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

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