Shawn, I've been reading your post for some time and at last I can say that I have accomplished something you have not.
I have indeed caught trout on the S. Holston on brassies, BUT only when there are no hatches present, even midge hatches.
Usually, if I observe nothing, which in not common I will tie on a #16 brassy with a silver bead as a dropper and it has worked with good results.
However, I also fished the so.ho. this past weekend and dries and midge pupae did it for me.
I agree the fish are smaller and as I look at my previous journal entries I am logging fewer fish.
I think the river is changing due to the amount of rains we are receiving. Plus, and this maybe a greater factor, there are more people fishing or more accurately stomping through the feeding lanes than I have seen in years.
Well, you made my day. I have read you post about the Clinch and know I am WAY short of you there but finally "at last" I can say I've got one on you here.
I hope you take this in fun, it is truly me intent.