Trout Zone Anglers, LLC

Tennessee Musky Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing for Musky in the Volunteer State

Muskellunge, also known as musky or muskie, have been stocked widely across middle and East Tennessee waters. At one point, Tennessee contained some of the furthest south native musky populations. However, due to a variety of factors, musky all but disappeared from most state waterways. An aggressive stocking program has now returned these apex predators to several lakes and numerous rivers and streams across the state, providing a fantastic fishery. Fly fishing for musky in Tennessee is one of the great thrills as a fly angler.

Muskellunge landed while Tennessee musky fly fishing on a small river.

Tennessee Musky Fly Fishing Guided Trips

We have been targeting musky on the fly for, well, quite a while to say the least. My good friend David Perry got me started, and I’ve been dabbling at it for longer than most around here. With a variety of methods, we are ready to work with anglers of any skill level. That said, musky fly fishing isn’t for everyone. We strongly recommend that anglers already have plenty of experience with streamer fishing before taking on a musky trip. In fact, I generally require that anglers have completed a streamer trout or smallmouth trip with me before tackling a musky trip.

Fly Fishing for Musky

In general, we throw big rods with heavy lines and even larger flies. It isn’t unusual to throw flies in the 10-15 inch range. In other words, Tennessee musky fly fishing is a lot of work. We do keep some “lighter” rods on hand in the 7 or 8 weight range. Mixing in some smaller streams from 3-6 inches in length will help lessen the strain when anglers have to cast all day. We’ve had enough success on these smaller flies to know that they catch fish as well. Our usual rods are 10 and 11 weights with heavy sink tip lines to help the flies get down. We tend to use a lot of deer hair and buck tail on our musky flies, and that requires some assistance to get them down.

If you get tired with “regular” streamer fishing, then know that musky are going to be even tougher. For anglers who have catching a musky at the top of their bucket list, we are glad to try and make it happen. Just don’t expect too much. That is because these fish can be maddening. On some days, we’ll get double digit follows and several eats, while on others we won’t even spot a fish. They are truly the fish of 10,000 casts on some days and seemingly a piece of cake on others. Deciding to try and catch one is quite a commitment and could require anywhere from 30 minutes to several days on the water.

If you want to stack the odds in your favor, we recommend working around the favorable moon phases. New moon, full moon, and quarter moons are the best. Being on the water during major and minor feeding periods is also helpful. If you are interested in a musky trip, just contact me for more information or to book. Special rates apply.

Guide David Knapp with a Tennessee musky on the fly.