After weeks and weeks of constant generation, TVA turned off the spickets for a brief afternoon window on the Clinch this week. Anglers that were lucky enough to notice the schedule change took to the river in mass. I heard good reports of folks catching fat and healthy slot-sized fish throughout the upper reaches of the Clinch. Although these fish didn’t come easy, as the wind was whipping up and down the river most of the afternoon. The reports were consistent from Millers all the way up to the dam.
Trout were keyed in on cream and gray midges in the #16-#20 range. Other anglers had great success fishing #16 split case Sulphur nymphs below an indicator. Swinging yellow soft hackles also produced fish for others. Sulphurs were spotted around miller’s island. A handful of adults were seen on the water and lots of nymphs were seen in the substrate. Clearly, the nymphs are active in the water and those trout are well aware. This is the time of year where the pheasant tail and Sulphur mayfly nymphs reign supreme. Make sure you have a well-stocked variety of these patterns in your fly box. This would include flies in the #14-#20 range. Include some that are a little flashier and others that are more natural. Sometimes just that little bit of flash will make a huge difference. It looks like generation will be back to a steady one generator for the next couple days. The guys that have been floating the Clinch have been putting healthy fish in the boat. Size #14 pheasant tail nymphs and split case Sulphur nymphs drifted deep have been the ticket.
For those looking to wade fish this weekend, Cherokee is predicting low flows in some form or fashion on both Saturday and Sunday. As of right now, we don’t know exactly what the schedule will look like, but 1,000 cfs is the prediction for both days. We have been seeing caddis all over the French Broad recently. Although that may not translate to seeing caddis on the Holston, it is definitely a sight for sore eyes and a good sign of spring hatches to come.
The mountains have fished well throughout the week. This colder weather that is moving in tonight and tomorrow might slow things down a bit. Fishing in the afternoon will likely be more productive than a morning session. Beadhead pheasant tail’s, prince nymphs, and hare’s ears should work well. There could be some mayflies hatching, possibly some Blue Wing Olives. Little River is flowing around 270 cfs right now with a water temperature at 48 degrees.
White bass are still working up the lower French Broad and the Lower Holston river below Boyd's Island. White and or chartreuse baitfish patterns are still the go to colors. The carp are at the creek mouths right now in full spawn mode. It won't be much longer before those fish go back to the mud flats looking for food.
Whatever you decide to do this weekend, be safe and have fun. As always, check generation schedules prior to fishing any of our tailwaters. Let us know how we can help you get on the water this weekend and this spring. Give us a call at 865-200-5271 if there is anything we can help you with.