Guided Trips


Things have changed a lot since the last report. Unseasonably warm weather has kicked off the first hatches of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains while an extremely wet February means all of the tailwaters are blown out across middle and east Tennessee.

If you want to fish in the Smokies, nymphs and streamers will be your best bet unless you encounter a hatch. In that case, Blue Quills and Quill Gordons should be in your arsenal as well as Blue-winged Olives.

For now, just forget about the tailwaters in the short term. continued rain means it will be at least another month before the tailwaters are fishable again. With luck, we can start thinking about some streamer float trips on the Caney Fork in mid to late March, although that may be optimistic. In the meantime, head for the mountains and enjoy chasing the wild trout there.

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Trouble at Kingston Coal Plant

If you live and fish in East Tennessee, there is a good chance that you've fished the Clinch River at some point. The river was one of the better tailwaters in the area for many years before declining. Lately it seems to be on the comeback trail probably largely due to new special regulations such as the ones that have made the Caney Fork such a spectacular fishery. Just when things were looking up, news of a potential environmental disaster is coming from the very banks of the river. The Kingston Coal Plant is a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) coal-fired powerplant that apparently just polluted a rather large area.

According to the story from CNN, a large area of sludge broke free from the containment area, eventually covering around 400 acres in the potentially hazardous material. While TVA officials say it can't yet be called toxic,

One environmental attorney called that statement "irresponsible." The ash that gives sludge its thick, pudding-like consistency in this case is known as fly ash, which results from the combustion of coal. Fly ash contains concentrated amounts of mercury, arsenic and benzine, said Chandra Taylor, staff attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Wow, mercury, arsenic and benzine...sounds great for the Clinch. Fortunately for the trout fishery, this spill occured well downstream of the prime trout water. Still, as the Clinch is a major tributary to the Tennessee River, this is clearly a bad situation. Of course, I'm probably a little more bitter than normal since TVA is generating on most of the area tailwaters making a tailwater trip highly unlikely in the near future (unless its the SoHo)...that and the fact that the spill has already been killing fish in the area... I guess at this point the best thing to hope for is that the cleanup can be done quickly and thoroughly...


  1. David,
    Dealing with fly ash is part of my job, and it can be pretty nasty stuff.

    There have been Fish Consumption warnings for some time on Watts Bar, pretty safe bet this is going to extend that list. Also, I think the area at Kingston Steam plant is a major rockfish fishery during the winter.

    On a side note, I am planning a trip to the SoHo on Monday. Shoot me an email if you are interested.

  2. This is an example of why we need to be using Natural Gas to fire these plants.

    There is no such thing as "clean coal". It doesn't exist.

    Maybe the Obama administration will move us toward clean technologies and reverse 8 years of pandering to the big polluters.



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