04/07/10
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives
2.   Little Black Winter Stoneflies
3.   Quill Gordon Mayflies
4.   Blue Quill Mayflies
5.   Little Brown Stoneflies
6.   Little Black Caddis (American Grannoms)
7.   Hendricksons and Red Quills
8.   Little Short Horned Sedges
9.   Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
10  Midges

Tailwaters - Part 5
I started a series of articles on fly fishing tailwaters, then ceased posting them in
order to cover the Hendricksons and Short-horned Sedges before they hatched in
the Smokies. I realize that many of you enjoy fishing the tailwaters near Great
Smoky Mountains National Park as well as the small freestone streams in the park.

I covered my frustrations in having to deal with constant changing water flows below
dams to the point I referred to them as "part time trout fisheries". Although the fact
you may not be able to fish the tailwaters whenever you desire adds to the
frustration, when conditions are right, most of them provide good fishing
opportunities.

I also covered why the tailwaters vary considerably on the numbers and variety of
aquatic insects that exist there. They range greatly from streams with mostly two
winged midges and black flies to those that have good populations of mayflies and
caddisflies. The aquatic insect population of the stream that was dammed has a lot
to do with that as well as the depth of the water in the lake above the dam and the
temperature and frequency of the discharges. When it gets right down to it, all of
them are different, sometimes very different. The methods, techniques and
strategies all vary considerably depending on the tailwater and the amount of water
being discharged.

For that reason, I said that I would go through some of the local tailwaters and try to
point out the basic differences. Now I realize that many of you fish certain tailwaters
very regularly and are familiar with many successful methods of going about it. I am
focusing more on the anglers that are not familiar with them or at least familiar with
all of them in the area. I also realize that many local anglers are prone to get stuck n
their ways and can't see the forest for the trees at times. These are very basic and
brief summaries of the fishing to give those unfamiliar an idea of what the fishing
consist of. I'll start with one that has been up and down lately but one that is doing
fairly well at the time - the Clinch River tailwater.

Clinch River:
Like most all the southern tailwaters, the Clinch River fishing depends greatly on the
stocking that takes place. Like all of them in the South, with some exceptions, it also
has a good population of hold-over trout. Those are trout that were stocked at one
time but have grown up to be large and wise, living through all the seasons. The
Clinch does very well in that respect. It has some huge holdover brown trout, some
of which that have been there so long they know more than most young wild trout.
Not only because they live in a tailwater environment, but also because they are
large, they feed completely different than smaller trout. Lets say for purposes of
this, I am referring to trout over 14 or 16 inches. Some of the brown trout grow to
huge sizes and browns that measure in the 20 to 30 inch range are no surprise to
anyone that fishes the river regularly. I think its the fact the river does hold some
huge browns that makes it a tailwater very much worth fishing. This isn't to say that
it doesn't have some nice rainbows and even brook trout, but the large browns
provide something that can challenge any angler's skills. Continued............