Re: Big Trout in the Clinch
Long time reader, seldom writer, but I could not resist this one. Largest fish on the Clinch 23" rainbow with photos. I have caught many 18-20" fish over the years with emphasis on "have".
The Clinch in the late 80's and early 90's was a tremendous trout stream. Many large fish despite heavy pressure (heavier than now). However those fish are few and far between now. What changed?
1) A trout study showing 1-2" growth rates per month due to heavy population of scuds/sowbugs and ephemerella. When that study came out TWRA changed from stocking a 8" fish that soon pigged out to a portly size. They stocked a cheaper to grow 4" fish and sold it on telling everyone it would soon reach "wild trout" behavior. Well, that's if there were any regulation to protect or police the river. Very few fish are released by the locals and therefore fewer fish reach the 18 and over category now, especially in the heavier public access areas. As far as the police, I have never been checked in 20 years of fishing the Clinch or for that matter seen a TWRA agent check anybody else. SOOOOOOOOOO as far as the locals are concerned "IT'S A MEAL TICKET, NOT A FISHING LICENCE".
2) For some reason there has also, IMO, been a decline in the number of sulphurs and scuds over the years. At the height of scud activity the grass above the weir dam was thick, then it mysteriously dissappeared over several years to look like a free stone stream, thus the the bugs went away, so did the big fish in combination with a smaller stocker. Now it seems midges are the predominant food source. Caloric wise, a #14-16 scub equals about 20 #22-24 midge, although I have never seen that on a food label!
If you want bigger fish more often write TWRA and demand changes. Seems to me that even Arkansas and Kentucky have better trout management than TN. An old saying still applies. The definition of Insanity............doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.
PS.. All those big fish came off of #16 sowbugs, and #18 midge larve patterns fished on long leaders, minimal casting, and 6x tippet.
I am a great admirer of spectator sports, especially on television; it keeps the riffraff off the trout streams.