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Old 05-23-2011, 09:00 PM
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MadisonBoats MadisonBoats is offline
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Post Clinch River: Sulphur Hatch [May 2011]

I have fished the sulphur hatch on the Clinch River quiet a bit in the past week. The hatch seems to start around 11:00 AM and runs steadily until the generators disperse them. I focused on throwing dry flies for two-solid days. However; I could not get consistent action with any of my dry flies.

The water was extremely clear and it seemed that most of the rising fish were taking emergent sulphurs and not adult duns.

I switched to my trusty Umpqua split case and it worked very well. My friend Mihai hooked a 20" rainbow on the third fish after changing to the nymph. We fished it on a short drop (~8-12") to take advantage of the rising fish and to keep it in their focal range. We used the weighted version of this nymph; however, the unweighted would work equally as well by allowing it to float close to the film. This technique helps to illustrate the nymph holding on to the bottom of the surface film.

From most of my observations and hours of underwater video this past week; the fish were hitting emergent nymphs and not dries or adult duns. Hence; that is why I came up thin using my dry flies. You will do well on weighted nymphs and floating nymphs. If you want to focus on top-water action; throw an unweighted nymph to a rise and let it static drift in the film. It will out fish your dry flies.

Here are some pictures to help illustrate the conditions.

Fly of choice:





Regards,
SM
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:29 PM
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Thanks for the update. I would love to get over there sometime midweek this week, just waiting for TVA to cooperate. Somebody told me that they went this past weekend and it was a zoo, and it was the most crowded they had ever seen it. Plus I saw Daniel's post about one man counting 43 other fishermen on the water with him. I can only imagine how nuts that place will be with the upcoming long holiday weekend.

I prefer to use my sulfur hackle stacker pattern when they are taking the cripples and emergers in the film. Guess I need to check my supply in case I get the chance to head that way.
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:55 PM
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Saturday was a Trout Unlimited event at the Second Baptist Church area. I counted 55 people on the river from the 61 bridge to the top of the island. However; there were numerous opportunities to fish to a rise. Cripples and emergers will keep you in the fish if you are throwing to a rise. Otherwise; I would throw a weighted split-case.

If you get them on dry flies; please try and capture it on film.

Here are a few more pictures...

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Last edited by MadisonBoats; 05-24-2011 at 08:41 AM.. Reason: Added Pictures....
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Old 05-24-2011, 08:43 AM
kentuckytroutbum kentuckytroutbum is offline
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Shawn-

Those are GREAT photos, thanks for sharing them with us. I love it when someone gets a good photo of the hatch up close. You can really see what is happening.

Bill
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Old 05-24-2011, 09:56 AM
truchin truchin is offline
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Shawn very good observations.
I've had the same experience as far as patterns but cdc emergers on the swing also produced well.
This is the most prolific hatch i can remember.
good luck to all and try to preserve the experience /resource...
jose
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:50 AM
Corbo Corbo is offline
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Thanks for info Shawn; so far I have not wade fished the Clinch....Suphurs are one of my favorite hatches anywhere.

Ben to the Holston at Nance's and had a blast... many guides in drifters upset with poor results on the caddis hatch... We were whacking them on caddis emergers and para sulphurs. The hatch there was very mixed; even saw tan stuff that looked like a size 10 mayfly (which they ignored)! The Sulphur hatch was thin but many fish seemed to key on them.

Fished a 2 weight in the wind to handicap myself against my son who fished a six; might be old and broken down but I waded for 10 hours and kicked butt... cunning and experience beat youth and stamina.

Question: Is the access to highway 61 area at the bridge and is parking self evident?

Hope to run into you sometime as you are about as obsessed as it gets.
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:52 AM
mstone mstone is offline
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The jail area was as crowded as I have ever seen it. However, most folks stayed in one spot during the hatch. Just the right amount of sulphurs came off. It was tough using dries, but I managed a few nice fish. I counted 48 people at one time in that area. Two people next to me caught more than most folks, but they knew nothing about playing the fish. Fifteen minutes to land a eighteen inch trout is WAY to long. This happened with every fish they caught ( or killed ). Wanted to say something but I didn't. It was good to get on the river.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corbo View Post
.....
Question: Is the access to highway 61 area at the bridge and is parking self evident?

Hope to run into you sometime as you are about as obsessed as it gets.
Well, just MapQuest Second Baptist Church in Clinton. The access is located beside the church. The designated parking area for fishermen is in the lot behind the church next to the river.

Funny; my brother says that I get too obsessed at times. It does not always equate to landing more fish. Sometimes I have to just step back and listen to friends with more experience to keep me grounded and in the fish.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
The jail area was as crowded as I have ever seen it. However, most folks stayed in one spot during the hatch. Just the right amount of sulphurs came off. It was tough using dries, but I managed a few nice fish. I counted 48 people at one time in that area. Two people next to me caught more than most folks, but they knew nothing about playing the fish. Fifteen minutes to land a eighteen inch trout is WAY to long. This happened with every fish they caught ( or killed ). Wanted to say something but I didn't. It was good to get on the river.
I counted 55 on Saturday. However; there was a Trout Unlimited Event going on at the same time. There was plenty of room as you stated.

I hope that was not me and my friend playing that fish too long. He hooked at 20" and had to play the fish longer than normal. He had forgotten his net and he was struggling to get it in. He also has Parkinson's Disease that gives him some extra struggles in landing larger fish. I had to walk up stream to help him with a net. We spent about 5 minutes rehabbing the fish and did not let him loose until he could adequately swim on his on. That was not the ideal way to land a fish; but, it happened and we made the best of it. I apologize if we were any distraction. He got a little excited too.
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Old 05-25-2011, 01:06 PM
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Chose to take the morning off today and fish the Clinch. Got in the water at 7:15, and fished till about 10:00. Only caught one 12" fish from 7:15 till 9:30, then it was like somebody flipped the switch. From 9:30 till 10:00 I landed 6 and had 3 others get off. At one time I had hooked fish on 6 out of 8 casts. It was a good morning once the fog burned off. All were hooked on a #16 flashback pheasant tail beneath an indicator. Unfortunately had to leave then to get to work in time for a meeting. If I were to go this weekend, I would try to be there around 8:00 to be in position by 9:00 before the crowds show up. The bugs were really starting to pop as I walked out, so I can only imagine that it would have gotten better. Surface activity was basically non-existent until I started to leave.

Most were 10-12", but I caught one around 14" and one around 17". Wish I could have stayed longer, I had the place all to myself.

It has been 6 weeks since I last wet a line, and it showed today. My casts were off, and my mending took some time to recover. So, maybe that could also account for the delay in my catching. Possibly I was just spooking fish with my drag and casts early on, that otherwise should have been caught.
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Old 05-25-2011, 11:20 PM
mstone mstone is offline
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Madison Boats,
that may have been me next to you on Saturday. I was just concerned for the welfare of those fish. I considered that maybe you guys were fishing really light tippet or something. You guys hooked up more than anyone else. I admire your friend for getting out and wading with Parkinson's. Funny thing, earlier before you guys came in, I fished that stretch hard with PT's and a zebra midge and never had a strike. Fish were waiting for the sulphurs I suppose. Hoping for some wadeable water this weekend. See you on the river.
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