Looking for some great spots to go fishing and try your hand at landing a trophy fish in one of the many great rivers near Chattanooga? Check out our guide to the best fly fishing spots in and around Chattanooga. With destinations ranging from tight mountain streams to dam-released rivers teaming with lunkers, we’ve got a little bit of everything for Tennessee anglers.
Wade Fishing at Chickamauga Dam (Downtown Chattanooga)
Wade fisherman can fish below the Chickamauga Dam on the shoals behind Chattanooga State and expect to catch a mixed bag of Striped Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass and an assortment of other species. Both fly and conventional tackle may be used. Casting large streamers and plugs into the whitewater can produce fish.
Directions from Chattanooga: Head northeast out of town on Amnicola Hwy/TN-58 for about 3 miles. Past Chattanooga State on your left head another .25 mile to a left turn into the Chickamauga Dam area. Follows signs to the Recreation Area.
Kayak/Canoe Fishing the Tennessee River (Downtown Chattanooga)
Some quality fishing can be found right in downtown Chattanooga. Fishing around the docks and the Rip Rap can produce some quality bass. For canoe and kayak access, head to Coolidge Park to launch your boat underneath the Market St. Bridge.
Directions from Chattanooga: From I-24, take 27 N to the Manufacturers Rd. exit. Take a right off of the exit ramp and continue on Manufacturers Rd. until it intersects Cherokee Blvd. Take a right on Cherokee Blvd. and proceed for .5 mile.
Raccoon Mountain Access on the Tennessee River (Raccoon Mountain)
Anglers with power boats may choose to launch at Raccoon Mountain, the same launch site used by the Chattanooga Bass Bug Classic. This section of the river is located in the heart of the beautiful Tennessee River Gorge and offers some excellent fishing for fly fishermen. This TVA ramp is power-boat and canoe-kayak friendly.
Directions from Chattanooga: Take I-24 W for 3 miles to exit 175/Browns Ferry Rd. Turn right on to Browns Ferry Rd. for .9 mile to left at Elder Mtn. Rd. Go 1.8 miles to left at TVA Access Rd. Follow signs to river/ramp access.
Trout Fishing the Elk River (Sewanee)
If you’re willing to drive a little ways, you can fish some of the best trout water in the southeast. Enjoy a scenic drive through the quaint towns of Cowan and Winchester to Tim’s Ford Dam. Fishing is strong throughout the year here, offering anglers ample opportunity to catch Brown and Rainbow Trout. Some favorite fly patterns are Midges, Hare’s Ear Nymphs, Woolly Buggers, and Turk’s Tarantula’s.
Directions from Chattanooga: Take I-24 W for 45 miles to exit 134 US-41A toward Sewanee/Monteagle. Head 17 miles and turn left at W. Main St./TN-15/TN-56/US-41. Continue to follow TN-15 to S. College St./US-64 for about .1 mile to left on 2nd Ave. NE which becomes N. Cedar St./ TN-50. Turn left at 4th Ave. NW/TN-50. Continue to follow TN-50 for 10 miles to paved access and parking lot immediately below Tim’s Ford Dam.
Trout and Striped Bass Fishing on the Hiwassee River (Reliance)
The trophy section of the Hiwassee River is located between the Appalachian Dam and Reliance, TN. Fly fishing standard May Fly hatches with dry flies in the spring, and fishing with nymphs year-round, produce Rainbow and Brown Trout. In the summer, anglers concentrate on Stripers that enter the river to seek cooler water. These fish gorge themselves on trout, and are often seen schooling in feeding frenzies. Bring a bigger rod to concentrate on Stripers, as fish commonly reach thirty pounds and above.
Directions from Chattanooga: Take I-24 E to I-75 N to exit 20/Cleveland. Head 6 miles on US-64 Bypass to Ocoee exit (Hwy 64 East). Go east on Hwy 64 for 8 miles to Hwy 411 N/Maryville exit. Take Hwy 411 N through Benton. Approx. 6 miles north of Benton turn right on TN 30 E. Follow TN-30 E for approx. 6 miles to Reliance, TN. Look for marked river access.