Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Guide for the Caney Fork River Tennessee
The Caney Fork section that holds trout extends from the Center Hill Dam all the way down
to the Cumberland River. You can wade the river, fish it from the banks, or from a boat.
Canoes work well when the current is slow. Drift boats work only when the dam is
generating enough current to clear the rocks, otherwise the river is very shallow.

The river bed consist most of small, small size cobble and is fairly easy to wade in most
places. There's a lot of moss covering the bottom which helps maintain its aquatic insect
population. The number of aquatic insect species is rather low but it has a good population
of those that do exist there.

The area below the dam can be fished from the manager's resource area, or you can
cross the dam on highway #141 and fish from several access points from pull off areas
along the road. There's also an access at Happy Hollow with a boat ramp. Betties Island is
another point you can access the river and launch a boat.

There are usually a lot of bait fishermen on the river. The state stocks a huge number of
trout and the locals take advantage of it. The river can become crowded at times.

When it comes to fly size, it seems you need to go from one extreme to the other. We think
the best method, day in and day out, is to fish imitations of midges. The naturals range in
sizes from a hook size 20 up to 26 and smaller. They are very plentiful. Scud and sowbug
imitations also work great at times. Black flies are another very plentiful insect and
imitations of them work at times. On the other end of the size spectrum are the streamers
that imitate baitfish. They consistently work for the larger trout in the river.

When you are fishing BWOs, midges, black fly, scud and sowbug imitations, we
recommend a long, light leader at least 9 foot long. Lengths including the tippet, are better
in the 12 foot range at times. The leader size for these small files should be a 6X, and if the
trout feeding on midges and become rather difficult to catch, you may even want to go
down to a 7X size.
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Caney Fork Tennessee
Photo Courtesy of David Knapp Photography
Photo Courtesy of David Knapp Photography