We are blessed here in Tennessee to have several great spots for trout. Tailwaters and wild streams abound here in the Volunteer state, and no matter where you live, you are close to great opportunities to fly fish for Rainbows, Browns and Brooks. This brought a thought to mind. What spot in our state is the best place to live if you fly fish for trout?
The primary criteria I used in my assessment was drive time to various locations. It might be that you live five minutes from Tims Ford, but if you want to fish the South Holston you better be ready to drive. I was in search of the single spot where, with a reasonable drive time you could reach more than one trout fishery within the state. It was very tempting to expand the search so that I could include the wonderful opportunity found in North Georgia, Southern Kentucky, and North Carolina; but Tennessee is the criteria.
There are several bodies of water that I did not include. Not because they are bad locations, but I just thought it would be easier to use the high producing locations that can easily accommodate a lot of anglers. The rivers/ locations I used are: Caney Fork, Clinch, Holston, South Holston, Watauga, Hiwassi and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
I also tried to avoid an “as the crow flies” philosophy when determining distance. Anyone who is familiar with Tennessee and East Tennessee in particular knows that you might be just over the mountain from a location, but getting there is a little more involved than just hopping over the ridge. It had to be from point A to point B drive time.
After consulting several mapping services and calculating the quickest drive time to each location, here is what I found.
If you are an avid fly fisherman in Tennessee and your primary target is trout, the best place to live which gives you the most opportunities to fish multiple rivers in pretty much the same amount of drive time is….
Masterson Road in South Knox County Tennessee.
If you are a fly angler for trout and are lucky enough to live on Masterson Road, here are your relative drive distances to fish each of the subject waters.
129 miles to the Caney Fork (2 1/2 hours)
129 miles to the South Holston. (21/2 hours)
104 Miles to the Watauga. (1 hour 45 min.)
65 miles to the Hiwassi. (1hour 15 min)
39 miles to the Holston (45 min)
38 miles to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (45 min)
31 miles to the Clinch River (30 min)
Keep in mind that this is drive time based upon legal driving speeds. Depending on how badly you want to be in the water, your drive times may vary.
If you live within a good rock throw of any of these waters, consider yourself lucky. Those who live in Clinton, Bristol, New Market, or Townsend have immediate access to trout and if you are one of those people my hat is off to you for your selection in location.
But if you are like the majority of us and have to drive more than ten minutes to get to the river, then you might want to consider Masterson Road in South Knox County. I mean its always good to have options isn’t it?