East Tennessee Outdoors… News for Week of August 26, 2020

Published 5:18 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2020

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This is the time of year when seasons seem to merge. The first day of the squirrel hunting season opened last Saturday and that should make many people in the mountains happy.

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Food doesn’t get better than some good squirrel meat with dumplings and gravy.

At the same time, we have the first state-wide deer season opening Friday, August 28, 2020. This is when a special three-day archery-only hunt occurs that some have called the “velvet hunt” because there is a good chance you will take a buck that still has velvet on its antlers.

Add to these the opportunity to catch monster catfish, bass or walleye from one of our lakes or a trophy trout from one of our rivers, and you have a perfect outdoor experience.

Here are some outdoor highlights for this week.

Local Hiker Rescues

We have been experiencing some severe weather in our area during the last few weeks. Heavy rains and storms have made many of the local hiking trails hazardous, and this has resulted in several hiker rescues in the last week or two.

Several hikers have been caught in these storms and had to be rescued. A few of these hikers suffered minor injuries and were taken to local hospitals to be checked. There were no major injuries from these rescues.

We all need to remember that rain can make almost any hiking trail dangerous and one misstep can result in a fall and a trip to a local emergency room.

None of us are exempt from having an accident in the mountains, and we need to know the limits of our own hiking skills. If you feel like you do not have the ability to hike a certain trail, don’t hike it. Stay safe and aware.

Here are a few tips for hiking in stormy weather.

First, if you see lightning or hear thunder, you are already in danger of being struck by lightning. Several years ago, a young man was mowing his lawn when he stopped to drink some water. A bolt of lightning struck and killed him.

The storm for that lightning was still several miles away and no one expected the storm to be that close to his house. The lesson to this is to watch the weather and don’t underestimate summer thunderstorms.

Second, if you see a bolt of lightning, count and listen for the thunder.

It is a safe rule to say that a storm is one mile away from you for every second you can count between lightning strikes. An example is if you can count to five between the thunder, then the actual storm is about five miles away.

Finally, if you are caught in the mountains during a storm, get to shelter if you can. If you cannot get to shelter, find the lowest point near you and get there. Make yourself as small of a lightning target as possible.

East Tennessee Fishing

Lake fishing at night is still doing well on most lakes in our area. The surface water temperature is still too warm to do well during the day.

Fish at night with different artificial lures and live bait. Minnows, worms and home-made baits work well for catfish, but you can also catch bass and walleye on jigs and crankbaits at night.

River Fishing

There have been some very nice rainbow and brown trout caught from the Watauga River and the South Holston River this week. A variety of natural baits, artificial lures and flies work well on either river or sometimes it pays to use a good plump nightcrawler on these rivers when TVA is not generating.

First Archery Hunt

Don’t forget this weekend is the first archery hunt of the season. This season opens this Friday and is for bucks only.

You can only hunt on private property during this season and any buck that you take counts toward your statewide bag limit of two bucks per season.

Have fun this week in the outdoors and remember to stay safe.


If you have any photos of trophy fish and game that have been caught or harvested from our area, feel free to email those photos to me at dannyblevins@yahoo.com.

Please place the photo in the email as an attachment. Tell me your name, phone number and when, where and how you took your trophy. If I can use the photo in an article, I will give you credit for the photo. Thanks – Danny