If you are looking to catch a big fish and have an adventure while you are at it, try out Muskie Fishing on Melton Hill Lake. According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency’s website, “muskie are voracious predators and one of Tennessee’s largest and fastest growing fish. The 43 lb. 14 oz. state record was caught on Melton Hill Lake in 2017.” The mergence of the Clinch River with Melton Hill Lake and the presence of the Bull Run Steam Plant make for the perfect breeding ground for Tennessee Muskie all year long.
Fishing Techniques taken from TWRA’s website: Traditional muskie tackle includes a heavy 7 to 8 foot bait casting rod equipped with a substantial level-wind reel. Many anglers use 50 to 100 pound test braided line with a 12 to 18 inch, 100 to 150 pound wire leader. Most anglers cast large plugs, bucktail spinners, or spoons. Some anglers prefer to cast or drift live bait and usually have the best luck fishing during the daytime. Melton Hill muskies hit large baits cast into blow-down trees throughout the middle to upper section of the reservoir. Many congregate near or downstream of Bull Run Steam Plant’s warm-water discharge during the winter and early spring.
Muskies may also be found near rock drop-offs or sand bars. Most often they are caught close to shorelines that have overhanging and submerged trees. They prefer baits that have considerable action and make a lot of noise. When a muskie hits, set the hook immediately.
Please avoid using live bait for muskie! If you must, then consider learning how to properly use one of the many types of “Quick Strike Rigs” since they are less likely to gut-hook the fish.
Where to Launch: There are several access areas along Melton Hill. You can find a map at https://www.tnfish.org/ReservoirLakeMapsTennessee_TWRA/MeltonHillReservoirBoatRampsMarinas_TWRA.htm.
Catch and Release: since the muskie population is limited and no natural spawning has been observed, anglers are encouraged to catch and release. The creel limit for Melton Hill is one muskie per day with a minimum length of 50”.
Where to Stay: If you are visiting from out of town, there are plenty of lodging options that can be found at https://www.yallcome.org/browse/3/where-to-stay/
Things to Know: If you have never fished for muskie before, we suggest using a guide. There are guides available that specialize in muskie fishing and you can find out more at https://www.yallcome.org/anderson-county-highlights/fishingguides.