Saturday, February 21, 2009

First Clinch Trip of the Year

Finally got a chance today to hit the Clinch. The wind was a little strong, and TVA did not give the best schedule for my plans, but still managed to get out. Since the area I frequently hit was going to be under water most of the day, I decided to go to the weir dam. Needless to say it was crowded today. I took a pic to try and show the people there, but it is hard to see all the people with the sun glare. You can't see them all, but there are at least a dozen fishermen in this little area. Not my idea of fun!
Crowded Weir Dam

What does one do, when your primary fishing area is unavailable and you expect the public access to be overrun by others? You hoof it. I walked down the road about 1/2 mile to another set of shoals I know about and had the entire area all to myself. The only other people I saw were in boats drifting past me. There was lots of activity when I arrived at the shoals around 12:30, which left about 45 minutes before the water fell. I slowly made my way out into the high water and swift current and began catching fish immediately. The fish were very actively feeding on midges and my #22 zebra midge apparently looked very appetizing to them. I ended up landing just shy of 2 dozen bows, but none of them were in the slot. That is quite a dramatic departure from my usual areas where the majority of the bows are in the 14-17" range, and are very acrobatic. All the fish I caught today appeared to be fresh off the stocking truck. I did hook into one fish that would probably have went 17" or so, but I had so much slack in my line due to the wind that I didn't have a chance at landing him.

It was very nice getting back out to the Clinch again after almost 2 months of continuous generation from TVA. There are a couple more months until the sulfur hatches start picking up, but until then the midge and BWO hatches should be very consistent. Spring is on its way, and I am ready for it.

Trip Summary
Time: 12:30 till 2:30
Water Temp: 43.5 F
Weather: Sunny, Windy, 53F
Tackle: 8.5' mid flex Orvis ZG 5wt
Fly of the Day: #22 black/silver zebra midge
# of fish caught: 22

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19" Clinch River Brown