Fly Fishing the Caney Fork Tailwater:
The Caney Fork tailwater is another of Tennessee's tailwaters that is regularly
stocked with trout by the state. This tailwater is below Center Hill Lake and dam. It is
located between Knoxville and Nashville just off interstate I-40 near Cookeville.
The tailwater can be fished from a drift boat or by wading the stream. If they are not
generating any water, a canoe or small one or two man pontoon drift boat can be
Wading can be dangerous. This is one tailwater you should always make certain to
check the discharge schedule. If you are unaware of the schedule and not paying
close attention to the water you can easily get caught in rising water. Even if you
know the schedule it is still a good idea to keep a close eye on the water.
This is a good point for me to drop a tip on this. It is difficult sometimes to determine
when water is being released just by scanning out across the water. You should
pick out one particular object, a rock, stick or something that is stationary
irrespective of water levels. You should make a point to check that object every few
minutes. Keeping an eye on that object will let you know any change taking place in
the stream levels. You don't want to get caught to far out in the river when the water
begins to rise. You could be trapped on the opposite side of the stream or maybe
not even able to get back to a bank on either side.
This stream provides very little dry fly action. The trout rely on baitfish, minnows,
midges and caddisflies for food. Midges provide your best opportunity to
consistently catch trout day in and day out. You may be able to catch a few fish
from the surface on adult midge imitations or dry flies, but by far the most success
would come from larvae and pupae imitations.
Caney Fork has few runs and shallow riffles. It is mostly smooth flowing water. That
makes double or tandem rigs popular. Dropper rigs are also popular because of
the constant water levels and depths in most places.
We have fished this stream only a couple of times. Each time we were able to catch
a lot of sizable fish. It is heavily stocked and even stocked with brook trout.
Copyright 2008 James Marsh