North Carolina Lakes Information Guide - North Carolina smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing guide to Cedar Creek Lake as well as many others.
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North Carolina Lakes Information Guide
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Little Tennessee River   Fishing Reports


First off, let me say that Western North Carolina's (WNC) Little Tennessee River has the following:
  • Unparalleled scenery
  • Unparalleled wade fishing opportunities
  • Unparalleled smallmouth action
  • Very cold water
  • A LOT of dang slippery rocks!
All of that said, the Little Tennessee River was a great adventure and a great fishery.

With our good friend, Don Hitchcock, as our guide, Dot and I drove the Smokey Mountain Expressway and highway 441 to the town of Franklin. It seems like Franklin is a location where tourists sift dirt for gems and precious stones. And, boy, the tourists are hard at work at it. The mountains around Franklin certain have a lot of rocks and dirt to keep them sifting for awhile. Many gemstones are found each year. Franklin is a very picturesque, pretty mountain community with so many attractions to visit that it would take at least a week to see them all. Anyone in the WNC area should put Franklin near the top of his or her list as a 'must visit' location.

As we traveled to Don's place on the south side of Franklin (shared with his lovely wife, Pearl), we passed over a small steam. Don informed us that this small trickle of water was actually the headwaters of the Little Tennessee River.

When we traveled to Don's chosen fishing waters, we went north, through Franklin, and up highway 28 for approximately 15 miles. Then, we turned off on Tellico Road and, a mile later, turned onto a dirt road named Needmore. The river in this location had some old Cherokee Indian weirs built of rock that were used to funnel fish to their baskets/nets, as well as many areas of rapids and whitewater. Wade-fishing was our choice and it was great!!!

The Little Tennessee River, at the location we were wade-fishing, was approximately 10 miles from its juncture with Lake Fontana. Have run up the Little Tennessee tributary, from Fontana to the headwaters of the Little Tennessee (another story for later, with schooling bass!), we were really thrilled to see what it looked like on the upstream side.

Areas of rapids and whitewater, followed by slow, calm pools presented themselves to our 'tourister' fishing lures. Smallmouth bass seemed to abound in the waters. Although small, the brown bass could be found is nearly every eddy behind rocks in the main current and in the shadowed areas along the shorelines.

We also found red-eyed rock bass in good numbers, as well as a 'whatever' fish. The 'whatever' was just as ferocious as the smallmouth, took the same small swimming worm lure, and jumped like he was trying the reach the stars. Whatever he was (see photo), he was great fun and helped make our fishing day. We suspect he is what the 'locals' call a 'hogshead'.

I probably set the Guinness Book of World's Records top mark for butt-busting in the Little Tennessee. Somehow, I found an area in while ALL the rocks were coated with some type of slime. I called it 'the crawling zone'. It was the only one of its type we encountered, but it was simply impossible to walk within.

Bottom line: If you are an angler or just a lover of the outdoors, you will absolutely love the Little Tennessee River between Franklin and its confluence with Lake Fontana. If God made a more beautiful section of mountain river, I have yet to see it.

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A common question that we get: "Is there somewhere close to get bait and tackle?" This is where we get our bait.

Pete and Tina Heinz / 9 South Mulberry St. / Fellsmere, FL 32948 / 772-571-9855

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