What makes a good fishing spot? Well, quite simply, lots of good fish! That’s not the whole story, though. There’s more to a good fishing spot than just the fish, and while not everybody looks for the same thing in a fishing spot, there are some generally agreed-upon factors that make one fishing spot better than another. Let’s take a look!

Peacefulness, Accessibility, and a Clean Environment

Every kid who has been taken fishing has heard the story about how “talking scares the fish away,” and every adult fisherman has a moment of realization when they figure out that the grown-ups were just looking for a little peace and quiet.

There is some truth to this, though – fishing should be at least somewhat relaxing, and if you’re on a crowded bank, it’s hopefully with people whose company you enjoy. One of the best ways to enjoy your experience is to find a secluded spot, which is what many fishermen and women prefer.

In addition, nothing wrecks the ambience like litter and pollution, for both you and the fish. This may be more of a consideration for bank fisherman than boat fishermen, but it still applies when boating: nothing takes you out of the wilderness experience more than sitting in your boat in the middle of what seems like a pristine waterway, only to see a clump of garbage float by. It just won’t do!

Tailwaters of the Fort Loudon Dam

Spots that meet these criteria can be found all around Blount County, but some of the most legendary fishing is associated with the tailwaters of Tennessee Valley Authority hydroelectric dams. The Fort Loudon Dam area, in particular, is known for its catfishing, though it’s strictly for sport – large catfish are available, but PCB contamination makes them (and largemouth bass over 2 pounds) poor candidates for a dinner plate.

There are other fish available, however; the free-flowing water in Fort Loudon Lake provides a pleasant habitat for a number of different species of fish, including crappie, sauger, and even the state-endangered lake sturgeon. A record of a successful catch and release of a lake sturgeon will actually earn you a certificate from the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency for your efforts!

Chilhowee Lake

It’s technically a lake, but it feels more like a river, which is actually to the benefit of fishermen and women. Water that flows provides better oxygen levels and variations in marine life that support the kinds of fish people prefer to catch.

The lake is most accessible from boat ramps along the lake’s northern border, near U.S. Highway 129, and popular catches are trout, walleye, and smallmouth bass, but other available species include crappie, catfish, and sunfish. The lake isn’t known for the prize catfish Fort Loudon is, which also means it’s generally a more quiet and peaceful choice.

Don’t Forget Your License

Anglers over the age of 13 need a license to fish on public waterways in Tennessee, as well as a separate permit for trout fishing in some locations. Make sure you’re following all the requirements by checking out the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s licensing page, which will also connect you to an online shop where you actually purchase your licenses. Nothing spoils a day out faster than an unnecessary fine!

Once you’ve got that squared away, the fun can begin. Make sure to think of Blount County the next time you’re planning a fishing trip, and get ready to enjoy beautiful marine environments and prize catches.