Their stressed out from the stripers! HA! Are you talking about that black film on the scales of some of the fish?
Who knows? Not enough sowbugs and scuds in the water as their used to be when we had tremendous growth rates IMO. Too many midges overall as a dominant percentage population as there once was.
My theory is, they are working too hard for the calories they are taking in. The caloric intake of a scud far exeeds that of a lowly midge.
Time for some more water testing. IF we don't police the river, who will? Norris continues to grow in housing and people, and it's all drained into the Clinch.
The benthic (bottom-dwelling) macroinvertebrates supported by a stream are a great indicator of overall stream health due to their variable tolerance of pollution. Generally speaking, mayflies (Ephemeroptera), stoneflies (Plecoptera), caddisflies (Trichoptera), and riffle beetle larvae (Coleoptera) require a relatively pristine environment. Macroinvertebrates highly tolerant of pollution include midge larvae (Diptera), snails (Gastropoda), leeches (Hirundinea), and aquatic worms (Oligochaeta).
Organisms such as scuds (Amphipoda), clams (Bivalvia), crayfish (Decapoda), cranefly larvae (Diptera), and aquatic sowbugs (Isopoda), are somewhat tolerant, and are found in a wide variety of water conditions.......High diversity and numbers of macroinvertebrates indicate good water quality conditions, whereas presence of only pollution tolerant species or absence of macroinvertebrates suggests a degraded environment
and the above bold is about all we have now in the Clinch except for a few sulphurs. Time for a good leech pattern! Oh crap, I gave that away! Back in the late 80's and early 90's the river was full of scuds, sowbugs. But maybe the upstream development is hurting the food source?
I know I have posted this before but this was taken at autopsy from a trout on the Clinch years ago. When is the last time anybody has seen "tailing" fish working a weed bed? It was common back in the late 80's. They would nose into the weeds then back up and catch the scuds and sowbugs as they floated downstream.