When we drove south out of Virginia on a beautiful autumn day, our first stop was Bristol, home of one of NASCAR’s most famous tracks, the Bristol Motor Speedway. We had to make a pilgrimage to this legendary half-mile oval and a somewhat legendary Cootie Brown’s for lunch.
Our 19 days in Tennessee featured not only a chance to fish the 6 TU Top 100 trout streams in the state, but also to visit the Great Smokey Mountain National Park with dear friends James and Janice Kelley. We fished four big rivers more suited to floating than wading (Watauga, South Holston, Hiwassee and Clinch) and two small mountain streams (Tellico and Little). The fall foliage was in bloom…. mornings were crisp… and it was an ideal time to be in the Volunteer state.
We hope you enjoy this short highlight video above regarding our time here. Below you’ll find a bit of info on each of the rivers (and GSMNP) we visited along with links to information, “Guide Talks”, fly shops and more.
Like every stop along our River Ramble adventure, our first stop was at the local fly shop, the South Holston Fly Shop, to meet up with our guide, Matt “Scooter” Gwynn. After getting everything ready, we were off “Scootin’ the Watauga” with Matt.
We had the pleasure of fishing the South Holston with Matt Champion, the owner and outfitter for the South Holston Fly Shop. When I mentioned “crisp” morning above, this morning was so cold, we hung out in the shop for an hour waiting for warmer weather before embarking. Once we did, it was “FISH ON” all day. We truly had some beautiful “South Holston Views“.
Our meeting spot for our Hiwassee float trip was a riverside park under a train bridge near Reliance (TN). When we met our guide, Jeff Flake, of Southeastern Anglers at the park, we knew we were in for a great day full of “Hiwassee Hijinks“. It all started with a trip to the Reliance Fly and Tackle where the hijinks began and just kept coming all day, including some really gorgeous trout!
If you thought naming our first “Guide Talk” with Jeff, “Hiwassee Hijinks” was unique… just imagine what our chat with Jeff after fishing the Tellico “Don’t Ever Ever Fish Past the Barricade” was like! If you missed this one the first time, give it a listen. Amazing!
Townsend (TN) is know as being the “quiet” entrance to the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. We met up with James & Janice Kelley (both native Tennesseans) here and began our “Smoky’s Adventure with the Kelleys“. We toured several historic sites and structures inside the park as well as some of the most beautiful waterfalls anywhere.
James also came to Townsend to fish with us on the Little River inside GSMNP, so, off we went with our guide, Chad Williams of The Smokey Mountain Angler. The beauty of this small mountain stream is evident in the video above, including its trout. Highlights of our time with Chad can be found in our post, “Little River, Little Fish”.
Our last (but definitely not least) stop on our 2018 “Ramble” was Knoxville (TN) to fish the Clinch with Michael “Rocky” Cox, owner/lead guide for Rocky Top Anglers. We had so much fun fishing the Clinch with Rocky and hanging out in/around Knoxville, we know we’ll be coming back…. “Rocky Tops!“