Great Fishing and Fun Events at Tennessee’s Kentucky Lake This Fall
So many lakes, so little time!
We are blessed to have some really fine fishing holes in Tennessee but sometimes you come upon a spot that is just plain fishyssoise, filled with the sweet aroma of fish so fresh they haven’t even been caught yet. Yes, anglers can smell fish still underwater.
In case you’re not familiar with fishyssoise, I pronounce it “fish-e-swa” and I long ago made apologies to fans of the French soup that inspired the term.
Thanks to guide, Bob Latendresse (731-220-0582), who has fished Kentucky Lake about forty years, my fishing buddy Doug Markham and I have enjoyed some fishyssoise days on the mid-section of TVA’s run-of-the-river Kentucky Lake.
Recently, Doug and I met Bob on the eastern shore of Kentucky Lake at the boat ramp in New Johnsonville. (See my Johnsonville State Park blog for more on the history of this area.) The gravel banks of the eastern side are preferred by smallmouth anglers but we were looking for hawg largemouths.
We boated several largemouths at bridge in New Johnsonville and fished the west bank as we steadily made our way north toward Pilot Knob, the highest point in West Tennessee. The Knob is a well-known landmark for travelers on the Tennessee River since the early 1800s.
Bob navigates the area as easily as his own backyard but anglers less familiar with the environs are well-advised to throttle back and keep an eye on the channel markers to avoid running aground on the many shallow sandbars.
The fishing got better once we reached Eva Landing.
We followed the shoreline that borders the 2,587-acre Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park until we reached Bob’s honey hole that is about 50 yards from the bank of the Knob. We cast to the top of submerged streambeds and reeling our lures down the old creek banks to where the bass were holding. Bob and Doug were using eight-inch blue worms but I chose a 1/8-ounce Road Runner with a shad-colored grub.
By the time thunderstorms had chased us from the lake for the third and last time, Bob landed 18 bass, Doug boated 10 and I had just as much fun getting my six.
The fall fishing gets even better as cooler temps fire up foraging species from bass and crappie to catfish.
Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park has camping, cabin rentals, two back country shelters and more than 25 miles of hiking trails as well as the Tennessee River Folklife Interpretive Center atop Pilot Knob. Several special events scheduled for the next few months at the park will entice you to visit when you head to the lake.
Admission is free to the Eva Beach Music and Arts Festival that gets underway at 11 a.m. on Sept. 21. Featured entertainers include Good Karma, 69 South, Leavin’ Sunday, Professor and the Bull, and harpist Sheila Mitchell-Hart. A guitar give away will appeal to music fans in attendance.
Demonstrations of basket weaving, crocheting, weaving, chair bottoming and flint knapping are planned throughout the day and craft vendors will offer items from handmade duck calls to metal yard art.
The smell of hot dogs, barbecue and funnel cakes are likely to whet appetites and lend a festive air to the occasion.
Special events continue on Saturday, Sept. 28 with a ranger led three-mile hike that begins at 2 p.m. at the Pilot Knob Interpretive Center and follows Pilot Knob Ridge through scenic forest land overlooking Kentucky Lake.
On Oct. 26 ghouls, goblins, all manner of creepy crawly things invade the park while food, games and treats are featured during the Monster Café at Shelter #1 starting at 7 p.m.
The annual Lighting of the Knob kicks off the holiday season on Saturday, Nov. 28 at 6 p.m.
For more information call 731-584-6356 or visit www.tn.gov/environment/parks/NBForrest.