Piney Point Resort

Stay@pineypointresort.com

1093 Piney Point Road

Spring City, Tennessee 37381

Telephone: (423) 365-6262

Cabins, Watts Bar Lake cabin 

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The Fishing

Welcome to fishing in Tennessee!

There are many reasons why Tennessee is a leading location for sport fishing.  The state of Tennessee contains more than half a million acres of impounded waters in 22 large lakes, plus an additional 8000 miles of streams.[i]

The annual rainfall totals about 50 inches, with hundreds of miles of watershed.  The winters are often mild, and the summers are long.  Best of all, almost all of the common game fish can be found within its borders.

    Piney Point Fishing Resort is located on one of those large lakes.  Watts Bar Lake lies north of Chattanooga and south of Knoxville along the Tennessee River; it has been spoken of as one of the most beautiful inland lakes in the United States.  The lake has almost 39,000 acres of area and supports a number of sport fish.  There are black crappie, white crappie, smallmouth and largemouth bass, and several types of catfish.  There is a large population of bluegill, a favorite fishing target of children.  There are even gar, and several hybrid types of fish.

The fishing season starts early at Watts Bar- some hopeful fishermen are out in mid March!  Crappie is King at Piney Point Resort!  Many fishermen return every year for the chance of landing that really big fish.  Watts Bar Lake contains both black crappie and white crappie.  These are actually quite different fish.  There are distinct coloring and markings that are specific to each fish, and they have different numbers of spines in their dorsal fins.  Black crappie prefer quieter, clearer water, with vegetation and structure, such as brush piles or sunken trees.  White crappies don’t   mind a little more muddy water, such as around mud bottoms.  The key to finding crappie is   to look for areas providing deep cover, as they are schooling fish, and travel in groups.  Crappie feed at dawn and at dusk, and are strictly carnivorous.[ii]  Small baitfish are the principal diet for crappie, so minnows are very successful bait.   Small light-colored feathered jigs are also popular.  A small hook, sizes 2-4, should be enough; take care not to tear the very thin membrane of the crappie’s mouth.  The best crappie fishing season is in early to mid-spring, when water temperatures are 64-68 degrees F. 

Even before crappie season is winding down in early May, it is time for bass fishing! Trophy smallmouth bass fishing starts in May. Watts Bar Lake has smallmouth and largemouth bass.  Smallmouth bass are said to be the fiercest fighting fish for their size; they are very active, and usually jump when hooked.  Smallmouth like clearer  water and cooler temperatures.  They will spawn at water temperatures 60-70 degrees F, and will also feed in the morning and in the evening.    Evaluate the type of water bottom to locate smallmouth bass- is it a sand or bedrock bottom, without any food for the fish?  Or is it a gravel and small rock area, capable of supporting bass food supplies?  Sometimes grassy banks and rocky ledges will have something to offer a hungry SMB.  SMB can be caught with spinning and casting gear, and fly fishing tackle.  As they are carnivorous, even minnows and night crawlers can be used, although these live baits are not as popular. They prefer brown or chartreuse baits.  The average smallmouth is smaller than many freshwater fish but landing a 4-5 pounder requires more skill and patience to land than any other fish.

Largemouth bass fishing is legendary on Watts Bar Lake.  The best months are May (swim baits) and October (crank baits) but they can be caught year round.  Largemouth bass have been found to be able to see colors; preferred colors to fish are red, white, silver, and black, in that order.  When they are on schooling shad minnows, the fishing can be fantastic.

Want to get your children “hooked on fishing”?  Bluegill fishing on Watts Bar is a great place to start.  Bluegill are small, pretty, and are easy for children to catch.  Any kind of pole will do, a small hook, and a grub, worm or even small balls of bread.  An easy method:  put a 1 ½ inch grub four feet under a bobber next to a rock bluff and have a ball. 

Stripers are under-fished here.  They are not easy to catch, but a 20# fish is not uncommon.  Fifty pounders are possible.  Watch for the jumps early and late.  Throw a topwater  plug first just fast enough to leave a “v” wake, then have a big silver spoon ready for a second chance.

Finally, a very unusual trophy fish, the gar.  Some of the largest are found in Lake Chickamauga, in Chattanooga.  The best gar fishing is in July and August.  They have VERY tough hides.

With a large variety of area and fish, there is something for every angler here in Tennessee!


[i] McClane’s New Standard Fishing Encyclopedia  Holt-Rheinhart-Winston, 1975

[ii] Ibid.

 

 

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