East Tennessee Outdoors… News for the week of June 22, 2020

Published 3:41 pm Tuesday, June 23, 2020

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Summer is in full swing and so are the outdoorsmen and women who have waited for months to get out into the outdoors. I guess my best advice is to find a cool shade tree, a good fishing rod, and a winding creek.

Enjoy the day. You have earned it.

River/Creek Fishing

The trout are still hitting most of the lures that are put in front of them on Holston and Watauga Rivers.

I spoke with one group of anglers who had been trout fishing on the Watauga River while the water was low, and they had caught around 65 rainbow and brown trout between the three of them. The largest was around 27 inches, but there were also several over 18 inches. They had released most of them.

This group had been wading the Watauga tailwater when TVA was not generating. If you choose to do this, call TVA to find out when they plan on generating that day. The number is 1-800-238-2264.

This number will tell you the water release schedule for all TVA managed dams in this area.

As always be careful wading Watauga and all TVA tailwaters. Every year the dams start generating and the rivers start coming up while people are in the middle of them and have to be rescued.

The group I spoke with had been fishing above the Quality Trout Area. The Quality Trout Area has special rules that only allow you to keep a fish that is 14 inches or larger, and you can only keep two of these each day.

Also, you have to use single hook artificial lures such as flies, spoons, or spinners.

If you go try your favorite spinner or use a dry/wet fly. Some of the better flies to use are the Caddis hatches, Nymph rigs, and dry/droppers rigs.

This area has probably the best fishing on the entire river.

Believe me, there are some good fish in this area and a float through it is well worth your time.

Boone Reservoir

According to TVA authorities, most area lakes are at summer lake levels and available for recreational use. Boone, on the other hand, is another story.

Three years ago, TVA began a project on Boone Dam to fix a source of a leak under the dam. The project is going well, but will not be completed until at least 2022.

With the low lake levels came a growth of vegetation along the dry lake bed. TVA has been cutting 600 acres of this vegetation in highly used areas, and they anticipate this will be finished sometime this Fall.

Meanwhile, anglers who fish from the bank are saying the fishing has been going well, especially where the Watauga River runs into the reservoir.

The fish are there and can be caught in large pools and the rippled currents.

Anglers can still fish by boat, but it is more difficult.

New boat ramps have been added that have really helped the anglers get to the fish, and TVA says they will leave the ramps even after the work is completed on the dam.


TWRA recently announced that they will be offering a special prize this year in the annual conservation raffle – a fishing trip with Bill Dance!

This year’s conservation raffle will offer a grand prize that includes a fishing trip with Bill Dance, a kayak, and a $1000 gift card to Bass Pro Shops.

Other prizes include an elk package to hunt elk in Tennessee, whitetail deer hunting package with a crossbow, off-road package with 2020 Honda UTV, turkey hunting package including gun, waterfowl hunting package and a camping package.

A ticket for this raffle is $20, three tickets are $50 or 10 are just $100. Tickets are on sale until August 16, 2020, and there is no limit to the number of tickets that can be bought.

Get out and enjoy the outdoors this week and make a memory.