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My wife and I retired from being public school teachers in Mid December 2018, sold our home in Miami, FL and moved to the Tri-Cities area. Why? Best VA Hospital in the country. Between active duty and Reserves I did 14 years as a US Army Infantry Officer. Hence the moniker of ExSoldier (+ my age: 62). I’m also a competitive shooter and an NRA Instructor for 31 years. I’m a writer with a literary agent. I hold a Masters Degree in National Security with concentrations in Intelligence Analysis & Counterterrorism.

 

What I am NOT is a freshwater fisherman! Never, EVER. Only saltwater. So. Total noob here! I discovered a liking for Trout thanks to the Cracker Barrel Restaurant when we moved to Johnson City. I’ve never used a lure to fish, only live shrimp. I did get my license complete with Trout stamps at Bass Pro when I bought my spinning rig. I need all kinds of help on where to fish and how. I can only get so far with YouTube!  

 

I don’t want to waste my retirement sitting around the house, playing online video games and sipping Fireball whiskey.

 

I want to get out and enjoy this new environment!

 

If there’s anybody in the he vicinity of Johnson City going after Trout and you want company and don’t mind putting up with my ignorance, I’d love to join an experienced fisherman! 

Edited by ExSoldier62
Correct verbiage

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Welcome.  You might try reading some of the trout posts.  Seems to be several here who fish for trout.

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The Big “W?” Wautauga? Is that a place where you need to get out in a boat or can you be successful from the bank? Sorry, total noob here.


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The Holston and Watauga collectively are two of the best trout rivers east of the Mississippi.  They hold roughly 8-10,000 trout per mile of river.  

 

I like to fish when the river is generating using jerk bait lures, but of course, that means you have to have a boat of some description.  You can also find places here and there where you can cast from the bank on generating waters.  Spoons and spinners also work at times.

 

Option #2 is flyrod, but that takes patience and knowledge of the river and hatches.  Most fish on low water, or small releases, but this can also be done on generating water.

 

Option #3 is the standard natural bait method, corn, salmon eggs, minnows, etc.

 

I can suggest a guide or two to get you started.

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I used to go to Sycamore Shoals in Elizabethtown. Park in their parking lot and take off down the walking trail toward the river. If you are going to be wading in, best to have felt soles on your boots. Those pretty round rocks are very slippery. Caught a lot of nice trout there, years ago. You can even go up stream right below Wilbur dam. Always call for generation schedule 1-800-238-2264.

Welcome to East Tennessee and welcome aboard ExSoldier62

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Thanks. Now a stupid question: what are “generating waters?” How are they different from other waters and I sense they have a connection to the law. What’s the legal meaning?


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Outflows from hydro electric dams.flows vary,sometimes hour to hour.TVA posts daily flows, water release schedules,how many generators they are running and historical averages for all their resevoirs.pick a res and go to their website.I recomend you try the Caney fork someday as well, it is loaded with monster trout.these trout came out of the Obey river and a feeder creek below Dale Hollow dam,all acessible from shore or wading.no monsters but lots of them.

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Edited by kwk
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On 5/31/2019 at 11:58 AM, ExSoldier62 said:

Thanks. Now a stupid question: what are “generating waters?” How are they different from other waters and I sense they have a connection to the law. What’s the legal meaning?


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There's Trout in the cold release below most of the dams in your vicinity. You could try some simple bait fishing for Trout in little Wilbur Lake that's immediately below Watauga Dam. All you need is spinning rods, hooks, sinkers, and crawlers and Powerbait. I've never fished it but I've seen videos of folks fishing there from the bank and from boats.

 

If you want to fish the bigger Trout lakes, like Watauga, you need a boat. Beyond that, in the warm months, you'll need downriggers, lead-core lines, and Dipsy divers to get spoons and plugs down to the depths where the Trout are. By fall, Lakers and Rainbows can easily be hitting at 50-100 feet down.

 

The first picture shows my downrigger on the boat's back.  It takes spoons or plugs down to as deep as 220 feet. The deepest I've used it is110 feet at Watauga. The second picture shows my lines on the other side of the boat. The third picture is me with a 5 pound Laker.

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I am NOT trying to put down anyone of our members methods by any  means....just sometimes a beginner needs to dip his toes in the water.being a guide for 30 years i have some knowledge of how to "break in " a newbie.literally teaching some one how to cast.half my clients had disabilities.i think power bait a pond and lawn chairs would be apropriate....trolling,down riggers,thermoclines not to mention lure choice. We called that overloading the donkey cart back in the day.maybe the guy wants to invest in a boat and all the bells and whistles...no clue.guessin a trip on trout girls boat is in  order.hint hint.he may decide trolling aint his gig and spend his money on waders and a fly rod...if i have stepped on toes...i apologize.And thankyou for your service to this country  and all of us.we are extremlely indebted to you .you are welcome in my boat and my house always.

Edited by kwk
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Here's what a bigger one looks like. The first picture is my biggest Laker, 28", 8.1 pounds. They get bigger than this! The state record is a bit over 22 pounds. The second picture is my biggest Rainbow, 26", 6.4 pounds.

 

 

 

WATAUGA lAKE, 8 POUND LAKER 021.JPG

WATAUGA  26 July 2017 6+ pound Rainbow and  7.5 LAKER 015.JPG

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I am NOT trying to put down anyone of our members methods by any  means....just sometimes a beginner needs to dip his toes in the water.being a guide for 30 years i have some knowledge of how to "break in " a newbie.literally teaching some one how to cast.half my clients had disabilities.i think power bait a pond and lawn chairs would be apropriate....trolling,down riggers,thermoclines not to mention lure choice. We called that overloading the donkey cart back in the day.maybe the guy wants to invest in a boat and all the bells and whistles...no clue.guessin a trip on tout girls boat is in  order.hint hint.he may decide trolling aint his gig and spend his money on waders and a fly rod...if i have stepped on toes...i apologize.

I’m so new I squeak! I’m a retired teacher on a very fixed budget and any and ALL suggestions are gratefully accepted here! No, I can’t afford a boat and pretty much must fish from the bank. I’m out of shape (trying to fix that) and on heart meds by order of my V.A. Docs. They want me to exercise but to be careful not to overheat because of my heat stroke history. So, the idea of a chair by a nice calming stream is alluring!

 

 

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I used to go to Sycamore Shoals in Elizabethtown. Park in their parking lot and take off down the walking trail toward the river. If you are going to be wading in, best to have felt soles on your boots. Those pretty round rocks are very slippery. Caught a lot of nice trout there, years ago. You can even go up stream right below Wilbur dam. Always call for generation schedule 1-800-238-2264.

Welcome to East Tennessee and welcome aboard ExSoldier62

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Killeroy154, thanks for that advice. I know exactly where that park is and your suggestion seems perfect for my first adventure.


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Here's what a bigger one looks like. The first picture is my biggest Laker, 28", 8.1 pounds. They get bigger than this! The state record is a bit over 22 pounds. The second picture is my biggest Rainbow, 26", 6.4 pounds.
 
 
 
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Wow! Is there a minimum size by law to keep Trout and what size makes a good meal?


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You can fish little Wilbur Lake below Watauga Lake with spinning rods. Watauga's cold discharge makes Wilbur cold, top to bottom. You don't have to fish deep.

 

If you wanna try Watauga, get somebody to guide you. I took my brother to Watauga today. We caught about ten Lakers, 4 small Rainbows.....lost a big Rainbow....darn! I caught a 3 pound Smallmouth. My brother got the biggest Laker today, 23", 4.45 pounds.....

WATAUGA  3 June  2019  REX  4.5  Pound  Laker 012.JPG

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Well,i think one of our members in your area needs to reach out to a vet who spent his life serving our nation should step up to the plate.i would gladly take you out on my boat on one of our lakes but i believe you are a 100 miles or so away.we are retired,have a spare bedroom if you want ,center hill ,cordell hull are close,Dale Hollow is the cats ass spectacular .send a pm.we mostly bass and crappie fish though.

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4 minutes ago, ExSoldier62 said:

 

 


Wow! Is there a minimum size by law to keep Trout and what size makes a good meal?


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I have not caught one too big to taste good yet. 

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There's no minimum size to  keep most places. There's special regulations some places. Below Norris Dam, there's a Slot Limit. You can keep Trout below 14". You have to turn loose all the 14 - 20" Trout but you can keep one over 20". In the Smoky Park, I think Trout must be over 7".

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Same on the Caney,slot on Browns.Ex missed out on the TWRA winter trout stock program.a few breeders,most are 10/12" ...lots of fun though especially on warm sunny  days in jan /feb.this was a park the truck,walk a 100 feet or so and catch fish.mid winter...no brainer.put them in the frying pan or grill sure beats frozen fish sticks.simple method 4/ 6 lb. test line,small hook power bait corn nibbles  or a wax worm,slip weight,inline swivel,18" leader.done.or a slip float and a minnow.sit in the sun and enjoy retired life.keep it simple.( my wife,cumberland mountain park,2/3 of the way to our limit).

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Edited by kwk

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Yea,it was fun.mid winter jan. 3 days straight of 60+ degrees. We sold our boat at the time.kind of stuck to the bank.thats the point,the guy can get out ,no boat and still get a nice fresh fish dinner.no trophys,just fun sun and a nice meal.agreed?...nice bow...that is a straight to the grill no foil fish..spiced butter and flames...

Edited by kwk
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Kwk, you bet! I saw an awesome YouTube video on something called PowerBait mouse tails. Until I saw the details I wondered about mice running around without tails! But it looks like a really simple lure/bait.


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The water is warming very fast now.if you really have a mindset for trout,tailwaters as troutgirl defined are your best option.unfortunately that is a whole different ballgame from siiting on a ponds edge in lawn chairs. Current breaks,dam release flows etc. take it to another level.snags snags and more snags...you will be retying and spending money on spoons terminal tackle,could get pricey real quick.by no way am i trying to discourage you ,maybe head up to the Smokies,try for brookies in some of the headwaters,those little dudes are always hungry.they are delicous and dont live in ugly places.

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11 minutes ago, kwk said:

The water is warming very fast now.if you really have a mindset for trout,tailwaters as troutgirl defined are your best option.unfortunately that is a whole different ballgame from siiting on a ponds edge in lawn chairs. Current breaks,dam release flows etc. take it to another level.snags snags and more snags...you will be retying and spending money on spoons terminal tackle,could get pricey real quick.by no way am i trying to discourage you ,maybe head up to the Smokies,try for brookies in some of the headwaters,those little dudes are always hungry.they are delicous and dont live in ugly places.

 

The native Brookies are so small that it's difficult to catch one that's legal size. During the 1970's I fly fished all over the Smoky Park streams and the streams in the Tellico Wildlife Management trying to catch a sizable native Brookie. I think I caught and released about 150 natives and never caught one over 6".  Most of the streams holding Brookies are tiny and tiny fish is what they mostly produce. It's toy fishing as far as I'm concerned.

 

I caught two native Brookies in Calderwood Lake, also back in the 70's. They apparently got washed down to the lake from either the high reaches of Slickrock Creek or Little Slickrock Creek in the Tellico- Joyce Kilmer Wilderness Area. They were both 8".  

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I'll 2nd what troutgirl said about Wilbur. Nice place to sit and relax. Sycamore Shoals is good place with easy access to river. My Dad, my daughter and I were sitting down there fishing one day. Wilbur was releasing water, so it was up and flowing. This was when a person could drive through the field and the road would hook left to the river where a person could park down there, I don't think you are allowed to drive down there anymore. My daughter was fishing with redworms, and she landed a nice 18inch brown trout. I got the hook out and was handing it to her for a picture, tail first for some reason, and it slapped her cheek with its tail. I thought Dad was going to bust a gut he was laughing so hard.

Or head down stream below the shoal where they crossed for their mustering during the revolutionary war. Thow some small cranks and rooster tails. Wife and I were down there a couple of weeks ago. Easy access and nice trail for some exercise. fe98b1c4476ce2e7c842b8a9b879886d.jpgae6615cc6d2ea53a6e37e482a7967869.jpgec880e63b3f353d6f786d1fe23301921.jpg

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