Experience the Best Fishing in the Southeast
Fishing the 9 Lakes Region is a four seasons activity, and winter fishing absolutely needs to be on every angler’s bucket list. Quite simply, when the temperatures dip, fishing bites rise. Trout, small and large mouth bass, sauger, striped bass, walleye, crappie, and muskie are biting when the water temperatures drop into the 50’s. What are you waiting for? Gather your gear for some great winter fishing!
Bass– There is no shortage of bass in the productive fisheries of Cherokee, Douglas, and Watts Bar Lakes. Small and large mouth bass are king for championship fishing in the Southeast. Perhaps that is why Tellico and Fort Loudon Lakes will once again be hosting the Bassmaster Classic March 24-26, 2023. But these lakes are not just for serious anglers. Recreational fishermen will enjoy the sport of striper fishing, which yields photo worthy pictures. Guides are available on the lakes to provide equipment and tips for catching that trophy fish.
Fly-fishing for smallies on the Holston and French Broad slow down, so put the boat in the water and follow the shad into the creeks.
Muskie– Winter is the best time to catch Muskie in the South, and Melton Hill Lake is your destination. When the water cools, the fish slow down into deep pools, rising to feed in nearby shallows. Landing a fish is a BIG deal and Melton Hill has yielded the state record fish of 55 inches.
Walleye– Norris Lake is the go to for trophy size fish. In February and March, fish will begin their spawning run up river into the Clinch and Powell headwaters. For Saugers, look to the headwaters of Fort Loudoun, Cherokee, and Douglas. TWRA stocks these lakes.
Crappie– If you have time in March, plan your outing on Fort Loudoun, Douglas, Tellico, or Melton Hill. The bite picks up right before the spawn. Look to the channels for great fishing yields.
Trout: The 9 Lakes Region is also home to excellent trout fishing. The Cherokee National Forest and the Smokies have multiple native trout streams. Bald River Falls and Citico Creek are two destinations that are easily accessible. Kayakers and bank fishermen will want to consider the cold waters below Norris and Douglas Dams for brown, brook, and rainbow trout. Avid fly fishermen follow the TVA app for the release schedule to pick the best days to don their waders.