Caney Fork River Fishing

Nature’s Calling: Visit These Tennessee Fishing Spots in 2013

Creating a list of places I’d like to visit this year is like eating candy with each bite sweeter than the last. Although my blogs cover many of Tennessee’s beautiful outdoor destinations, fishing remains primo for me!

Late winter/early spring fishing at Dale Hollow Lake on the Cumberland Plateau for walleye can’t be beat. The late Billy Westmorland from Celina said the best time to catch walleye is during February when the fish run upstream to spawn in the headwaters. You can catch them before the spawning run and during it. This deep, cool reservoir, renowned for its clear water, is also home to populations of largemouth bass, spotted bass, muskie and rainbow trout.

Speaking of rainbows, March is the time for trout fishing on the Caney Fork River. The 28-mile waterway from Center Hill Dam to Carthage offers the river-tripper a panorama of fishing experiences with long, smooth, flat runs to short rocky drops where the current rushes white.

Caney Fork River Fishing

This is the size striper I’d like to catch during my 2013 rematch on the Caney Fork River.

I’d like to re-trace a 28-mile canoe-fishing-camping trip I made years ago. A three-day trip breaks into eight to 10-mile segments without having to strain at the paddle.

Day one I’d leave Long Branch Campground at dawn and fish my way to the mouth of Smith Fork Creek at the end of Betty’s Island to pitch my tent. Allowing plenty of time to fish, I’d reach the Gordonsville community for my second night.

I’m after trout but there are stripers, walleye, smallmouth and largemouth bass too. On the first cast of my last morning on my previous float-trip, I had a striper break my line. I’d like a rematch. I’d make my last casts for trout near the mouth of the Caney Fork River where it joins the Cumberland River at Carthage. Plan to keep a few nice trout in the cooler to freeze.

April means Kentucky Lake crappie at our house. Guide Bob Latendresse (731-220-0582) says Camden Bottoms is a good spot when they are pumping out the water that was trapped during the early spring. “I mean, you’ll load the boat in a couple of hours,” he says.

I’ve fished with Latendresse many times over the last 20 years and we’ve had our best catching in Birdsong, Eagle and Beaverdam Creeks. On one of my favorite trips we anchored about 20 yards off a bank and didn’t leave that spot until it was time to go home. We caught crappies on almost every cast but only kept enough for supper.

Cathy and I loved the remote feel and beautiful mountain setting at Indian Boundary Lake off the Cherohala Skyway National Scenic Byway near Tellico Plains. May looks like a good time to go back for some bass, catfish or sunfish from our canoe or the shoreline of the lake but I’ll pack fly rods for trout fishing on the Tellico River too.

Indian Lake Tennessee

Forest Service Road 345 leads from the mile-high peaks of the Cherohala Skyway to Indian Boundary Campground along the shores of the 96-acre lake situated at about 1,770 feet elevation.

An early summer trip to Tims Ford Lake is high on Cathy’s list. The 34-mile long reservoir lake contains crappie, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, stripers and other game species but most anglers who come to this reservoir pursue bass and stripers because of their abundance.

Jake, our golden retriever, will love camping on one of the islands with us. He will start his happy dance when I start catching bream from the bank for supper cooked over a campfire.

Tims Ford Lake

Anglers visiting Tims Ford Lake for the first time might be confused by its big creeks and numerous coves.

Well, that’s where I’ll be fishing in ’13. What about you?

Remember to download or order the hot of the press 2013 Tennessee Vacation Guide today and get to planning your next great outdoor adventure! It’s FREE and you can download it right here.



Hi there! I’m Vernon Summerlin. Like many, I came to Nashville to break into the music industry. After years of striving, I...Read on



    Captain Tom

    Those waters look beautiful! How big is the walleye you have listed in the photo? Thanks for sharing
    Captain Tom @Lake Erie Fishing Charter



    I was going to be in the Memphis,Tennessee area October 9-16 what do you recommend to go fishing for from the bank? What equipment, species and bait?


    Wilford W. Whitaker

    Dear Captain Tom:

    I’ve never caught a fish that big in our Utah streams! Great fishing and photos.

    You may find this request rather unusual. I recently found where my great great grandfather Captain John Hickerson was killed by an Indian ambush in 1788 or 1789 or 1790 (accounts differ).

    With General James Winchester, Capt. John Hickerson was leading the pursuit of an Indian war party DOWN the “Smith Fork of Caney Creek” and when they reached the confluence of Clear Fork Creek with Smith Fork, they turned UP Clear Fork Creek, when within about a 1/4 mile, they were fired upon by the Indians in the cane brakes from ambush. Capt. John Hickerson, “a brave man” who was leading the charged was instantly killed. Then follows the account by John Carr in “Middle Tennessee”.

    As you have traveled that area intensively, I am wondering if you are acquainted with the confluence of Clear Fork Creek and Smith Fork?

    Do you have any pictures of that area? Would you be willing to take some pictures of that area? Just let me know the cost of your time and expenses.

    I have much more on Capt. John Hickerson and his pre-emptions on Gasper’s Creek and Bledsoe’s Creek north of the Cumberland in Sumner County. He was at Zeigler’s fort when Jacob Zeigler was killed, as Jacob Zeigler was married to Capt. John Hickerson’s sister Christina Hickerson, who barely escaped with her young son by “stuffing a handerchief in his mouth” to prevent his cries being heard.

    Capt. John Hickerson’s widow Patsey Loving, with her three young sons and a daughter, were given a 640 acre grant on “the west fork of the Goose River or Hickerson’s Branch. I have visited the confluence of Hickerson’s branch with Goose River, now in Smith County and have only recently learned of the Clear Creek and Smith Fork area where the tragedy occurred.

    Thank you for any help you can give me in this matter or perhaps you could pass it on. Thank you. Best wishes.

    Sincerely, Wilford W. Whitaker

Leave a Reply

This conversation is missing your voice! We can´t wait to hear what you have to say. All we ask is that you keep the conversation positive and spam free. All comments are moderated and innapropriate comments will be removed. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to chat with us!

Required fields are marked *