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Thread: Feb 12th at Miller's Island

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    West Knox County

    Default Feb 12th at Miller's Island

    Feb 12th, 2007 on the Clinch River

    After four days in Cincinnati stomping around in frozen water and freezing my toockus, if found myself back in Knoxville with a forecast for 55F and the Clinch River at minimum flow. What’s a fly fisherman to do? I cleared my desk and planned my day around a fishing trip.
    I couldn’t get away until noon, but that was fine, since the day started out at 32F and cloudy. By noon it was already 45F and warming. I arrived at the Miller’s Island parking lot and found only four vehicles. (Had this been a weekend, the parking lot would have been much more crowded.) As I got out of the car, I noticed midges buzzing all around, some to size 18. Stoked with enthusiasm, I planned to head for “my rock” on the north side of the island. Unfortunately, there were two other fishermen in that section, so I opted to start on the south channel, where I noticed only one other fisherman. I could move to the northern channel later.
    While I knew the midges were hatching, I wanted to hedge my bets, so I rigged a small golden soft hackle and a bead-headed blood midge. There were fish rising all around, and on my third cast, I hooked a small rainbow on the soft hackle. I hadn’t had a fish on for some time, so I played with the fish until, sure enough, it got off. Eternal optimist that I am, the quick hookup boosted my spirits even further. A few more misses and I was stoked.
    The other fly fisher downstream was having some luck as well. Rather than fish up to him, I grabbed my fly in order to move below him. As commonly done, I asked about his luck. He said he was catching a few on black wire midges. With a soft hackle and a blood midge, and a fish already hooked, I thought I was adequately rigged.
    I worked the next riffle and had a few strikes, but not as many as the other fellow. I changed to a black emerger with a tuft of snowshoe hare and a bead head zebra midge dropper. I picked up several on the emerger and a couple on the zebra midge. While they weren’t large, they were energetic. There were many more rising fish, so I kept at it for a while and worked downstream a short distance. Finally, I decided to move up stream and work my way to the north channel.
    My neighbor had hooked a nice 18”-19” on a green wire midge, but lost him. I worked the same run, but only got a small brown trout. I move further up stream and picked up another small rainbow. The midge hatch was slowing and the risers were too, so I decided to try the north side.
    When I finally rounded the tip of the island, I noticed that my honey hole was vacant. It was vacant of rising trout as well. The midge hatch had ended and my fishing fortunes with them. I had one chase, but no take. That was about the end of it.
    When I reached the parking lot, my neighbor showed me a photo. He went back to where he had the strike from the large fish, and caught him on a pheasant tail nymph.
    While my day wasn’t as productive, it was delightful. There were plenty of fish, plenty of strikes, birds singing, riffles splashing, and herons cruising the shallows. Fishing was better than some days, but not as good as others. All in all, it was a delightful day on the Clinch River.

    Gary Verholek

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    Gary, nice to meet you, and yes it was a delightful day to be on such a great river.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Harriman, Tn.


    Nice read and report! I was off yesterday and if I didn't have my grandbabies visitin' I would have probably been down there working those holes too!


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