River Information

If smallmouth fishing is your game, then look no further than The French Broad River and its tributaries. This 213 mile river meanders out of North Carolina into Tennessee, skirting through the region of The Cherokee National Forest before impounding into Douglas Lake. This river was a huge factor in the settling of lands west of the mountains of western North Carolina. During the frontier days a steady flotilla of flatboats came down stream as people began to settle what was then the wild west of Tennessee.

Wading opportunities are somewhat limited on the French Broad as it leaves TVA’s Douglas Dam due to private ownership and shorelines that can be somewhat silty in nature. However, if you have a watercraft you are in for a real treat. This river moves slow and lazy and the scenery is beautiful. A canoe is the ideal transport for the angler who is in search of a good outing.

The best plan of attack for the beautiful smallies on the French Broad is a six or seven weight rod with sinking line and a box full of streamers that could pass for crawdads. Find a small feeder creek, tie on a wooly bugger or similar crawdadish fly and cast just beyond the point where the feeder enters the river, letting it drift back. And hang on.

As you head further downstream, the river deepens and enters an industrial area on the fringes of Knox county. If you are fishing that low on the river, you would be well advised to be aware of large commercial watercraft that frequently are bringing goods and material up to the park. Beyond that lies the confluence of the Holston and French Broad. The point where these two rivers meet is a swirl of conflicting currents and a popular gathering spot for feeding fish. Shortly after sorting the pecking order, these currents settle down and become the mouth of the Tennessee River system as it grows and pushes through Knoxville and beyond.

French Broad is Firing Again
Written by Allen Gillespie
Published: September 19, 2012
Douglas dam has the taps off for the next couple of days. Provided that the Little Pigeon has flushed itself from the recent rains, the fishing should be off the charts with the cool nights and warm water. The big fish are schooling up and looking for a feed. With the water low, however, your going to need a long leader and a stealthy approach. Try downsizing your flies and tippet.
French Broad Bass are Fickle.
Written by Allen Gillespie
Published: September 11, 2012
fished the lower reaches of the French Broad on a couple of occasions last week and saw numerous large small mouth in close proximity to one another all holding on structure. Unfortunately the current generation schedule puts the lower river cloeesest to town on a very low flow throughout the day light hours so while seeing the bass is easy catching them is entirely another thing. Finding the right flow at the moment will lead to significant catches...
French Broad slightly fickle.
Written by Allen Gillespie
Published: September 4, 2012
Managed a couple of outings on the French Broad over the holiday weekend with mixed results. While the fish seemed willing the weather was less than cooperative and caused some problems. The fish that were most willing showed themselves in the shallows and weren't bashful about chasing a streamer down from a long distance. Things should continue to improve for small mouth over the next two months or so.
French Broad bass fat on bait fish.
Written by Allen Gillespie
Published: June 24, 2012
I managed twenty or so nice small mouth bass early Sunday morning on the lower French Broad just above town. Every fish I caught regurgitated their lunch (no stomach pumps needed) and showed that the fish are gorging themselves on a healthy supply of bait fish. Bait balls are visible in the shallows and the bass are taking advantage. Fly anglers will find themselves in advantage when compared to their gear brethren if they choose to throw small (size 4 to 6) clouser minnows and work them slow in the shallows and behind structure. By in large the generations schedules look favorable but you will definitely want to try and find the low flow during the early or late part of the day in order to catch the fish in their best moods.
French Broad good not great.
Written by Allen Gillespie
Published: June 9, 2012
The French Broad is fishing OK but not as well as it should be. The fish are in the shallows and riffles looking for easy prey. I spotted (and caught) a number of nice fish who were hanging off the back of cruising/feeding carp in the skinny water. Despite the success, I get the feeling that the river isn't living up to its potential. My guess is the Saturday bass tournament is taking its toll. The resource cannot handle that type of pressure...
Big bass are finally off their beds.
Written by Allen Gillespie
Published: May 31, 2012
The big bass are finally off the beds and looking for something to eat. Afternoon/evening generation means that you are more than likely going to find low water during the better part of the day. Fear not as it appears that the better small mouth bite is coming during the middle of the day as the water warms. The Saturday bass tournament below Seven Islands isn't doing anybody any good. If your looking for a peaceful float avoid the middle river on Saturday morning.
Muddy, but Smallies in the Creeks
Written by Allen Gillespie
Published: May 23, 2012
Like her sister the Holston, the French Broad below Douglas Dam isn’t quite hitting the mark just yet. The river below the confluence with the Little Pigeon may be running a little muddy for the next couple of days as the LP dumps her excess water into the system from the small bit of rain the mountains received in the last two days. Small mouth are mostly still up in the creeks on their beds. However, if you’ll ply the faster water and ripples you find some nice fish looking for an easy meal. Ditch your sinking lines and streamers for a floating line and a nymph of choice. If it were my choice it would be a TeQueely about two feet under a popper.