Duck River

by Tennessee On The Fly

  • Species: Rainbow and Brown Trout below Normandy Dam. Smallmouth, Spotted Bass, Largemouth, Stripers and more are widespread throughout the entire Duck River Watershed
  • Angler Type: Wade or Boat
  • Access Type: Public or Private


Fly Shops




The Duck River is widely considered North America’s richest river in variety of freshwater animals. The Duck supports over 150 species of fish, 60 freshwater mussel species and 22 species of aquatic snails. The Duck is approximately 280 miles long and considered by the US Geological Survey to be on of the three hot spots for fish and mussel diversity in the entire world!

Towards the headwaters of the Duck lies Normandy Dam in Normandy, Tennessee. The TWRA created a ‘put and take’ trout fishery below the dam. Built for flood control and not for hydroelectrical power, Normandy Dam generation is much more consistent than most Tennessee tail waters. Due to warm temperatures in summer months, very few trout are able to hold over. During the cooler Tennessee months, TWRA releases Rainbows and Browns, which creates exciting fly fishing opportunities. Midges, nymphs, woolybuggers and streamer variations are go-to’s for the Duck River trout. Eight to nine foot rods in 4-6 weight sizes are perfect for these tail water trout.

Below the trout water, the Duck is filled with boulder fields, diamond chop riffles, cliff walls, and grass banks which create a fly fisherman’s paradise for targeting warm water species. Feisty Smallmouth, Spotted Bass, Rock Bass, Largemouth, Stripers, and many more are bountiful throughout the entire ecosystem. The upper river at times can be conducive to wading, but the middle to lower end is better suited for boat fishing. Nine foot, 6-8 weight rods are best-suited fort these warm water predators. Due to lots of woody stretches and sharp rocks, heavy tippet is recommended throughout the river (0X-2X). Streamers and bait fish patterns are a go-to. Due to many different bait fish that thrive in the Duck, be sure to carry many multiple color patterns. Throughout the year top water poppers and crayfish imitations can also bring on an exciting bite.


  • Due to the possibility of sudden rises in water, be careful when wading. While boat fishing always have your PFD’s.
  • Check the generation schedule at 
  • Click Here for TVA Generation Schedule and select Normandy Dam from Lakes and Recreation on the right.FISHING
  • Any combination of trout species: Daily Limit 7
  • Minimum Length Limit: None


Visit for TWRA access points.

Suggested Rods/Reels/Lines

9 foot 4,5,6 or 7 weight rods with matching reels and floating fly lines, unless throwing streamers, then use sinking fly lines

Click here to purchase a Tennessee Fishing License

Getting There

From Nashville, TN go east on Insterstate 24 towards Chattanooga, then take exit 105 to Hwy 41, then turn right on Blanton Chapel Road, then left on Lyndell Bell Road, then right onto Frank Hiles Road

Click here for local weather forcast.

Tennessee Fly Fishing