View Full Version : How's the Clinch fishing?

07-19-2007, 07:28 AM
Hey guys,

I introduced myself a few months back while I was still living in DC and dreaming of Tennessee. My wife and I finally moved down to Knoxville this past weekend and now that all the hassle of moving is out of the way, it's time to focus on important stuff, fishing!

Anyway, I'm sure like a lot of you Knoxvillians, the Clinch is the closest trout stream to home. I haven't seen any reports recently on the river and I was wondering how it's fishing? Do folks still use mostly midge immitations?

Anyone planning on heading over to the river this saturday or sunday morning? I'd love to fish with some folks some time.


07-19-2007, 08:24 AM
I fished it last Sunday for 1 hour and between the 2 of us we brought 6 to hand - I on dries and 3 on midges. Check the TVA for the generator schedule (2 generators is 1 too many for me) and bring waders - the water is ice cold. We fish the park 2-3 times a week and plan on going back to the Clinch whenever the generators are 'off' just to remember what it is like to actually catch a fish. Feel free to join us if you like.

07-19-2007, 11:12 AM
I fished at miller's island saturday morning and caught 10 and I probably missed that many! I caught about 7 on a #18 Sulfer Compara Dun, and the rest on a #20 BHPT...Zebra midges and small grifith gnats are working well right now too.


07-19-2007, 03:38 PM
2 generators are 2 too many for me. You don't want to be in the water when they are generating.

The Clinch has been really hit or miss for me lately. If you go and don't catch much don't be too discouraged, you might light it up the next time.

I used to live in DC as well and would sometimes make the trip up to Gunpowder Falls. Have you fished it this year? If so, how is it doing?

07-20-2007, 07:51 AM
Thanks for the advice guys, I think I will scout out the Clinch this weekend just to get me casting arm back into rhythm.

Fishing up in the DC area is better than you'd expect. I never headed up to the Gunpowder, but I did drive over to western MD, 2.5 hours from DC and two awesome rivers in the Savage and North Branch of the Potomac. If anyone is ever up that way, both are abosolutely worth a stop.

Gerry Romer
07-20-2007, 01:33 PM
My son and I fished the Clinch at Clinton - behind the church - a couple of weeks ago and did pretty well. We got there fairly early (8:30), expecting the flow from the 2 am generatring to be down, but still had to wait about an hour for safe wading. We then proceeded to get skunked for the next 5 hours, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at 'em. There was one guy about 300 yards upstream from us who could do no wrong. Seemed every cast he was hooking something up. And in spite of all the yelling to and from his buddies on shore, we could never figure out what he was using. About 3:00 an "old" guy worked his way up to us from downstream fishing small sulfurs in the riffles right below us. His buddy was off to our right fishing nymphs in the deeper runs. The buddy was getting skunked while the "old guy" in the straw hat was pulling fish after fish out of the riffle. All good size bows. I stopped and watched him for a while trying to pick up on exactly what he was doing differently and what he was using. When he decided to stop for the day and watch his buddy get skunked, we chatted for a while. He told me the only thing he had luck with was sulfur dry flies fished just the way I was watching him. He said he didn't care for nymphing and why should he when he's catching 'em like that on dries?!

As the water started coming back up, my son decided to fish his way back out and started throwing a size 14 para adams with a size 18 BHPT dropper into some of the deep water below a riffle. Bam! three good size bows in 15 minutes. The largest one went about 18"! I, of course, immediately tied on a para adams with a BHPT dropper and on the first cast brought a 10" bow to hand. The next one came out of the same small pool and went about 14" before I long-distance released him. It was at about that point that the water began coming up too fast continue. Besides, we were both sunburned by then.

So now we know for next time!

Good luck.

Gerry Romer

Backcountry FF
07-20-2007, 02:24 PM
Have been fishing around the church for the past few weekends. Seems like the sulphurs really start turning on about 12:30. I've had little luck before then. Occasional fish on midge pupa.

Try a sulphur emerger and drop a small pheasant tail off the back. Using this combo I hooked several fish over 12 inches last weekend.

Good Luck!

07-20-2007, 03:02 PM
Wow, you guys have been so helpful, thanks again. I think I'll pick up some flies tommorow (from LRO, of course) and hit the Clinch on Sunday morning at Clinton. I'll let y'all know how I did (or more likely, didn't).

Is there any way to get TVA's release forecast more than a day our or do I have to wait until Saturday to se what they are planning for Sunday?

Anyone else heading that way?


Backcountry FF
07-20-2007, 03:16 PM
I don't know of any way to see the release schedule more than a day out.

Lately they have been running the same schedule on weekends:

Nothing from 11pm until 10am the following morning. BUT that is always subject to change.

Try fishing Miller's Island or the Weir Dam from sunup to 10ish, pack up when the water rises, grab some lunch, and then tackle those sulphurs at the church around noon.

That has been my method the last few weeks and seems to pay off a little better than just fishing the downstream side. The fish are usually smaller around Miller's Island, but any tug is better than no tug at all!

07-20-2007, 03:18 PM
If you don't have them get some 12' 5 or 6x leaders and tie another 3' of 6x on to them to fish those sulphurs. Comparaduns and emergers.
Good Luck,

07-23-2007, 08:05 AM
Well I headed over to the Clinch on Sunday morning to check out the scene at Clinton around 9 am. The water was pretty low so I assume it had dropped of from the night's release. I fished for a couple of hours and had at least five fish flash or hooked briefly on a (#18) BHPT and (#20) zebra midge. None rought in, but pretty consistent action as far as I'm concerned. I headed home around 11, just when the sulphurs were about to come off I'm sure. All in all, it was a great time and I really appreciate all the advice you guys and the folks at LRO gave me. I sure am glad to be back in the Volunteer state.

Thanks again!

ps, I saw a few folks fishing (nymphs I think) directly down stream. I have always been taught/read that you want to fish upstream or across and down to about 45 degrees. I had never seen that method before. Maybe it's a Clinch thang..

Backcountry FF
07-23-2007, 08:48 AM
Hey CinciVol,

Were you the guy I ran into? You were leaving as I was walking to the river.
You had on a TN Vol cap and tee shirt, right? We spoke briefly if I'm correct.

Don't worry about missing "all those sulphurs", I saw a few, but nothing like the past few weeks. The fish were not as cooperative either. I hooked up a few times, missed a few, and had a few long distance releases. I probably should have used nymphs.

If that was you I ran into, nice "sort of meeting you". If you want to fish sometime to learn the area, let me know. You can email me at chazrufus@aol.com since we can't do the personal message thing on this forum anymore.

07-23-2007, 11:00 AM

That was me leaving the river yesterday. Nice "sort of" meeting you too. I would certainly love to learn some more about the Clinch and the other area rivers. I'll send you an email and maybe we can hook up on the water some time soon. I wouldn't mind tangling with some of those little fellas up by the dam, still need to catch my first TN trout!


appalachian angler
07-25-2007, 09:15 PM

If you decide to go dry, I have had best luck on comparaduns in sz 16-18 with either a medium yellow or dull orange color; and very light bodied comparaduns (cream colored) in the same size range. If you can find them, get some BHPT's tied on curved nymph hooks Like Tiemco 2487,88 or 2457's (just ask the flyshop folks...most are tyers) in sz 14-18. Also you may want to try swinging a small sz 14,16 partridge and yellow soft hacke just before the fish start really rising consistantly and during! Fish the softhackles across and down with slow, short strips of line or a figure eight retrieve. Keep your slack policed up when fishing down and across. Ifyou are fishing nymphs, I strongly recomend using a small yarn indicator and 6X flouro. Your nymph does not need to be bouncing the bottom either. I have noticed the takes getting lighter lately with the lower clear water conditions...the yarn will let you know when to set the hook! Have some griffith's gnats handy if the midge bite gets going on top. If you are fishing the upper slow water streches try some sz 18 tan scuds. As usual, zebra midges in black and silver, olive and gold, or brown and copper are usually good fish producers on the Clinch. When all else fails, a sz 8-12 olive bugger (weighted) stripped through the runs and pools should bring soem fish to hand...perhaps even a real hog!
Let me know if you would like to hook-up some time!


07-25-2007, 09:31 PM
I am thinking about heading to the Clinch this weekend for my first fly fishing experience. I feel like a little experience is going to help more than anything. If anyone is thinking about going there this Saturday let me know I could use a lot of help and advice I am sure. Ben.

07-27-2007, 02:10 PM
I am thinking about heading to the Clinch this weekend for my first fly fishing experience. I feel like a little experience is going to help more than anything. If anyone is thinking about going there this Saturday let me know I could use a lot of help and advice I am sure. Ben.


I may head over to the Clinch on Sunday morning at Clinton. If you want to meet up, let me know. However, I can't promise much more than the blind leading the blind if you want help/advice from me, but who knows, two heads are usually better than one!

07-27-2007, 05:08 PM
Of course I would love to meet up, trust me I am blind you might just need glasses when it comes to experience. I am just looking for a little bit of help casting, presentation etc..I would just keep practicing behind the house but I got my waders in and can not wait any longer. Let me know what time your going Sunday and where you would like to meet up at. If you want you can email me at bencunnin1@yahoo.com, Ben.

07-29-2007, 09:55 AM
Backcountry and Cinci;


This link shows where TVA plans to release (or not) at least within some limits. Looks like you can plan on no release prior to 10 AM on weekends for the next couple of months, as well as counting on 1 generator from 10-2.

It isn't everyday and it isn't a commitment, but at least it tells what TVA is planning for weekends.

As they say, "Subject to change without warning. Use caution below dams."


07-29-2007, 01:16 PM
Missed you Cincivol, I had a great morning. Woke up at 6 and said I do not think so went back to sleep until 7 got up and got on the road. I caught 3 fish none of them big, all between 4-6 inches. I did have a pig on the line but he blew up out of the water and spit my fly back at me. I got out of there around 10 knowing that the water would start rising and not wanting to get caught out there. All in all I am thrilled it was my first time fly fishing and I got good bites lost a couple and landed 3 all on dry flies. If you want to go some other time I am game whenever. Ben.

07-30-2007, 09:23 AM

sorry I couldn't make it this weekend. The bad news is that I had a vehicle emergency, the good news is that the result was the wife giving me the go-ahead on a new truck! Now all I need is more fishing equipment to fill it up (I'm glad she doesn'e read this board!). Anyway, glad you had a good day on the river. Three fish on dries? Thats great, I've probably caught 95% of all my trout on nymphs, maybe you are on to something. Let's shoot for this weekend, I can go either Sat or Sun if your game.


07-30-2007, 11:54 AM
Dave, I will be on the Hiwassee this coming weekend. I wish they wouldnt run generators during the week so we could fish during the week. After my Hiwassee trip we will talk about getting together the following weekend. If you go this weekend I used a sulpher and a immitator from "the Creel". Let me know how you do and we will get together next weekend. Ben.

07-30-2007, 05:47 PM
how do you get to the clinch from knoxville?

Gerry Romer
07-30-2007, 11:30 PM
I-75 North about 19 miles from downtown. Can't remember the exit number, but look for the exit for the Museum of Appalachia (which is someplace else you ought to visit cause it's a real kick). To get to Miller's Island or the dam, take a right and go just past the Museum of Appalachia and take a left on US 441. If you stay on 441, it will take you to the dam (there are pull off and parking for the weir dam and the powerhouse). If you turn left when you get off I-75, you will be headed for the Clinton access points. Right after you cross the Clinch on the 61 bridge, the jail will be down on your right, along with a recreation area. Turn right to get down to the jail and the church. Go past the jail and the church and you will find a gravel parking lot on the backside of the church. Pull over to the tree line and look for a veteran Clinch River fisherman and ask for help!!

Good luck!

Gerry Romer

07-31-2007, 08:36 AM
Its the the Norris Clinton exit but otherwise those are excellent directions.