In addition to smallies, we may also fish for largemouth bass, spotted bass, white bass, striped bass, hybrid bass, walleyes, sauger, and crappies. With water temperatures near the low 40s in February, smallmouths can still be fairly deep. When time doesn't allow you to make the drive to one of the legendary lakes across the state, there are a few overlooked East Tennessee smallmouth lakes that you need to make the journey to. The question about whether Tellico can produce is easily answered through Bivens' experiences. Skip over the vertical structure and start keying on areas near flats with more of a slope and pinpoint transition banks. Bivens said the top smallmouth structure and cover in February is all related to the main channel. You have to look before you start fishing. There's plenty of structure to divide your opportunity into more than one trip. Right after high school in the 1980s, Cherokee was a serious destination for smallmouth fishermen. If you are looking to get away from the rides, arcades, shows, and hustle and bustle of the Parkway while on vacation, planning a relaxing day of smallmouth bass fishing on an East Tennessee river might be just what you need. Tellico like Watauga Lake, another lake on our overlooked review, can be tough to fish and tough on anglers with its clear water. Here are some of... Give a Gift   In order to locate smallmouth bass and effectively catch them, you must first understand current and its intricacies. A.J. Tennessee CREEK Fishing for GIANT Smallmouth Bass - YouTube If you’re hitting the water for bronzebacks this summer, you’ll want to fill your tacklebox with these go-to baits. Smallie fishing on the river with licensed fishing guide Jay Bradley. Increase a lure’s effectiveness by pairing it with the ideal reel speed. Sight Savvy: Different styles of bow sights each have their strengths—and weaknesses. Edgar Evins – Just outside Smithville, Edgar Evins State Park is located on the shores of beautiful … The boat access at the Fort Loudoun/Tellico Canal Ramp will also keep you close to the action on the lower section of Tellico and the adjacent Back Creek section of the lake. Concentrate on long, tapering points vs. the more winterlike ones with a 45-degree angle. I had a great time guiding Jordan and Rosa today. The chance to hook up with a big smallmouth on 4-pound-test and the long rod used with the Float-N-Fly is just too much to pass up. Another great day on the water with Greg from Knoxville! Michigan is the top location for smallmouth bass fishing. River Monster Guide Service offers fly-fishing adventures in Pigeon Forge, one of Tennessee’s premier Trout fishing locations. This includes learning how to read a river, understanding the influence of current on smallmouth location and being able to effectively fish flowing water. Tellico isn't your grandpa's numbers lake. Some of the water is reachable but much of the most productive water must be floated with a canoe or kayak . It was only a little less than a week ago when he caught a personal best of 51 smallies. In between road trips fishing the FLW Tour and Everstart Series, Strader gets on lakes like Watts Bar and Fort Loudoun as time allows. I grew up fishing for smallmouth around Lynchburg, Tennessee, wading small creeks like Mulberry. He was truly committed to finding fish and giving me and my buddy the best day on the water possible. Bivens said there are just not a lot of hollows anglers target on Dale Hollow in February and March, but there are some very good points and bluffs. Largemouth bass may make their first serious moves in March, but smallies do it in February. Moving water creates a conveyor belt of food, washing everything downstream to the fish without them having to travel for it. He used to rely heavily on 1/4-ounce hair jigs and a No. Eddie Nuckols travels to less pressured waters in Tennessee during February, and Cherokee and Tellico lakes are on the list of his targets. The trout portion begins at the … An ideal position is in a current break (slack water) immediately alongside the swift current. The weather and water conditions were almost identical to that trip he took just six days ago. Anglers who fish the noted waters are proud to say Cherokee's very good smallmouth status has returned. We're talking about banks that change from rock to mud or even pea gravel to a flat. Most fishing rods feature both an action and a power rating, but what do those ratings mean and how do you use them to select the right rod for different scenarios? The only way you're going to find out is to read on and then get on February's chilly waters and experience big smallmouth fishing for yourself. 1 target. What gives Michigan its edge … And back then, when I was using live baits like crawfish and such — long before I ever tossed an artificial bait – smallmouth were my No. But they do deserve a second look. 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. 25-E bridge will deserve your hair jig attention later on, but the section of the lake from the Kidwells Ridge area down to the dam are smallmouth hangouts in February. All Rights Reserved. Try these 3 bass strategies during the hottest month of the year. The smallies aren't quite ready to spawn, but they're thinking about it and moving slightly shallower. Middle Tennessee smallmouth angler William "Buddy" Dodson spends as much time on the Duck and Buffalo rivers as I do on the eastern waters. I cast my bait out with a long cast and let it fall down to about 10 feet. Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here. and A.J. 5 crawdad-colored Shad Rap, but can't put the bobber rod down in February. Strader said smallies are mostly on main channel areas or up the lake a little ways where it narrows to a river situation. Harris has his best success casting the bait onto humps and points and then popping it off the bottom creating a natural flash with the bait's flutter. Here are 3. Harris said you also should never overlook what a 3-inch chartreuse Old Man String Ray Grub can do. Mention Dale Hollow and heads turn, and rightly so. Each river is productive for smallmouth with good public access. Gasconade River – The Gasconade River is the longest river in Missouri. The first big smallmouth I ever laid eyes on came from Cherokee Lake. That big brown bruiser was caught near the dam on deep, clear Watauga Lake on a cold and icy February morning. Smallmouth fishing is outstanding in the 53-mile New River Gorge near Beckley. In smallmouth bass circles, there are waters like those of Dale Hollow that are considered sacred. This is your river fishing trip, so if you want to fish for something other than smallmouth bass I am more than happy to guide you for these other species of game fish. Strader said early February calls for hair jigs on main channel structure, but as the water starts to warm in midmonth and later on, Loudoun is a crankbait lake. In colored water, he'll switch to a 1/8-ounce fly with chartreuse highlights and back to the routine 1/16-ounce gray and blue jig in clear conditions. Located on the other end of the Detroit River from Lake Erie, Lake … For those who like excitement with their world-class fishing for smallmouth bass, few rivers, if any, are better than the New. Subscriber Services. Cherokee Lake has a strong history of being a Silver Buddy lake all winter long and particularly on through February. The lower end of the lake is what he calls primed with opportunity. The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use these proven bait rigs for stripers. Nuckols said rising waters kill the Watauga smallmouth bite. Awesome job. To learn more about the Float-. You'll want to concentrate on depths of 15 to 20 feet for the most part this time of year. Keep it up! Harris saw five-fish limits of brown fish weighing 18 to 19 pounds placed on the tournament scales last year. Popular with anglers looking for Bass (Smallmouth) fishing charters in Tennessee River Captain Len Slay has been fishing these mountainous waters his whole life. He said a 6- to 7-pound brown fish on any given February day is not out of the ordinary. Catching fish might not be as important as taking the time to enjoy the outdoors and to get away from your busy and demanding lifestyles.. In this video, outdoor writer and tackle specialist Shane Beilue breaks down the difference between a rod blank’s action and power and discusses what the various ratings of each mean. He said on a three-day fishing trip at Tellico, the majority of brown bass will be 4 to 5 pounds in size, but big kicker fish can be in the mix as well. All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. In fact, I wish I could go there now and land an old memory or two. Tellico Lake gets a lot of fishing pressure, but local angler and smallmouth fanatic Wesley Bivens said it's not specifically for smallmouth bass. Nuckols will quickly tell you the reason to be on Watauga Lake in February is because of the smallmouth opportunity there. When reel speed is critical, you have lots of choices. I was contacted several weeks ago by Catherine from Oklahoma. The DNR’s website also has a Twin Cities area river fishing chart that details the relative abundance of smallmouth bass and other species in the Cannon, Minnesota, Mississippi, Rum and St. Croix rivers. By Gerald Almy. Somewhere in that transition, he said you'd find them with a crankbait. Clear water calls for a different strategy, a strategy Bivens said could lead to catching a trophy smallmouth. Michigan. Summer playbook: Ready for a little summer fun the whole family can enjoy? Our friend Matt was kind enough to allow us to post these awesome Tennessee River smallies. Field-proven big-game arrows for lethal hunting results. They may move up on the main lake inside protected pinots on main channel bluffs, but will be found relatively deep. Tennessee River smallmouth fishing at it’s best. Tellico may be an adjacent neighbor to Fort Loudoun, but the water clarity differs greatly. Not your typical spawning situation, but ideal to start looking around for big smallies. Backup baits that produce in February include hair jigs and the Float-N-Fly. Access from the lower end can be found at Fort Lou. The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction. The upper section's shallower water with its two feeder rivers and creeks will be best later on. The secret to consistently catching smallmouth from rivers is being comfortable fishing in current. A Fluke fished up around laydowns in the Three Springs area can be good later in March and the bluffs and points above and below the Hwy. Little River does not support as high densities of smallmouth bass as Abrams Creek, but does offer road access along Little River Road. The smallmouth are abundant, and they are large. Drops and stumps play a big part in his late-winter fishing taking advantage of the success of a jigging spoon. St. Lawrence River (New York) St Lawrence River is a part of one of the largest fisheries in all of … By the numbers, you could boat as many as 10 to 15 smallies per outing. Matt won best bass last year in the Tennessee Angler Recognition Program. He says float trips are the best way to approach the Duck River. Eleven years after that introduction, Broken Bow boasts smallmouth bass with the best features of each strain. Little RiverThe Little River is not a river at all, but it is one of the largest streams in the Great … What he's looking for in his big smallmouth hunt are transition-type banks. He said there's no other reason to take on these tough but bountiful waters in late winter. These Tennessee River smallies were caught on a #2 aberdeen hook with a minnow, no sinker on 8 lb test. From the dam on up the Tennessee River just before you see the Knoxville skyline is where Strader said to put your smallmouth fishing emphasis. He'll even admit one of my favorite Float-N-Fly colors of a white jig with red trim is a good coldwater Watauga option. This Elk Venison Patty Melt Recipe makes the perfect wild game sandwich. If the water is stable, Nuckols said February can be one of the best months to be on Watauga. Knoxville web design and hosting by Slamdot. Josh has some smallmouth bass flies that would scare the heck out of a smallmouth bass on the Little Tennessee River. This one simple trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the fall months. All content Copyright © 2020, River Smallie Adventures. Water temperatures are just starting to warm and will range from the low 40s to the upper 40s at best. 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. By Ian Nicely There are only a few places in the country where you can regularly catch smallmouth bass the size of the ones in East Tennessee. He said working a 1/2-ounce Silver Buddy over humps can produce solid brown fish. State: Michigan. The stained conditions and water temperatures nearing the upper 40s make the lake's smallmouth bass susceptible to Bandit 200 Series crankbaits as well as the Flat-Shad Little PT. Lake Erie, Sandusky Ohio. The good smallmouth fishing in February is best on the lower half of the lake. From the Lauderdale boat ramp, he said a 10-minute boat ride in either direction would put you where the big smallies live. There is truly nothing easy about conquering Watauga in February, but the challenge can be rewarding in the form of quality smallmouths. The idea is to target suspended fish. I can still picture that 6-pound-plus bronzeback from my past, and I wasn't even the lucky fisherman to boat it. Tennessee has a diversity of fisheries from the famed waters of the Tennessee River chock-full of grass, docks, and wood to the many highland reservoirs slam full of rock and clay banks. I then wind it back with a slow and steady retrieve. Although it’s the smallest Great Lake, Erie probably holds the largest … Proposing to name the best smallmouth streams in the Ozarks is a surefire way to start a heated conversation. February is what Harris describes as the month to be on the water on Cherokee for what the lake has to offer, and the lower section is the place you'll want to spend most of your time. © 2020 Outdoor Sportsman Group. There are also a few smallmouth waters in East Tennessee that might not have legendary status so to speak, but they do deserve more than a second look. However, smallmouth as large as 2-3 pounds are commonly reported being caught by anglers in the park. These four lakes we're spotlighting -- Cherokee, Fort Loudoun, Tellico and Watauga -- are all top lakes at times when it comes to producing trophy brown fish. The lightest weight plastics like a Texas Rig or jig head need just enough weight to make bottom contact and then walk it down the shoal. 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. For now, from the boat ramp at Fish Springs Dock on down toward the dam is where you'll want to concentrate your efforts in February. Main channel points are good starting spots in February. I will get to that in a moment. The Pigeon River is considered by many anglers to be the premier smallmouth river in Tennessee. It meanders for over 300 miles within a linear distance of about 100 miles. Flowing northward from North Carolina to Tennessee, the Pigeon River itself skirts along the eastern side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is a particularly generous river when it comes to fishing for Tennessee s state sport fish — the smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu). They say that the "The Third Time is the Charm", but maybe it is the 'Fourth Time is the Charm" when it comes to down to guiding Robert for trophy smallmouth. During the months of April, May, and early June, anglers can enjoy some of the best fishing … They had a successful day on the Little Pigeon River and caught over thirty smallies as well as a few fish over twenty inches. You can use a variety of baits to catch smallmouth in small rivers; it's all about the presentation. Hiwassee River Fly Fishing. Bass will target baitfish, cra… The "spring craw" color or those with root beer and chartreuse highlights are hard to beat in Loudon's stained water. Upon arrival in Pigeon Forge she had each days activities already planned. You might even boat a couple of smallies over 6 pounds in a trip to these overlooked waters, according to Bivens' experiences. I usually make mention of the generation schedule at Douglas Dam in my... Our experience with Jay was awesome. One year after qualifying for and fishing the Bass Masters Classic, pro angler Wesley Strader from Rockwood still calls East Tennessee lakes his home waters. For the best access to the lower end, put in at the ramp at the dam just outside of Jefferson City and work your way up the lake to Kidwells Ridge slowly hitting points, bluffs and humps. He said with a laugh that there's not a specific color to use in February other than a crawfish pattern. That's a lot of water covered in nearly 30 years. 's high school buddy Tom fishing for river smallies. The good smallmouth fishing in February is best on the lower half of the lake. Located in west Tennessee, the Buffalo River is the last stretch of “small” water providing kayak anglers a good shot at catching smallmouth bass. And hey, Tennessee creeks are where I first wet the famed hook; these streams are also a time machine for me. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets. Lake St. Clair. Abrams Creek has a high number of smallmouth bass that are rarely fished due to how difficult it is to access. That’s a good starting point. Regardless, its fight and pure speed as it rocketed to the surface trying to throw the tube bait hooked me for life. It's never ceased from producing smallmouth bass, but there have been up and down cycles over the last few years. Of the underutilized smallmouth waters we're profiling, Fort Loudoun probably has the most color in February. New River. On up the lake just west of Knoxville, anglers can utilize the Concord Ramp to explore that remaining section identified by Strader as quality smallmouth waters. Bivens said he's been catching brown fish on Tellico since they dammed it up back in the mid-1970s. These baits run about 9 to 10 feet down and are suited for fishing February's offerings. When smallies are deep and suspended under baitfish, anybody that knows Nuckols knows he's throwing the Float-N-Fly. It originates in western North Carolina and ends as it flows into the French Broad River downstream from Newport, Tennessee. Four rivers, the New, French Broad, Little Tennessee and Hiwassee rivers are ranked as NC's best smallmouth streams. It's guaranteed he'll be throwing it in February, but his tactics may differ slightly with the bobber set from 10 to 15 feet. Harris said the hump factor can be key to catching Silver Buddy fish. The owner and sole fishing guide of River Smallie Adventures. Best Baits for Smallmouth Bass This means that the bass will set up in areas that provide an ambush point. What counts for most smallmouth diehards are the days that produce the big boys as opposed to numbers of average brown fish. From February through early spring, he's seen the results at the scales. From the dam on up the Tennessee River just before you see the Knoxville skyline is where Strader said to put your smallmouth fishing emphasis. To do so, Bivens said there's not a place on the lake he'd rather fish than around the Lauderdale area. To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine. February is not a month to be fooling around if you're a hardcore smallmouth fisherman. Try Rainy River, Lake of the Woods, for a mid-summer dream trip. Book your trip today! Tennessee offers world-class largemouth , smallmouth, and spotted bass fishing. We caught close to 20 smallmouth on a combination of live bait and spinnerbaits and a 4 lb 6 oz stud on topwater as the sun was setting. Jerkbaits, spinner baits and buzz baits can all be used for smallmouth fishing. Smallmouth streams follow, while the largemouth rivers will be revealed in the next issue of Bassmaster. From main-lake points and bluffs to a lot of underwater structures available for those willing to look for it, Watauga can be a prime producer from the mid to lower section of the lake. Almost all of the lake's smallmouths are hybrids of the river's native strain and a Tennessee lake strain first introduced into the waters in 1993. Access from the lower end can be found at Fort Lou doun/Tellico Canal Ramp adjoining those two bodies of water. Shoreline access is limited by the rough terrain, but there are … Smallmouth Bass and Trout attract anglers from all around the country, who come to the Little Pigeon River looking to chase the fish upstream. The 7 Best Lures for Smallmouth Bass in Rivers. Bivens suggests testing these quality waters all through the winter and February with a Bullet Lures' Float-N-Fly rig featuring 4-pound-test line and a 1/16-ounce jig. Tournament angler Junior Harris from Greeneville said there's no doubt about Cherokee's comeback the last two years. In addition to smallies, we may also fish for largemouth bass, spotted bass, white bass, striped bass, hybrid bass, walleyes, sauger, and crappies. The numbers may not always be their strong points, but they all have a history of coughing up some big smallmouths in the form of 4- to 6-pounders and on up. There are days that Strader said Fort Loudoun could be considered a numbers lake for smallies, but for the most part, it's a quality brown fish destination. Watauga Lake is a smallmouth classic in the sense of the word that it defines you as a smallmouth angler. It can get very tough when early rains spill into the lake from the rivers feeding in from North Carolina. Over the last two late-winter and early-spring seasons, Harris said anglers have seen some serious brown fish brought to the net. Those that don't know him that well should also realize he knows the value of a jigging spoon in February on Watauga Lake. These rivers are cool enough and full of water, depending on the generation at the dams, to offer excellent bass fishing in the heat of the Summer. You may not catch a boat load of them, but when they weigh in the 3- to 4-pound range and you can put them together in a tournament, you won't complain about the quality. Dale Hollow’s biggest claim to fame is that it is still the record holder for the world’s largest smallmouth bass. In those days, a two-pounder was as good as a ten-pounder to the younger version of me. You can always move up or down as conditions warrant. This river destination is best for anglers looking for big fish rather than large numbers of fish. One of the best days he and I had together was in August. He's planning to put more than his share of pressure on them with the Float-N-Fly system this winter. That first fish of the day and the biggest of my smallmouth career at that time actually jumped on the back side of the boat before I could gain the upper hand, but then again, that's smallmouth fishing. Regardless, you can’t go wrong fishing these streams. His best memories have all come on the water, and he decided to become a captain in order to share his knowledge and expertise, as well as the beautiful nature, with you. Pickwick and South Holston lakes are two others that are on their way to a revered, legendary status, if they're not already there because of their consistency in producing quality brown bass. For a few minutes, take your mind away from fishing the waters that will probably produce the next world-record smallmouth bass. Nuckols, from Washington County, is no stranger to Watauga Lake and has enjoyed tournament wins there as well. He even gave us some great advice on some other fishing spots in the area. |   If you are looking for an enjoyable day of smallmouth bass fishing on the river in Knoxville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville or the surrounding areas, then you have come to the right place. Whether you’re a first-timer, a recreational weekend fisherman, or a professional, I’m happy to provide exciting and fun guided fishing tours to customers with any level of experience and expertise. 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. Elk burger patties... Field skills: If you want to go long, start training with these tips. Whether you’re a first-timer, a recreational weekend fisherman, or a professional, I’m happy to provide exciting and fun guided fishing tours to customers with any level of experience and expertise.Â, River Smallie Adventures Fishing Report October 30, 2020, River Smallie Adventures Fishing Report October 27, 2020, River Smallie Adventures Fishing Report October 15, 2020, planning a relaxing day of smallmouth bass fishing, River Smallie Adventures Fishing Report April 28, 2020. If you put in your time and search them out, the lake's many humps can also pay off for smallmouths. My best places are all main lake structure areas. doun/Tellico Canal Ramp adjoining those two bodies of water. He went on to say Tellico has a huge number of big smallmouths, and February is a key month to catch a big fish. It's one of the toughest lakes you can pit your skills against and at the same time it can produce that trophy when you least expect it. That makes crankbaits in crawfish color imitations deadly in Strader's eyes, and he's seen what they can do in February. "Many Class I … The real test and fun is trying to get one in the boat with the finesse system. Rivers are home to some of the best smallmouth bass fishing on the planet. Nuckols' Float-N-Fly fishing on Watauga depends on water conditions. #4 Dale Hollow – Completed in 1943 and located in the Tennessee counties of Clay, Pickett and Overton, Dale Hollow covers 27,700 acres of water in Tennessee and Kentucky. She was going to take her husband (Danny) on a surprise trip to East Tennessee. The days of four or five smallies in the 5-pound class are treasured, and Strader said they happen on Loudoun in the month of February. The first smallmouth bass over 6 pounds that I boated happened over a decade ago, and it wasn't from my favorite waters of legendry Dale Hollow Lake. The waters we've isolated as top picks don't get the respect they deserve, but they're defiantly not slouches when it comes to producing quality brown fish. I received my Captain’s License from the United States Coast Guard, and I am a licensed fishing guide in the state of Tennessee. Rosa called me a few weeks before the trip to secure a date and during our conversation she said that Jordan who is an avid... Back in May of 2020 I took Mike and his son A.J. Easton FMJ Arrows Offer Bowhunters More Penetration, The South's Best Waters for Trophy Catfish, Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You, Bass Blazers: The Right Gear for Speedy Retrieves, Go Big, Fast or With the Flow for August Largemouths, Summer Family Fishing in Midwest: A Minnesota Mixed Bag, Take Epic West Fishing Adventure Right Now, Four Overlooked Tennessee Smallmouth Lakes, Understanding Reel Retrieve Ratios and How it Affects Lure Presentations, Action and Power Ratings- How to Choose the Right Bass Rod, Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power, Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months. Tennessee has many streams, but it is those located in the Middle and East sections of the state that I have fished the most, and everything they offer me, they offer you. I am Captain Jay Bradley. They are young newlyweds who were taking time to enjoy their honeymoon here in East Tennessee. The mighty Hiwassee is a unique river. The first bluff right out of the Lauderdale Ramp is as good a starting place as you'll find anywhere on the lake. The name Eddie Nuckols is familiar in smallmouth arenas because of the national exposure he's brought to the Float-N-Fly technique as well as his tournament exploits with it on Dale Hollow and South Holston.
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