Re: Guided Float Trip
The Clinch isn't the same river it was 3-4 years ago. I have several theories but no concrete scientific facts. The downturn started in the summer/fall of '04 with the systems that came through from the 4 hurricanes. TVA ran water at an almost constant 2 generators for 6 months solid. TWRA started a capacity study around the same time as well. They were (may still be) doing growth rate studies on fingerlings as well. The Clinch is a put and grow fishery. Couple that with the capacity study and that's why there are so many of little guys. It's almost all little guys up around the Millers Island area. Those little fish mainly feed on emergers. The trouble with that is they key in on movement. Most tiny (down to #30) midge emerger patterns have poor movement because you can't put on much material. Try to match the hatch as closely as you can and put movement on your flies by making small strips. Most takes will come just below the surface. Use a long leader and fish slow.
I was fishing with Rockyraccoon around 4 years ago and caught a 17", an 18", and 19" on three progressive casts right beside Millers Island. Now, unless you put movement on your flies it's hard to even catch those little midgets. Try some tiny streamers as well.
The lower river is more like it used to be but it's still off. I floated it with a friend last week and we caught several nice fish up to 15-16 inches. It used to be more like 18-22".
The didymo started making a showing back in '04 as well so who knows whats going to happen in the future. In the meantime, it's more important now than ever to have an almost identical match to what's coming off. Fishing pressure has increased as well. From flyfisherman to meat fisherman. I've seen it pounded by bait guys bringing stringer after stringer of very nice fish, day after day. A slot limit would be very beneficial on this river unless there's a problem with growth that we don't know about. Although, the bugs seem to be there. I can't really make any real accurate opinions, though. Because I have spent very little time up there in the past year and a half. A smart move would be to take a seine and do bug samples.
If you want to learn the technical stuff then contact Scott Lewis. He will teach you stuff that will make you a better technical angler.