single duns here and there and they nearly all get eatin.
In fact, a brown trout told me she "loved them!" and "they taste like a cross between bananas, chicken, and honeydew".

4X

waterwolf
04-30-2013, 09:14 PM
Not full blown hatches, young Jim.
What's funny is, in jan. I've seen single duns here and there and they nearly all get eatin.
In fact, a brown trout told me she "loved them!" and "they taste like a cross between bananas, chicken, and honeydew".

4X
:biggrin::biggrin:

Having eaten sulphurs I will respectfully disagree with the brown trout, they taste like a$$ and are bitter.

It is a testament to that river that even sporadic hatches occur year round, I was just curious whether they were were full blown hatches or as you described.