04/09/10
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 7 - Clinch River

The Clinch River's has a few other food items trout eat other than midges but to
consistently catch trout throughout the year, you certainly need to know how to fish
imitations of midges. As already mentioned, there's a huge difference in catching
trout that have been stocked within the past few months and those that have held
over to live for more than a season. In other words, the "catching" situation can be
very distorted with reports from anglers regarding their success without any
specifics regarding the catch. To make this simple, at times anyone thats willing to  
watch a strike indicator with a nymph dropped below it can catch a trout and
sometimes, several of them, from the Clinch. I watched my young brother-in-law do
just that when I rigged a typical "guides" rig for him a few years ago. It was his
second ever trout fishing trip, yet he managed to catch several nice ten to twelve
inch rainbows. While that procedure worked that day and time, it won't always or
even most of the time if you fish day in and day out.

A quick rundown on a good procedure for fishing midges on the clinch is to first
determine if any are hatching. If you observe them hatching, you would want to first
use an imitation of the pupae. That fly should be fished from the bottom to the
surface. The direction and technique depends on the current but the basic idea is
to imitate the pupae drifting to the surface to hatch. Often the trout take the fly just
under or in the surface skim.

On far less frequent occasions, you may be able to catch trout on imitations of the
adults on the surface. Depending on the current, you may be able to fish a
combination of both, an adult and a pupae in tandem. This only works if the current
is smooth and slow to moderate.

This reminded me that I recently read something written on the web by a local club.
In essence, it compared the Clinch to a Spring Creek. At times the currents can be
smooth and the water can be clear but to compare the too is a big joke. There's
very little, if anything to compare between the two types of water. It is really an insult
to a spring creek but everyone is entitled to an opinion. I doubt, however, if the
author has ever fished many spring creeks.

Most of the time, there isn't anything hatching on the Clinch River. If not, and you
are midge fishing, you should fish an imitation of the midge larvae. First of all, don't
fish two flies. That works for the new stockers and sometimes the dumb holdovers
but in essence, it actually reduces, rather than increases you chances. The reason
is simple. Midge larvae exist on the bottom. That is where the trout hold and eat
them - on the bottom. If the midge larvae are not down in their burrows, they are
right on the bottom. It is possible, of course, for them to drift in the water column, but
that would be the exception, not the rule. You need to keep the imitation of the
larvae on or as near to the bottom as possible. That means not using a strike
indicator (unless you have a very smooth, flat bottom) and it means watching your
leader and fly line very carefully. Presenting the midge larvae in the right places on
the Clinch will produce some very nice browns. Yes, the larger twelve to eighteen
inch browns will eat midge larvae. In fact, they eat lots of them. I had hoped to
complete this on the Clinch today but there is more I need to mention, even on a
basic level. Continued............