Anglers' Autumn Treasures:
Fall fishing on the Tennessee River is a draw for families seeking fun in the great outdoors.*
Bass, Crappie & Sauger in
AR, MS and TN
By Holli Haynie
Southerners typically see a body of water and wonder how many fish are in it.
If you like to catch ‘em and eat ‘em, this Tennessee girl recommends three watering holes in the tri-state area of Arkansas, Mississippi and West Tennessee.
These spots are particularly fruitful for anglers. Plus, they're prime locales for a calming weekend in the great outdoors.
At right, a family in west Tennessee hauls away their bountiful catch.*
Pickwick Landing State Park, West Tennessee
Pickwick Lake State Park (731-689-3129 or www.tnvacation.com) encompasses a 43,100-acre reservoir off the Tennessee River.
This popular state park has long been a favorite weekend retreat, particularly for those who love relaxing along the lakeshore and on water
At right, anglers are enjoying a day of boating and fishing.*
Whether it’s water sports, sunbathing or a fishing mission, Pickwick Lake can deliver the goods.
Fall is a great time of year to catch a fair share of small mouth bass. These tasty white fish are fun to catch because they love to fight.
Winter is your best bet to snare the delicious and easier-to-catch sauger, a favorite for restaurant fish-fry dinners and backyard cook-outs.
Pickwick offers your choice of eclectic lodgings. For year-round camping, check out Pickwick Reservoir Campground (256-386-2228).
For lake house rentals, contact Pickwick Vacation Rentals (731-689-6046 or www.pickwick-vacation-rentals.com).
Get a TN fishing license at any of the various bait shops on Pickwick Landing.
You can bring your own rig or rent a boat at the marina for a day or the weekend.
For boat rentals, you might contact Pickwick Outdoors (800-783-0112 or ww.pickwickoutdoors.com). They carry everything from smaller fishing boats to house boats, from pontoons to jet skis (see photo above left*).
Grenada Lake, Grenada, Mississippi
For the serious angler who isn’t interested in crowds, Grenada Lake in Grenada, MS (800-373-2571 or www.grenadamississippi.com) is "the fisherman’s lake."
With nearly 36,000 acres of surface recreational waters and 148 miles of shoreline, Grenada Lake (shown at right*) is the largest lake in Mississippi.
The craggy, island rich surface gives the lake ideal structure to lure the fish.
Plus crisp air blowing against your skin and glassy water reflecting a spectacular sunrise are other perks of cruising across Grenada Lake, even if it means waking up at 5 a.m.
Grenada Lake is known as one of the best crappie lakes in the country, which is good news for those who don’t like to fight with their food.
Crappie are some of the easiest fish to catch...and the tastiest to eat in my humble opinion. They usually go for minnows or crappie jigs, a small, rubber skirted bait designed specifically for that fish.
My best catch was in a wide cove. Every time our minnows hit the water, the fish were biting. Between three of us we caught 35 fish.
Large mouth bass are also plentiful. They come out when the water cools down. And they make you work to catch them!
Bait and lures can be purchased at any of the various bait shops in Grenada, along with a fishing license.
My grandfather has caught more fish at Grenada than at any other fishing spot he's ventured to across the globe. And over the years, he’s been quite the explorer in search of the best angling locales!
He says the dead timber in the Grenada water creates the perfect conditions for catching bass.
He advises going in October and November when you’re also more likely to hit your max of crappie.
Full-featured campsites are available along Grenada Dam (One view of the dam is at right*). For information and reservations, call 662-226-8963.
White River, Mountain Home, Arkansas
Arkansas (www.arkansas.com) is pure heaven for anglers.
Breath in the majestic scenery and view frisky wildlife in the Ozarks as you’re flowing along the White River in Mountain Home, AR.
It's a lucrative fishing spot and a peaceful retreat with gorgeous scenery. Gaze into the chilly, crystal clear waters and watch rainbow and brown trout pass by. You may even spot an otter or an eagle.
My family and friends visit White River several times a year and usually come back with a massive loot of trout.
Above left, one fisherman shows his morning's catch to an Arkansas fish and wildlife officer.*
River fishing is quite different from lake fishing since you’re always moving with the current. Instead of reeling in and out continuously, some choose to float the line.
But my mom says "you’ve got to keep your eyes on it bee bopping along so you can distinguish between the bait bouncing on the river bed and a trout pulling your line."
If you’re brave enough, you can put on some waders and go a bit offshore.
Translation? Waders are fisherman's boots that extend over the knees. (At left, see the photo of a White River angler wearing waders)
When the river was low one summer, a group of us waded into the cold, shallow waters without waders. We were easily snagging brown trout with wax worms and power bait, a colorful, clay-like substance. One of our group caught an 11-pound trophy brown trout which ended up on this lucky angler’s wall.
River fishing is also a chillier sport. Bundle up and head for water.
November is a great time to fish for trout, particularly below Bull Shoals and Norfork dams, where brown trout make their spawning runs.
The Ozarks are stocked with a range of campgrounds, cabins and lake houses. If you want to stay in a lake house just walking distance from the river, you may store your boat at Norfork Trout Dock (800-499-5500 or www.norfork.com/troutdock). Or, visit Mountain Home Vacations for info on additional lodgings and boat rentals (www.ozarkvacations.com).
For more information on additional lodging choices and boat rentals, contact the Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce (888-679-2859 or www.mountainviewcc.org).
For more information on Arkansas fishing, check out www.fishing-arkansas.com.
Have you been to any of these fishing hot spots? Or others in the South? If so, enter your own brief thoughts or an even longer trip report (just a few sentences are great or so is an entire story!) in our Reader Submission area. We'll include in a readers' suggestion area to accompany this story!
Holli W. Haynie, a freelance writer based in Memphis, TN, contributes to local, regional and national publications. She specializes in lifestyle, health, culture, family and travel. She is currently expanding her reach into the literary world while completing a teen novel.
*Photos are owned, copyrighted and used courtesy of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, the Arkansas Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, and the Grenada, MS, Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved. Do not link to nor copy these photos. Thank you.