Many factors affect what can be termed a limited spawn on the Clinch, I believe most are identified in the report you are talking about. Rainbows have more successful spawns than does the browns.
In earlier years before TVA started this recreational flow schedule that was generated in part by TU/TVA member’s in a effort to keep the lake level higher for tourism, more “guide friendly flow’s” and to keep the “riffraff” off the river on the weekends, Norris regularly got down to 985 or lower in the mid November to mid December time frame and there was limited releases during the spawning months. Thus those of us who have played close attention to the river for a long time can say there use to be a much more successful spawn than now.
This winter due to increased generation from Norris as there was more rain upstream here than there was in the other tributaries and the need to keep navigable waters in the Tenn. River, Norris is the lowest it has been in some time so unless there is large volumes of rain in Va. and none elsewhere Norris should hold near to where it is now and there is a good chance at a successful spawn this winter. However, if Norris fills over the winter months and there is a normal discharge in the spring it will be of no consequence as they will be washed away like the hundreds of thousands of the 2 in. fry TWRA threw in the river the past 5 years that they included in their stocking numbers that do not survive due to limited holding structure in the river.
Most of the creeks and springs have a run up them as well. Ironic one of the things LUCRO was trying to get TWRA to the table on along with the other user group was not only a more realistic and acceptable to all parties regulations based on the data and known results from previous stocking, but some regulations that would protect the bigger fish that run up the river and try to spawn anyway.
As a note you are aware that two of the spawning areas are heavily traveled through by fishermen
Have a good weekend