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Clinch River

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The Clinch River is one of America’s premier trout streams. It is the tail waters that flows 13 miles Norris Dam, at River Mile 80, to the Highway 61 Bridge in Clinton, TN, at River Mile 67 and can be accessed at several locations. The river has numerous side channels, islands, shallow and wide riffles followed by deep runs, cut-banks, back-eddies. The Clinch River is home to 40 varieties of freshwater mussels and 19 rare fish species. This is a mild but fast moving river with access points scattered along its entire length. Public access along the river is primarily limited to bridge crossings and small pull-offs along roads that parallel the river. There are several primitive launching areas for canoes or small boats and three developed launching areas managed by TWRA.

Fishing: The 13 miles of tailwaters below Norris Dam are stocked with rainbow and brown trout and provide good fishing for smallmouth bass, rock bass, white bass, crappie, and walleye. This stretch of river is among the best trout fishing in Tennessee as stocked fish are able to spawn here. A weir dam divides the section of river into two distinctly different fishing environments. The section above the weir dam provides fishermen in boats deeper water in which to fish. The section below the weir dam provides the more shallow cascading water preferred by fly fishermen in waders. It's a challenging river to fly fish, demanding a stealthy approach, delicate presentation, small flies and drag-free drifts. Overall the Clinch River is one of east Tennessee's premier warmwater river resources. fly fishing info and TWRA map. Fishing on the Clinch is good year round but it is great in late winter, early spring and late fall, early winter. If you plan on wading, be sure to check the water release schedule.

Paddling: Suitable for beginner paddlers, the class I-II water provides over 50 miles of floatable river allowing for longer 2-3-day paddling trips. Once the river winds its way into Tennessee, the waters settle down as it continues its course through rising mountains to its merging with the Powell River. Now wider, the river continues toward Norris Dam. Once released from the dam, the Clinch's tailwater is accented by the pastoral setting of wooded ridges and pastures. A popular put-ins is Solway Park in Oak Ridge, adjacent to Haw Ridge Park. Paddlers should be sure to check water levels before embarking on a trip down the Clinch since drought conditions can make passage of some stretches difficult.

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