I have a busy July schedule, so I don't expect to make it to the river more than once the entire month. So today, Scott and I decided to try and get into some more sulfur action on the Clinch one last time before it ends. I have been averaging over 20 fish per trip recently, and it has gotten me spoiled. While I am not catching the large fish I caught last year, my numbers are almost 2.5 times higher this year. (I keep a log of every fishing trip, that includes weather conditions, water temps, fly patterns, and techniques.) I know that this is in large part to the fish just being overly aggressive this year during a phenomenal sulfur hatch, but I like to think that my skills are improving.
We got to the water today around 8:15 and found only one other person in the water when we arrived. We easily made our way downstream to our run of choice and I hooked up on my first cast. I also performed a long distance release that you would think I had been practicing for months. This immediately got me excited thinking it was going to be a wonderful day. Unfortunately, that was not the case. As I said earlier, I have been spoiled recently on the Clinch, and today was a little disappointing. The hatch did not pick up today until around 11:30, but the fish were very skittish today. Usually I don't have a problem spotting risers and working within casting distance and picking them off one by one. However, today, they were very line shy, and required a down and across approach. I do this quite often with nymphs, but it was a totally new experience with dries. I found that I could get a good 50 to 60' drift downstream, but I had so much slack in my line that I couldn't connect when I did entice the trout to take.
The general consensus today at the river seemed to be that things were a little slower today than past weeks. With the exception of one guy who I watched haul in fish after fish on what appeared to be a dry fly of some sort.
Looking back on my log, it was this week last year that the sulfurs started to dry up on the Clinch. You could somewhat tell it today, as the fish seemed to be stuck somewhere in between typical sulfur holding places and midge holding places. When they are actively taking sulfurs they are stacked up on shoals. Typically downstream in the seams and eddies, but I find the larger ones to be upstream sucking in the emergers before they reach the shoal. Today they were not in those places like they have been the past month or so. I also tried going to my typical midge locations, and only had minimal success there too. My midge locations tend to be deep and have very little current, where I can bounce my larva along the bottom picking up nice sized fish hugging the bottom structure. I think in the next couple weeks the fish will move to the more traditional midge locations, once the sulfurs have completed their season finale.
Weather: 90 deg and Sunny
Water Temp: 53 deg
# of fish landed: 7
Size Range: 10 - 13"