Are There Salmon In Tennessee? A Full Guide

If you’re an avid fisherman or just someone who loves exploring the great outdoors, you might be wondering if Tennessee is a good place to catch salmon.

The answer might surprise you!

Tennessee is home to several species of kokanee salmon, including chinook, coho, sockeye, and pink salmon. But that’s not all – the state also boasts many streams and rivers where Atlantic salmon live.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, Tennessee has plenty of opportunities for you to reel in some big catches. So grab your fishing gear and let’s dive into the world of salmon fishing in Tennessee!

Are There Salmon In Tennessee?

Yes, there are salmon in Tennessee! As mentioned earlier, the state is home to several species of kokanee salmon, including chinook, coho, sockeye, and pink salmon. These fish can be found in various lakes and rivers throughout the state.

But that’s not all – Tennessee also has streams and rivers where Atlantic salmon live. These fish are known for their impressive size and strength, making them a popular target for anglers.

The Kokanee Salmon Of Tennessee

Kokanee salmon are also present in Tennessee’s lakes and reservoirs. These landlocked Pacific sockeye salmon are a popular game fish and can be found in several bodies of water in the state. While they may be difficult to catch, kokanee salmon are a beautiful fish to admire and are known for their delicious taste.

One of the best places to find kokanee salmon in Tennessee is Watauga Lake. This deep, cold lake is perfect for kokanee salmon, which prefer cooler waters. However, unlike their sea-run cousins, kokanee salmon are silver in color before spawning.

To catch kokanee salmon in Tennessee, trolling is the most effective method. Using downriggers and small spinner rigs or plastic skirt lures that resemble squid can yield great results. Chartreuse is a good color to start with in the morning, transitioning to white, pink, and red as the day progresses.

The Atlantic Salmon Of Tennessee

Despite being known as a cold-water species, Atlantic salmon can be found in the private spring-fed lake at Game Fair Limited in Tennessee. This is great news for local anglers who don’t have to travel all the way to Nova Scotia to catch this prized fish.

Atlantic salmon are typically known for their weight, which can average between 8 to 12 pounds but may reach up to 30 pounds. They also have an average length of 28 to 30 inches for adult fish. However, these fish have faced several environmental challenges that have caused them to disappear from U.S. rivers, including damming, pollution, and habitat degradation.

Despite these challenges, there have been positive signs of Atlantic salmon populations in Maine rivers in recent years. Natural springs are also a fantastic location to fill with salmon and brook trout under the right circumstances.

For those interested in catching Atlantic salmon in Tennessee, Game Fair Limited offers guided tours of their private lake that includes fly fishing instruction. The cost is $200 per person and is roughly an hour west of Nashville. Additionally, landowners can contact the TWRA in their area for more information on how to fill their natural springs with Atlantic salmon and other fish species.

Best Places To Fish For Salmon In Tennessee

If you’re looking to catch salmon in Tennessee, here are some of the best places to try your luck:

1. Watauga Lake: Known for its stunning mountain views, Watauga Lake is also home to a thriving population of kokanee salmon. Anglers can also catch other species such as largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and crappie.

2. South Fork Holston River: This river is known for its annual spring migration of white bass, but it’s also a great spot to catch Atlantic salmon. The river is surrounded by beautiful scenery and offers plenty of opportunities for fly fishing.

3. Hiwassee River: The Hiwassee River is a popular spot for trout fishing, but it’s also home to a population of Atlantic salmon. Anglers can catch these fish from September to November, with the best fishing happening in October.

4. Caney Fork River: This river is one of the best places in Tennessee to catch trophy-sized rainbow trout, but it’s also home to a population of Atlantic salmon. The river offers plenty of access points for anglers and is a great spot for fly fishing.

5. Clinch River: The Clinch River is known for its diverse fish population, including brown trout, rainbow trout, and smallmouth bass. It’s also home to a population of Atlantic salmon, making it a great spot for anglers looking for a challenge.

Tips For Catching Salmon In Tennessee

If you’re looking to catch salmon in Tennessee, here are some tips to help you have a successful fishing trip:

1. Know the best time to fish: The salmon fishing season in Tennessee typically runs from mid-April to the end of October. However, the saltwater season only lasts for the first few months. Knowing the best time to fish will increase your chances of catching salmon.

2. Choose the right gear: When fishing for salmon, it’s important to have the right gear. This includes a sturdy rod and reel, as well as appropriate bait and lures. Research the specific type of salmon you’re targeting and choose gear accordingly.

3. Look for unique features in the water: Salmon tend to gather near unique features in the water, such as logs, trees, rocks, or rocky areas. They may also be found near aquatic vegetation or places where creeks enter the water. Look for these features and focus your fishing efforts in these areas.

4. Start fishing close to the shore: Begin by casting your line close and parallel to the bank, then work your way outward (fan casting) toward deeper water. This will help you cover more ground and increase your chances of catching a salmon.

5. Switch up your bait: If you’re not getting any bites, try switching up your bait or lures. Salmon can be picky eaters, so it’s important to experiment with different options until you find what works.

6. Wear polarized sunglasses: Polarized sunglasses will help you see fish as well as submerged objects more clearly. This will increase your chances of spotting salmon in the water and targeting them effectively.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to catching salmon in Tennessee’s lakes and rivers. Remember to always follow local fishing regulations and practice responsible fishing practices to protect these valuable fish populations for generations to come.

Regulations For Salmon Fishing In Tennessee

If you’re planning to go salmon fishing in Tennessee, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the state’s regulations and laws to avoid any legal issues. Here are some of the regulations you need to know:

– Daily Creel Limit: The daily creel limit for salmon is typically two fish per day, but this can vary depending on the specific waterway. Always check the Tennessee Fishing Guide for the most up-to-date information on daily creel limits.

– Minimum Length Limit: There is usually a minimum length limit for salmon in Tennessee, which means that any fish caught below this length must be immediately released. The minimum length limit can vary depending on the species of salmon and the waterway.

– Possession Limits: The possession limit for salmon is typically twice the daily creel limit, which means that you cannot have more than four salmon in your possession at any time.

– Special Permits: Depending on where you plan to fish for salmon in Tennessee, you may need to obtain special permits. For example, fishing in Gatlinburg and Cherokee requires a special permit.

It’s important to note that these regulations are subject to change, so always check the Tennessee Fishing Guide before heading out on your fishing trip. Additionally, make sure to properly measure any salmon you catch and release any undersized fish back into the water to allow them to reach maturity. By following these regulations and practicing responsible fishing techniques, you can help protect Tennessee’s natural resources while enjoying a thrilling salmon fishing experience.