Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing the Elk River Tailwater
The Elk River is a little known tailwater located in
Tennessee below Tims Ford Dam. It's relatively small
and easy to wade. The tailwater hold trout for about
fifteen miles below the dam. The trout all were stocked
at one time. There aren't any stream-bred trout known
to exist in the river but there are plenty of holdovers.
Catching a good size brown trout is very possible.
This river flows through what most of the state of
Tennessee is know for - hills. It winds and meanders
its way around with fairly smooth, moderate flows. The
country around the river is all farming country
although there are some cattle along the river in some
areas. Unlike most tailwaters in Tennessee, wading is
the best method of fishing the Elk River. Of course, as
with any tailwater, the flows have to be suitable.
There's a link on your left that will provide the
scheduled TVA discharge times of the Tims Ford Dam
on the Elk River.
You can float the river. If you do, you would be better
off with a canoe or small personal pontoon type boat.
Be very cautious about the discharges. When water is
being released the stream is dangerous to be wading
or in a small boat or canoe.
Access is rather limited but there's access points right
below the dam. Downstream there's a TVA access at
Garner's Ford, access at the Farris Creek Bridge and
access at the Old Dam Ford.
This river is full of scuds but it also has a few mayflies
and caddisflies. There's plenty of midge larvae in the
river and imitations of their larva, pupae and the adults
will work year round. Fly fishing the Elk River tailwater
with streamers is a good way to catch the brown trout.
We cannot provide a lot of information on this stream
because we have only fished in on one occasion;
however, it isn't the first time I have fished the Elk
River. I had fished it many times for smallmouth bass
in the state of Alabama. I won a bass tournament on
the river too many years ago to reveal.
Spring is a good time except after heavy rains when
water is being let through the dam.
Summertime flows will vary with the electricity load.
Fall is normally a very good time with good flows
Most warm days are very good days to fish
Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout Flies
Elk River Tailwater
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 &12 ft., 5 or 6X, Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.