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Discussion Starter #1
So, today was going to be a special day... The first day we were to catch catfish on public waters in Tennessee. A day my son caught his first blue cat and a day we got to spend together having fun and catching some of these Tennessee catfish.

Supposed to have been.....

We got to the spot I had tediously picked out by hours of looking at maps and researching. It was exactly what I thought it was going to be and it was a perfect spot to start our day.






We had some action right off the bat. One really nice tug that ripped my bluegill in half, but no hookup. Then it kind of went downhill. We hooked into something... But it was no cat.






This creepy soft-shelled UFO looking turtle swalled my bait, hook and all... Getting a 4/0 circle hook out of a turtle's mouth is NOT FUN!!!!!

So, finally with a pair of pliers and some strain, the turtle swam off...

Got rebaited and cast back out. Shortly after that, another turtle hookup.... This one shook off at the shore. We decided it was time to move... I didn't want to be removing turtles from my lines all night.

We ended up going to the Kingston Steam Plant and fishing the boat ramp just west of the discharge canal. Fished there for an hour and a half with a group of two guys who were 20 yards or so down the bank from us. Nice folks. NOBODY got a sniff from a single catfish there.




As the guys were packing up to leave, I asked them if they knew of any places near by we could try. They suggested the wall above the discharge of the plant. Well, that was our last stop. We went there and two guys were cast-netting gizzard shad like crazy. One caught about a 12 inch channel cat and tossed it back.

He gave us a shad to use, and we gave it a whirl... fished about an hour there as well... No luck.





We drove home, and I was completely distraught... Take the kid to arguably the best catfish lake/river system in the state and fail to land a single cat. It was really eating at me.

Then he said, "Love you dad... had a good time today catching that turtle."





Today was a success. :)
 

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Opry - if I'm reading the photo right, you're on the end of an outside bend where the current slows down. Turtles love that area because it's slow, muddy, and there's lots of worms and detritus for them to forage. Move upstream to a little deeper, cleaner water, or even if you can, go to the point across from you in the picture. If there's some stumps or boulders on the point or head of the bend, mo better.

The steam plant is more if a cold-weather option, but if you check the current as it leaves the plant, look for eddys/whirlpools 100-200 yards downstream where the current folded back on itself. Fish a crawler, minnow or cut bait just off the bottom (it should drift with the current until it touches bottom and then sit). Put a few baits out at different depths, you should be catching a variety of species there (dandies, stripe, bass, crappie, cats, maybe a walleye depending on season).
 

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Thanks alot VolFan.

I was fishing the confluence of the Emory and Clinch. What you're seeing off to the right is the Emory entering the main flow of the Clinch. There isn't much shore access through there, and virtually none at this spot on the north side. We were on the south side of the Clinch, just west of the intersection.

The steam plant discharge canal was very cool. Tons of weird current flows, swirls, and shifting water. The point at the end of the canal as it dumps into the main part of the river looked promising, but there was already a dude set up there and we didn't want to bother him.

We may try below Watts Bar dam next time in the tailwater. I'm just flabbergasted that we are in a subtropical climate with water everywhere and I can't find cats, regardless of tactics, rigs, baits or location.

Yesterday we tried large floats with suspended shad, Carolina rigs, dropshot, weightless, 3 way rigs.... Livers, cut gills, chicken breasts soaked in livers overnight, nightcrawlers.... It was literally comical loading up the car to leave the best cat waters around with nothing on the stringers... I had to laugh at myself... But it wasn't easy. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5






Here's where we fished. The blue arrow is the spot I found (where we fished).... the red arrows are the other spots I looked at while researching... but on a 95 degree day, I selected the shade and seclusion of the blue spot... Perhaps I chose incorrectly. =)
 

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Those soft shell turtles can be a pain! I deal with them at Mcconaughy atleast once a year. They are like catfish they get drawn in by the smell of your baits and once they are in the area you are screwed. Especially if your fishing with bobbers, the turtles at mac will swim straight to your bobber the second it hit the water get to it and dive down and get hooked...its no fun getting turtles of your hook!
 

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Looking at the area you're in, I'd try to get up by the bridge over the Clinch and fish the shade line area the pilings. There'll be cover around the structure, left from when they built the bridge, as well as holes on the downstream side. That said, fishing those big TVA compounds is all about current. If they're drawing water through the dam, the fish turn on almost without fail. My best luck was always around the tailgaters/headwaters, and on days when they're pulling water.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks man. I appreciate the advice.

We will likely not go back to this spot until it gets cooler out... It was 95 degrees yesterday which is one reason I picked the shaded treeline. When it cools off, it should get better up there.

My next off day, I will probably head up into the Catoosa wilderness area and fish a little hidden area called "Nemo." Its where the Obed and Emory come together and looks to be a real peach of a spot.

Of course, that's what I thought about the Emory Clinch confluence too....
 

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Ha! That's a beautiful area! I did my research project at UT on the Obed. I spent many a day at the NPS/TWRA office in Wartburg, and many more chasing smallies and muskies starting from Nemo both with and without a yak (the boat, not the animal). Ridiculous amount of smallies in that water, and plenty of panfish and channel cats as well. The deep hole on the west side of that Nemo bridge holds so e fish, and do every deep hole in that river. Great fishing, but clear and mostly shallower water with some exceptions, so take some lighter tackle. There's a trail and parking area on the west side of the bridge that follows the river upstream a few miles. It's scenic and I've seen turkey, grouse, bobcats, deer, and even a couple wild gigs and an eagle up there. Great wading water and beautiful country.
 

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Oh and if you take the youngster, grasshoppers are great bait there and there's a couple grassy areas around the bridge to catch them.
 

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Ha! That's a beautiful area! I did my research project at UT on the Obed. I spent many a day at the NPS/TWRA office in Wartburg, and many more chasing smallies and muskies starting from Nemo both with and without a yak (the boat, not the animal). Ridiculous amount of smallies in that water, and plenty of panfish and channel cats as well. The deep hole on the west side of that Nemo bridge holds so e fish, and do every deep hole in that river. Great fishing, but clear and mostly shallower water with some exceptions, so take some lighter tackle. There's a trail and parking area on the west side of the bridge that follows the river upstream a few miles. It's scenic and I've seen turkey, grouse, bobcats, deer, and even a couple wild gigs and an eagle up there. Great wading water and beautiful country.
You're unique in your knowledge of the place... Most people around here have no idea what I'm talking about when I mention it. :)

There exists an oooold railroad tunnel (abandoned for decades) that can be driven through in the dry season which takes you from the main road there right down to the joining of the rivers. It is there we will fish when we get out there. A buddy of mine (the fella who told me about the place) has told tales of some 30+ lb blue cats and 20+ lb channels he has pulled out of there... Along with the smallies and redeyes, there are also supposedly some monstrous shellcrackers and gills that live up there. Its an hour drive, but from what I've been able to research and read, it will be well worth every mile, even if we had to walk it. ;)
 

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It's truly a beautiful place, no doubt about it. I had a girl in college with me who grew up in Wartburg who knew very little about it, so it's definitely an underutilized area. I don't know about 30 lb blues in there (maybe the lower reaches) but definitely some good channels, and it's some of the cleanest water/fish you'll ever get.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So you're from Wartburg, eh? I've been google mapping that area for a few months now, trying to get my head around the shore accessible areas of the Obed and Emory rivers. Nemo seems to be the best bet, but the lower Emory seems to run right by/through the town of Harriman. Might be some decent fish in that stretch.... Many bigger specimens might cruise up that way from Watts Bar...

Anyway, glad to chat with someone who knows the area... I am completely in the dark out here!!! :)
 

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A real peach of a spot :D sorry I just thought that was a funny, that's something I would expect to hear from my grandma:biggrin1:
 
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