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Hook, Line & Sinker

Posted on Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 2:05 pm

Lynsey Riddle and her brother Tyler Riddle enjoy a beautiful day on the lake with Brandon Thomas in the front of the boat. Brandon and Lynsey are engaged to be married on June 10, 2017.

We are blessed with many choices for fishing locations here in Tennessee. There are several large impoundments which off er both bank fishing and boating opportunities. Granted these large bodies of water with miles of shoreline receive most recognition although smaller lakes and streams off er excellent angling resources. The tail waters of both Normandy Lake and Tims Ford Lake are regularly stocked with trout. The Duck River below Normandy receives primarily rainbows while the Elk River below Tims Ford received rainbow, brown and brook trout. Most people think that all the trout are dropped below the dam then disperse themselves further down river as time progresses. There is excellent fishing further downstream as fish are distributed at other locations as well. On the Duck River rainbows are stocked below the dam, at the second bridge near Valley View Market, Cortners Mill on Cortners Road just off Hwy 269, Dements Bridge just past Cortners on Hwy 269, and at Three Forks Bridge at the intersection of Haley Road and Three Forks Road. Note that access to Cortners Mill is not always available via the road. Heed posted signage instructions. Floaters are able to access by river although portaging gear and craft around the dam is necessary. The Elk River below Tims Ford has seen access limited over the years. Public access is available below the dam on Highway 50 leading from Winchester to Lynchburg. Farris Bridge is another stocking point. Take Lois Ridge Road off Hwy 50 which becomes Wet Prong Road. If coming from the other direction the road is called Farris Bridge Road which intersects with Mingo Road off Hwy 64. Old Dam Road is another stocked location but only during the winter trout program. Take Wet Prong Road to Edde Bend Road then turn onto Old Dam Road to the river. Other species may be caught. The Duck River has a nice population of smallmouth bass, and decent numbers of largemouth, Kentucky bass, black perch, sunfish and a few crappies. The Elk is colder being perfect for trout although downstream in warmer section these other species come into play. The TWRA manages smaller lakes in Tennessee which are basically pay to play. These are called Family Fishing Lakes. There is a $6.00 per person, per day fishing fee which may be available from an onsite concessionaire. In the case of Coy Gaither better known as Bedford Lake the permit must be purchased at one of the nearby licensing agents. Valley View Market and Barton Springs Grocery both have them. In addition, anglers may purchase an annual pass for $48.00 which provides access to most every management lake in the state. The two lakes near our area are Coy Gaither/Bedford Lake near Normandy Lake and Williamsport Lakes northeast of Columbia. To get to Bedford Lake take Huff man Road which turns at the second bridge near Valley View Market, then left onto Red Hill Road. Once you cross a small bridge turn right onto Bedford Lake Road. The lake is open 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sun set. Fish for largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, red ear sunfish, blue cat and channel catfish. Early morning and late afternoon fishing top water lures is best for bass. Williamsport off ers several lakes of varying sizes in one location. Take Highway 50 approximately ten miles northwest of Columbia, just past the Duck River or two miles east of the Natchez Trace Parkway, at the junction of Highways 50 and 247. Whippoorwill Lake is reserved for youths 16 years of age and under with an accompanying adult. Blue Cat Lake, Goldeneye Lake and Shellcracker Lake are open to all. Species found here include largemouth and Florida strain bass, bluegill, red ear sunfish, blue cat, channel catfish and hybrids also called Cherokee bass. These lakes are managed for large bass, so appropriate weight tackle is advised. Bass are most active early and late during warm weather and will usually be found near cover. Bluegill can be taken on crickets and worms. Catfish can be taken on worms and liver. Fishing Forecast Tims Ford Lake- The best action is early then tapering off some as the day progresses. Reports show a mix of bass, hybrids and walleye on a bunch of lures including the soft shads, grubs and crankbaits. Crappie anglers are catching decent stringers around docks. Deeper docks are best and the fish are hanging down around 15 feet. Some nice rockfish and hybrids on livebait and swimbaits. Normandy Lake-Bass good on Carolina rigs fished 10-20 feet deep on gravel banks and points. Deep diving crankbaits are working too. Crappie deeper over sunken cover or trees. Some nice catfish are starting to show. Woods Reservoir-Bass activity is picking up. Try top water lures, Carolina rigged plastics, and deep diving crankbaits. Crappies are biting drifting minnows and jigs over sunken brush and stumps. Nickajack Lake-Good numbers of bass on soft plastic and shallow running cranks. Guntersville Lake-Good numbers of hefty largemouth using swimbaits and swim jigs on deeper grass lines 6 to 8 feet deep. Good numbers on topwater as well. Send outdoor news, events and reports to twaynick@ gmail.com