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Writer

Vernon Summerlin

Hi there! I’m Vernon Summerlin. Like many, I came to Nashville to break into the music industry. After years of striving, I put songwriting aside when I sold the first two fishing articles I wrote. I was being published more than the average songwriter, and I got to fish all I wanted. Talk about being in heaven—it was like being paid to eat candy! Twenty-five years later, I’ve written/co-written 11 books, had a weekly outdoor column for Middle Tennessee newspapers, put my pen to countless fishing articles, and have been a host for three radio programs and two TV shows. I’m immersed in our state’s outdoor life and will do my best to get you outside to experience Middle Tennessee’s slice of paradise. Describe your perfect Tennessee day. Nothing floats my boat better than catching fish, or at least trying. Give me a partly cloudy day with the temperature in the mid-60s by 11 a.m. and a breeze causing a light ripple on the surface. In my “Old Man Boat” with my wife, Cathy, and Jake, the golden retriever, trolling the Cumberland River for smallmouth, walleye, striper. Where’s the first place you’d take a friend visiting Tennessee? We often take our friends for a tour of the northern end of the Natchez Trace Parkway. Each season suggests the activity we’ll include—walking the old trails, wading in a creek, picking berries, photographing waterfalls or capturing deer or turkeys on camera. If you could meet one historical Tennessean, who would it be and why? (This can be someone still living.) I would love to visit with Bill Dance and fish with him. He blazed the trail for so many anglers, inspiring some anglers to become fishing pros, some to write, some to develop outdoor TV shows. He’s always gracious, with something substantial to offer.

Stories By Vernon

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Waterfalls are formed as the Duck and Little Duck Rivers drop 100 feet as they descend from the Highland Rim Plateau to the level of the Nashville Basin on the way through the park.

Old Stone Fort’s Enigma

On a natural plateau where the Duck and Little Duck Rivers converge, travel back through time as you explore an ancient enigma known as Old...Read on

The showy Tennessee purple coneflower grows in red cedar glades where limestone bedrock is exposed or covered by a very thin layer of soil.

A Happy Ending for Cedars of Lebanon State Park

About 15 miles east of Nashville and five miles south of Lebanon there is a very special ecosystem. The combined 9,000 acres of Cedars of...Read on

Small streams in eastern and middle Tennessee flow over rocky substrates, often eroding softer rock to create waterfalls of all sizes.

Wading a Creek and Finding a Slice of Childhood

Let me get close to a creek and I lose about 50 years (or more) and feel like an inquisitive kid once again. I want...Read on

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Summer Swimming and More at Cummins Falls State Park

On a hot summer day, what better way to spend an afternoon than splashing around in a nice cool swimming hole? Better yet, not just...Read on

Roan Mountain State Park is known for its grassy balds and natural rhododendron gardens.

Tennessee State Parks Celebrate 75 Years

How many state parks have I visited? A whole bunch over the last half century, but that’s just two-thirds of the time Tennessee’s park system...Read on

Cordell Hull Dam, in operation for 40 years, is the youngest dam on Tennessee's Cumberland River.

Fishing and History at Cordell Hull Dam

I don’t expect there are many who know why the dam across the Cumberland River a few miles north of Carthage was named for Cordell...Read on

Shallow-draft crafts like canoes and kayaks make fishing the Caney Fork River near the dam possible during periods when the river water level is low.

A Picture Perfect Day at the Lower Caney Fork River

I returned to my favorite Middle Tennessee trout stream last week. It’s been years since I canoed the entire lower Caney Fork River – 28...Read on