Trout Zone Anglers, LLC

Warm Water

Here in Tennessee, we are blessed with a multitude of fish species. Here at Trout Zone Anglers, as our name implies, we are trout guides first and foremost. That said, we often enjoy warm water excursions on our days off and even guide for warm water species occasionally. Our main targets include largemouth and smallmouth bass, various panfish, striped bass, and muskellunge (also know as musky or muskie). These different species can be found both in lakes and rivers across Tennessee.

Fly Fishing Lakes for Bass, Panfish, and Carp

One of our favorite outings is to get out on the boat and hunt bass, panfish, and carp on the lakes. These trips offer a little bit of everything. Popper season is our favorite time for these trips, but there are other possibilities as well. Winter float and fly is one particularly fun possibility. A lot of these trips will feature a little bit of everything. One favorite combo trip includes carp in the morning, and throwing popper/droppers on banks in the afternoons. If you enjoy bluegill and other panfish on the fly, then throwing small poppers can be addicting.

TZA guide Elam Kuhn with a nice largemouth on the lake. ©2023 David Knapp Photography

Fly Fishing Streams and Rivers for Smallmouth Bass, Spotted Bass, and Other Fish

Fly fishing for smallmouth bass is a personal favorite of mine (David Knapp). I don’t spend a ton of time guiding for them, but I’ve learned a lot about fishing the streams here on the Cumberland Plateau and enjoy sharing that with others. The Plateau rivers and streams are all walk/wade at this time. Once the streams fall off of the Plateau, then some offer good boat opportunities.

Larger rivers and streams in the Tennessee River valley also offer good warm water opportunities. We float the French Broad, Holston, Little Pigeon, Little River, Nolichucky, Pigeon, and a few others. On the other side of the Plateau, the upper Caney Fork system keeps us occupied.

David Knapp with a Plateau smallmouth. ©2017 David Knapp Photography

Fly Fishing For Musky

Speaking of the upper Caney Fork system, this is our favorite place to fish for musky. In the summer, smallmouth bass fishing is also a possibility. We spend more time on the Collins River than anywhere else, but the Caney Fork, Calfkiller, Rocky River, and Cane Creek also get some of our attention. Most of our trips here are for musky and we prefer to target these fish in the cooler months for a couple of reasons. First, we need decent flows to get our boats down these streams. Second, musky are sensitive to water that is too warm. We want to protect these special fish.

David Knapp with a nice Collins River musky. Photo courtesy of TZA guide Pat Tully ©2024

Fly Fishing for Striped Bass

Striped bass are another challenge on our days off. We often find ourselves fishing larger rivers and lakes in the Tennessee and Cumberland systems for these magnificent game fish. If you have never felt the tug of a big striper, then you are missing out. These fish attain great sizes on our rivers and lake. We are happy to offer musky specific trips. If you want to try these fish out, then consider booking a guided trip to target them.

TZA Guide Pat Tully with a quality striper on the fly. ©2023 David Knapp Photography