East Tennessee Outdoors… Outdoor Report 

Published 1:53 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2020

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Summer, the greatest of all of the seasons, the time when the world is most alive, the moment when grown men turn into little boys again – Summer.

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I am proud to say that summer is finally here. With it, we can all look forward to a few months of camping, fishing, hiking, and letting the mountains heal us and help us forget all of our troubles.

I am happy to tell you that this week brings almost all the good news from the outdoors. I think all of us could use it.

Free Fishing

June 6 – 12, 2020 is Free Fishing Week for any child 15 or under. Children 15 or under do not have to have a license to fish during this time. Get out and enjoy the water and don’t forget to take a kid fishing.

103-Pound Catfish

A Hamilton County man caught a 103-pound blue catfish from the Tennessee River last Saturday. He caught it at night on a nightcrawler and a medium action rod/reel combo.

I guess sometimes you just can’t beat a nightcrawler for bait!

More on this catch in my next column.

Lake Fishing

The rains have finally slowed down, and they have been replaced by summer-like temperatures. The water in most of the area lakes are receding, and the water temperature is slowly rising.

This is causing many of the fish to move into their summer patterns, and night fishing is upon us.

Try fishing early in the morning and late in the evening for the best success. Also, try fishing the shallows after dark as baitfish schools move to more shallow water.

This time of year, it is all about the bait schools.

Try fishing topwater and crankbaits through these schools to catch hungry bass and walleye. Also, learn to be patient.

This time of year can wear on anyone’s patients because you may cast 50 times before you get a good hit. Trust me, your patients will be rewarded.

River Fishing

Trout fishing on the region’s tailwaters are still hot, and to me, fishing these tailwaters is one of my favorite things to do during the summer.

For the Watauga tailwater, the best fishing is in the morning, and the best stretch is the upper half.

The water flow can fluctuate depending on the generating schedule, and on average you can expect water visibility at about 50 inches.

The best fishing gear is usually good rainbow plugs, but if you fly fish, try a Sulphur or Crane Fly using a nine-foot leader and a WF trout fly line.

On the South Holston River, you can expect clear water conditions and a visibility of about 60 inches.

The water temperature during mid-day will stay around 52 degrees Fahrenheit. The best time to fish is during the afternoon and the best stretch of fishing is probably along Big Springs Road.

Some of the better flies to use are Sulphurs and Black Flies using a nine-foot leader with WF Trout Fly Line.

In many stretches of this water, you can also catch fish using natural baits and the tried and true rainbow trout jerk baits.

Remember that both of these waters have literally thousands of fish in an average mile of water, but they are also heavily fished.

Take advantage of the warm weather this week and try not to complain about the heat.

After all, it was frosting just two weeks ago! Get out and have some fun in the outdoors and God bless.