East Tennessee Outdoors: Fishing Report and News

Published 1:27 pm Thursday, April 30, 2020



What a difference a few months make in our lives. Did you ever think that we would see a day that schools would dismiss, our government would shut down entire industries and businesses, the gas would be so cheap the gas companies would lose money on it and everyone wore gloves and a mask wherever they went?

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With all of the drama and social isolating in our daily lives, it is good that one thing still remains constant – the fresh air and adventure in the outdoors.

Starting with this column, we will be taking a look at the news for the week from the outdoors. This will be a column of fishing/hunting reports, news, and maybe even a few short tips for the outdoors.

In our second column of the week, we will look at something or someone in the outdoors. We really hope you enjoy these changes.

Fishing report for the week beginning May 1, 2020

The heavy rains in the last few weeks are keeping the waters high on most trout streams. The exceptions are the tailwaters of the South Holston and Watauga Rivers.

Rainbow trout are being stocked each week, and there are thousands of fish per mile on these waters. Natural baits are working well, but to catch some of the larger fish, try using rainbow and brown trout swimbaits and jerk baits.

Fishing on Watauga and South Holston Lakes is red hot. According to Chip Chambers of C&C Outdoors, the best fishing is on South Holston Lake but don’t count out Watauga Lake.

The water temperature on these lakes is 56 to 63 degrees, and the smallmouth bass is on their beds on both lakes.

Small plastic worms in green pumpkin are the go-to color. Chip said that his son Colton took clients on five trips last week and boated 113 smallmouth bass.

Walleye fishing is also great on Watauga Lake. The water levels are staying high, making perfect conditions for most large predator fish to spawn.

Coronavirus updates

All TWRA lakes and boat ramps are now open in East Tennessee.

Also, many state parks reopened for day-use only on April 24, 2020. The exception is Rocky Fork State Park which has remained closed.

On May 1, 2020, several state park campgrounds and their facilitates will reopen. This includes Visitor Centers, restrooms, and playgrounds.

Visitors are encouraged to stay six feet from other visitors and maintain proper handwashing. Visitors are also encouraged to visit state parks in their area and not travel too far out of this area to visit a state park.

Group facilities that hold more than 10 people such as group camps will remain closed until later in May.

All unmanned shooting ranges in the Cherokee National Forest will remain closed for a little longer. This includes the shooting ranges at Pond Mountain, Jacobs Creek, and Scioto.

We need to have patience and these will also reopen soon.

Unusual information for the week

Did you know the average catfish can live several hours out of the water? Some catfish have even been known to live 15-18 hours out of the water!

Also, did you ever wonder how the saying “there is more than one way to skin a cat” become part of our vernacular? It comes from people who caught and skinned catfish.

They determined that there was more than one way to skin a catfish to get to the delicious meat underneath.

Now you know. Have a safe week, and I hope your days are blessed and the fish are always biting!