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fishing rivers in east tn

Rivers We Fish

East Tennessee is blessed with many rivers and streams that contain hard fighting smallies. The rivers we fish from the most are the Holston, French Broad, Pigeon, Little Pigeon and the Nolichucky River. We have the flexibility to choose rivers that will fish best for a particular day from a great boat that is able to handle the ever-changing East TN weather and current flow from these rivers.

Holston River (Cherokee Tailwater)

The Holston River flows from Kingsport, Tennessee where it joins the French Broad River in Knoxville, TN. The tailwater section from Cherokee Dam to its confluence with the French Broad River produces plenty of quality smallies. Fish that are over twenty inches are not uncommon in this area. There is also an excellent trout fishery that extends for about 20 miles downstream from the base of Cherokee Dam. The Cherokee tailwater also produces a variety of game fish species that include largemouth bass, striped bass, hybrid bass, walleyes, sauger, and catfish.

French Broad River

The French Broad River flows for 218 miles from Transylvania County, North Carolina to its confluence with the Holston River in Knoxville, Tennessee to form the Tennessee River. The section we target is the tailwater fishery downstream from Douglas Dam near Sevierville, TN. This stretch of water contains some extremely large smallmouth as well as numbers of quality fish. If you are looking to catch a river smallie over twenty inches in East Tennessee then this is one of the best waters in which to do so. There are also some big largemouth bass present as well as striped bass, walleyes, sauger, catfish, white bass and crappie.

Pigeon River

The Pigeon River is considered by many anglers to be the premier smallmouth river in Tennessee. It originates in western North Carolina and ends as it flows into the French Broad River downstream from Newport, Tennessee. The entire portion of the Pigeon River in Tennessee from the mouth of the French Broad River in Cocke County upstream to the North Carolina state line is managed as a trophy smallmouth fishery. Only 1 smallmouth can be kept per day with a minimum length of 20 inches. Please refer to the Tennessee Fishing Guide 2017-18 at www.tn.gov regarding regulations for specific bodies of water.

Little Pigeon River

The Little Pigeon River is located entirely within Sevier County, Tennessee and originates from a series of streams that are found along the northern slope of the Great Smoky Mountains. The river is composed of the East, West, and Middle Prongs. During the months of March, April, and May there is a spawning run of smallmouths that move from the French Broad River into the lower Little Pigeon and further upstream into the respective tributaries. Some of the biggest smallmouth in East Tennessee make this run and sometimes in large numbers. The Little Pigeon River from the mouth upstream to the Great Smoky Mountains boundary and including the West Prong and and East Fork of the Little Pigeon River are managed as a trophy smallmouth fishery. Only one smallmouth at a minimum length of 20 inches can be kept per day.

The Nolichucky River

The Nolichucky River originates in Western North Carolina and flows for 115 miles until its confluence with the French Broad River in the upstream portion of Douglas Lake. Good numbers of smallmouths are found along the entire length of the river with some quality fish thrown in the mix. The river also supports large numbers of rock bass and channels cats. Largemouth bass and spotted bass are found in fair numbers especially in the lower river where we do most of our fishing.

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