Little Pigeon River
Beat the heat by wading in the cool mountain streams of eastern Tennessee, where a fly rod or light tackle and downsized lures can provoke spunky smallmouths. One top waterway is the Little Pigeon River, which flows into Tennessee at Waterville near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Most smallies average a pound, although some bruisers will push four and give you fits with light tackle. Topwaters and minnow imitations are top choices. Subsurface offerings such as finesse jigs that mimic crayfish also do well around shoreline cover and in deep holes. It’s possible to catch 60 to 80 fish in a day. “The fishing in August is some of the best action of the year,” says guide Larry Self of Greenville. “Not only are small lures a plus, but things really heat up on topwater lures like Rapalas and Heddon Tiny Torpedos.” A spinning rod with 6-pound-test will work fine. Try a 6-weight fly rod and dry flies. Have a selection of Clouser minnows and Woolly Buggers in brown or black as well. Turbines at Waterville Dam can begin generating without notice and create dangerous or life-threatening conditions if you’re caught unaware. Contact: Larry Self (423-422-7553; firstname.lastname@example.org).