The Clinch River, located just north of Knoxville TN, is another fine tailwater. The icy waters flowing from Norris Dam never get much higher than 60 degrees or so. In fact, wading here requires waders’ year around. The Clinch River tailwater fishery is comprised of mostly rainbow trout in the 10 to 13 inch range with 15 to18 inch fish turning up regularly. The Clinch is most noted for turning up good numbers of large brown trout. The state record brown trout weighing a little more than 28 lbs was caught on the Clinch River. Common brown trout range from 7 to 14 inches.
Clinch River Insects
The Clinch River is a little different than all our other destinations. The food base on the Clinch Tailwater is on the very small side. Midges, black fly, sow bugs, scuds, and small caddis pupa make up the majority of the fisheries diets. This makes for some great light line nymphing for good-sized fish. The Clinch does feature a great sulphur hatch that occurs from late March through June. This is the best time to fish dries on the Clinch. Streamer fishing is also a good way to connect with some of the Clinch’s trophies.
The Clinch River is a year round fishery with stream flows being the only limiting factor. The best months to fish the Clinch are March through August and October through November. Clinch river fly fishing has a protected slot limit on the tailwater.
The Clinch River is located within 20 minutes of Knoxville and less than an hour to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. So, there are a lot of activities close by including theme parks and outlet mall shopping. The Holston River is close by and works well as a last minute alternative in case of unfavorable water flows on the Clinch. Our East Tennessee fly fishing guides often fish both rivers on multi day trips.