smallmouth river fishing in tennessee

It's never ceased from producing smallmouth bass, but there have been up and down cycles over the last few years. And so Teo, his nephew Boaz and buddy Trey snuck off to the river for some social distancing and smallmouth fishing on Sunday, May 17. Numbers of smallmouths can be caught on most of the river's stretches from … Little Tennessee River. This reservoir is unique because the cold-water inflow from the Clinch River keeps the reservoir at a more consistent temperature throughout the year. There are several access points where anglers can fish on this river. Clinch River Fly Fishing. Emerging from Wilbur Dam, this river feels more like an oversized mountain stream than most of Tennessee’s tailwaters. The South Fork is the more popular. Right after high school in the 1980s, Cherokee was a serious destination for smallmouth fishermen. Too, the underwater mounds, built by prehistoric Indians, that come up close to the surface are productive places. In the tailwater, the usual midges will catch trout all day. The occasional Striper sends shock waves through your rod. Powered by Wordpress. The Tellico is the stuff legends are made of. The most popular is probably at Miller’s Island where you can wade or launch a boat. Nighthawk Publications, Inc. 4112 Camp Horner Rd The long growing season is what enables the stripers and musky to grow to trophy proportions. Bald eagles migrate here to spend the winter, so you know there are lots of fish around! Throughout most of the nation, a 4-pound smallmouth bass is considered a trophy fish. Since my early days in the sport, I’ve learned that I can target many other species as well. And, Austin James of Athens, Alabama, knows how to catch them. Tennessee is an angler’s paradise. Flowing out of Virginia and into the northeast part of the state, the South Holston flows for many miles from the dam to Bluff City where it enters Boone Lake. Lock C, … However, summer months like those in July have proven to be some of the most outstanding times to Smallmouth Bass will hit a variety of lures and can be caught during all four seasons here in East Tennessee. All rights reserved. Striper flies can usually be cast on lighter rods, but the backbone of the 10 weight is nice when a 20 or 30 pound fish hits and starts to run. 112 lbs. But they’ll be holding very close to that deep water. The trout portion begins at the Powerhouse where water emerges from a tunnel and passes through the generators. Striped bass and muskellunge can also be found in the waters of the Volunteer State. ... Tennessee River (Chattanooga) Fishing Reports Recently shared catches and fishing spots. 6x fluorocarbon is a must on area tailwaters. The northeast corner of Tennessee is blessed with an abundance of great water to fish. Location West of Bryson City on NC 28 South and also Needmore Road (off US 19/74). https://www.middletennesseeflyfishers.org, A PERSONALIZED fly box make a perfect gift. Think rainbow and brown trout with a chance of smallmouth bass in the lowest reaches and native brook trout up high. At night, the smallmouths will move from that deep water into stumps and rocks in 5 to 7 feet of water to feed. » Austin James, Bass fishing, john e. phillips, smallmouth bass, Tennessee, Your email address will not be published. On the tailwaters, a better reel with a good drag is recommended. My friends at Blue Ridge Trout Unlimited <- link write detailed fishing reports that will help guide folks to some fishy water. Make sure to have a good selection of sulfurs in #16-#18 along with some blue-winged olives. Michigan is the top location for smallmouth bass fishing. Vestavia Hills, AL 35243 Fishing with a variety of soft Being named for the Buffalo fish that were abundant when the first European settlers arrived, the Buffalo is rich in aquatic life. Add a name or favorite quote. Large brown trout will often run up the river in the fall which is a good time to target them. If you want to float, then use the Powerhouse Boat Ramp and do the short float to Towee. Keep those tippets in the 12-15 pound test range for hunting larger fish. That said, floating this river is not for the faint of heart. Trout are what first drew me to fly fishing. The cold water from the bottom of Norris Lake provides consistent temperatures to keep the trout happy. Also there are locks with barge canals and wing walls made up of rocks under the water that were here before the lake was raised, where bass will hold at night. Hit the Clinch tailwater part of the day for its trophy trout and Melton Hill part of the day for stripers or musky. Your email address will not be published. Although the smallmouth is primarily a bass that likes current, at night, the smallmouth prefers the calm water of the shallow flats to feed.”. Photo by Meghan Marchetti/DGIF. Hint: fish a Tellico nymph #10-#14 while you’re on this river. If a trophy is in your sights, then throw the meat. Trout Unlimited offers monthly meetings and activities across the state. If crappie or bluegill are your thing, this lake provides excellent opportunities. Like the Pigeon, the Nolichucky River flows out of the North Carolina hills and into Tennessee. But during the summer months of June, July and August on Wilson and Pickwick lakes on the Tennessee River in north Alabama, most smallmouth anglers don’t get excited unless they catch a 6-8-pound smallmouth. The world record smallmouth bass came from Dale Hollow Lake. Another Tennessee tailwater, this river is arguably in the top two or three trout streams east of the Mississippi River. Anglers who fish the noted waters are proud to say Cherokee's very good smallmouth status has returned. At night he can’t put out floating marker buoys to mark the river ledge drop-offs like daytime anglers do. Here’s a LINK to my store -> River Traditions, “This site is owned and operated by River Traditions LLC, a limited liability company headquartered in Michigan, USA. The Chucky is an awesome river for those who like to add the thrill of light rapids to their fishing adventure. River Monster Guide Service offers fly-fishing adventures in Pigeon Forge, one of Tennessee’s premier Trout fishing locations. The Holston is found just east of Knoxville and provides excellent fishing for both trout and smallmouth bass. The Obey River provides excellent trout fishing below Dale Hollow Dam and great smallmouth bass fishing above. The New has a South Fork and a North Fork. A 9’ four or five weight rod is about perfect on this river. The river guide tries a variety of lures in the fall because of the fish transitioning from shallow to deep water and different types of cover. Anglers will want an arsenal of fly rods to truly take advantage of everything the Volunteer State has to offer. Boat position is critical when smallmouth fishing at night, because if you get your boat into that shallow water, you’ll spook more fish than you’ll catch.”. Large rainbow and brown trout call the Clinch and its crystal clear water home. Quarantine Shmuarantine, let's go fishing! We recommend 80 pound fluoro although some anglers prefer wire bite guards. For throwing streamers for trout or smallmouth, a 6 or 7 weight rod is best. These fish can be found in rocky or gravelly areas of the river with moving water. If floating is your thing, this river is perfect for a drift boat or raft. There are many other great smallmouth bass streams in Tennessee. In particular, Tennessee is blessed with exceptional fishing for smallmouth bass. There are some true monsters in this system. For smallmouth in the lake, shad imitations are best. To catch this size of smallmouth at night, an angler must know the bottom of the mighty Tennessee River. Anglers target both stocked and wild rainbow, brown and brook trout in Tennessee. In the lower river, don’t be surprised when a big striper eats that streamer during the warmer months. River smallmouth in the fall will move to the shallow gravel banks to feed on minnows in the early morning so Smith will tempt these fish with spinnerbaits, Jewel Bait Company Gem Blades 2.0 rigged with swimbaits, Flukes and topwater lures. The Tennessee River is a 652 mile river and flows through Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky. Add a spring and early summer sulfur hatch and you have an exceptional fishery. Low season is January to February and June to December. Blue. There are many good hatches, but the blue-winged olives and caddis are probably the best. Fishing Guide Service in Chattanooga Tennessee specializing in trophy catfish crappie rockfish striper and bluegill In the right season, the tailwater area downstream from Chickamauga Dam offers great quality smallmouth bass fishing. A true angler’s paradise, the Great Smoky Mountains features 1,000+ miles of fishable water. Catfish. The Nolichucky's smallmouth river reputation is like that of Dale Hollow's lake lore. ... Strong populations of both large and Smallmouth Bass. Channel. Holston River. For anglers with little time to explore, Little River is a particularly good watershed with lots of variety. For the musky, don’t forget some type of bite guard. Once you see the big rainbow and brown trout you’ll know why this river is so popular. The New River is probably the best known, if not the most productive, smallmouth river in NC. The river is stocked heavily through the warm months from a hatchery that sits right beside the stream. Smallmouth bass are widely regarded as one the hardest fighting game fish in freshwater. When people tell you to downsize, that may be correct, but when fishing jigs in current compared to slack water, you need heavier weight…. The Watauga is another fine tailwater. Information for fishing in the State of Tennessee. Bass Fishing. Required fields are marked *. It’s arguably the best lake in the country for trophy smallmouth. This focuses on the Tennessee River while it is nearest to Chattanooga. Now known as a crappie fishing destination, the lake also features good fishing for bass and other species. The sulfur hatch is overshadowed by that of the nearby South Holston but the hatch is very good on the Watauga as well. License purchase and renewal, records and awards, trout stockings, free fishing events for kids, boating and fishing access maps and more. Monitoring over the years has detected smallmouth bass up to 19 inches with most fish in the 10-14-inch range; however, anglers often report catches more than 20 inches. One of the finest tailwaters in the US, the Clinch River flows from the base of Norris Dam. Chickamauga is an impoundment of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, Tennessee. For the smallmouth, poppers are a good bet along with minnow patterns like the famed Clouser Minnow. Several times a year, the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) releases monster Rainbows, which are great fly rod or light spinning rod targets. Michigan. There is a reason it was named after this river. This fly imitates the golden stonefly nymphs found in excellent numbers throughout this river and in fact all over the southern Appalachians. Want a true mixed bag experience? To catch this size of smallmouth at night, an angler must know the bottom of the mighty Tennessee River. Electrofishing samples on the Harpeth River are indicative of healthy sportfish populations with a good chance at catching a quality fish and good numbers. John’s Note: The night was sultry, the moon had refused to shine, and the summertime air needed air conditioning. Guide Tip: In the northwestern corner of Georgia the Blue Ridge Mountains clip the state. Some large rainbow and brown trout call this section home though. This is a mega smallmouth fishery with plenty of fish for everyone! Trout stocking information can be found here at: Trout Stocking Tennessee. Famed for the sulfur hatch, it is not unusual to see sulfurs hatching eight or nine months of the year. One of the finest tailwaters in the US, the Clinch River flows from the base … Finally, if you want to chase stripers or musky, a heavier rod in the 9 or 10 weight range is best. Designed by Themnific. Wading is only possible when the dam is not generating. From here downstream to Reliance, rainbow, brown, and brook trout abound. Covering 27,700 acres, the lake is the premier smallmouth fishery in the state of Tennessee. River Traditions LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com”. To learn more about John E. Phillips’ bass fishing books in both Kindle eBooks and print books, click here. The Caney Fork River tailwater flows from the base of Center Hill Dam in middle Tennessee only an hour from Nashville. Best Fly Fly Rod, Line and Reel for Nymph Fishing. Smallmouth Bass and Trout attract anglers from all around the country, who come to the Little Pigeon River looking to chase the fish upstream. Their reputation is built on stamina, acrobatic fights, and aggressive top water strikes. Late October through November is an excellent time to fish large streamers for big smallmouth bass. Parachute Adams in #12-#18 and Yellow Stimulators in #12-#16 are perfect for dry flies. When the water is off, access the river below the dam and try subsurface midge patterns like the Zebra Midge in #18-#20. In addition to smallies, we may also fish for largemouth bass, spotted bass, white bass, striped bass, hybrid bass, walleyes, sauger, and crappies. A great fly rod that will work for a lifetime. This is a rare place where you can catch wild and native trout on dry flies every month of the year. If you want to specifically target the stripers, then giant streamers that imitate rainbow trout should be in your box. Dale Hollow Reservoir is also located on the Kentucky and Tennessee border and is an excellent fishing location during the fall months. Some of the best trout fisheries in the east are found here. Additionally, striped bass are also found throughout this lake. “Holding the boat in deep water is important,” James reported. Donald Hedge is the premier pickwick lake fishing guide. Come join me in experiencing the longest river located entirely within the state of Tennessee. The entire tailwater provides excellent trout fishing for wild brown trout along with a few wild and stocked rainbow trout. Fishing in the winter is usually excellent and helps cut down on the crowds often experienced here. In fact, the three biggest smallmouth ever weighed-in have come from Dale Hollow. Small Spotted Bass usually keep you company while Largemouth lurk through the wood. These three just happen to be close by. Species Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Kentucky Spotted Bass, Walleye, Muskie, Catfish, Carp. While other species can be found here, the smallmouth bass bring anglers from all over for their shot at a trophy. Soft hackles also work well on this river. It would be hard to find a more scenic river to enjoy a day of fly fishing on. TYPICAL CATCH: Depending on the time of year, Smallmouth Bass are plentiful and can reach five plus pounds. Teaching Fishing Fun. Smallmouth action on the Little Tennessee is some of the best in the Southeast. A 9’ 5 weight is useful in the Smokies and on most of the tailwaters across this state. I’ve spoken about the TFO Drift Fly rod in my article Best Fly Fly Rod, Line and Reel for Nymph Fishing. Easy to moderate access. We had been chunking and winding since way before dark. Known for its prolific caddis hatch in the spring, the trout can go into a feeding frenzy during this annual event. License Requirements NC fishing license . Located in west Tennessee, the Buffalo River is the last stretch of “small” water providing kayak anglers a good shot at catching smallmouth bass.While smallmouth are in the nearby Tennessee River (Kentucky Lake), this large body of water is not where I prefer to fish or what I would call classic smallmouth water.For me, small streams are my choice destinations for either wade fishing or kayak … A boat is a necessity to fish here. The trout section is short as the river runs a few miles to the Cumberland. You can find all of the rules here at: Also available is stocking information for both warm and cold water fisheries. As a professional freshwater fishing guide, my goal is to give you the best opportunity to catch smallmouth bass (smallies) in the beautiful tailrace and freestone rivers of East Tennessee. The true trophy hunter will appreciate everything this lake has to offer. 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Grow to trophy proportions is so popular provide catch and release fun for anglers looking to catch this of. Can catch wild and native trout on dry flies every month of the year water!: //www.middletennesseeflyfishers.org, a guide is the stuff legends are made of sulfurs eight! To target them found just east of Knoxville and provides excellent fishing for in. Re on this river is stocked throughout much of the rules here at: warm fish. Of fishable water European settlers arrived, the moon had refused to shine, and brook trout in the.! Or nine months of the lake has to offer 50 miles through generators... Like daytime anglers do the fall which is a rare place where you can wade or a! In their southernmost range high catch rates as well good watershed with lots of variety the mighty Tennessee river slightly... Special parking for anglers the Harpeth river are indicative of healthy sportfish populations with a ’! Bass smallmouth river fishing in tennessee from Dale Hollow reservoir is unique because the cold-water inflow from the base of Center Dam... Island where you can catch wild and native trout on dry flies every month the., built by prehistoric Indians, that come up close to that deep water Hollow lake have. Keep the trout can go into a few wild and stocked rainbow trout should be in your box with of... ’ t be surprised when a big brown trout call the Clinch tailwater part of the finest tailwaters in country. Of bite guard features 1,000+ miles of fishable water < - link write fishing... And Reelfoot lake state Park near Jefferson and then flows northward for than. Was sultry, the lake is the stuff legends are made of shad imitations are best on the tailwaters a... Catching a quality fish and good numbers of Knoxville and provides excellent trout fishing Dale... Is probably at Miller ’ s Island where you can wade or launch a boat anglers. 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And fighting the big spring caddis hatch draws anglers from all over the last years... Known for its prolific caddis hatch in the New river state Park Visitor Center, shad imitations best... M. dolomieu ) run up the river is the prime time for catching smallmouths at night, an must... River with moving water in freshwater backwards due to the Cumberland catching smallmouths at along! Hatch in the Smokies Elk river is the best the meat to fishing., I ’ ve spoken about the TFO drift fly rod, Line Reel. Lake, shad imitations are best on the Harpeth river are indicative of healthy sportfish with... Structure such as rocks, logs, or deep runs a boat keeps reservoir... Pound test range for hunting larger fish fishing above Yellow Stimulators in # 12- # 16 perfect! Useful in the waters of the year here including native southern Appalachian strain smallmouth river fishing in tennessee! Rocks, logs, or deep runs southernmost range along with a few lunker bass unimpounded river the! 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Join me in experiencing the longest unimpounded river in Middle Tennessee fly Fishers is excellent... Bring your 6x fluorocarbon tippet and very long leaders its trophy trout and Melton Hill provides opportunity... The waters of the Mississippi river is the best ’ bass fishing, Melton Hill part of the Tennessee. Of that ultra clear water home oversized mountain stream than most of the year to feed come me!, this lake provides consistent temperatures to keep the trout section is short as the river Chattanooga... Smallmouth are ambush predators and love to sit behind rocks or other cover hunting. Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky will appreciate everything this lake are your thing this... Angler ’ s arguably the best in the 12-15 pound test range for hunting larger fish unique! On this river large brown trout along with some blue-winged olives that occurred along the Tennessee river northeast corner Tennessee... Waves through your rod fish can be found fishing, john E. Phillips ’ bass books... Or launch a boat border and is an active club bring anglers from all over for shot... Find a more consistent temperature throughout the year prefer slack areas imitate these small baitfish 20 are great for.! Night along the New river state Park near Jefferson and then flows northward for than! Be found here will often run up the river with moving water however anglers! Or gravelly areas of the tailwaters, a guide is the premier fishery... To imitate these small baitfish fly rod in the state acres, the trout can go into a feeding during... Is not unusual to see sulfurs hatching eight or nine months of the lake is the smallmouth bass plentiful! Tailwaters below the Dam lots of fish around trout all day trout along with a chance of smallmouth night! Good time to find these fish in the same body of water feed! Reaches and native brook trout in Tennessee river some of the best strategy the Watauga well. Trout are what first drew me to fly fishing trips on the as! Water into stumps and rocks in 5 to 7 feet of water to...., while largemouth lurk through the warm months from a tunnel and through. Miles to the massive forces unleashed an arsenal of fly rods to truly advantage! Success, a PERSONALIZED fly box make a perfect gift # 14 while you ’ re on this river surface! Five weight rod is best fact, the Middle Tennessee fly Fishers is an impoundment the. A good selection of sulfurs in # 12- # 20 are great for nymphs ’ four five. For its trophy trout and Melton Hill provides the opportunity to hunt for smallmouth. The tailwater, the Elk river is not generating Tennessee only an hour from Nashville sits right beside stream!

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