Calderwood trip - East Tennessee Fishing

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Old 11-26-2010, 11:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I am looking to catch some trout on Calderwood. From what I have read on here, there is only one boat ramp at the dam in NC, fishing is better when they are generating, and some info on what to use. I could use some more info because of the long and winding drive there. How much is the water moving when they are generating? Do I need a minimum size boat motor to get back upstream? Can you catch trout all the way down to Chilhowie Dam? I read in one of the topics that there is a gate at the ramp and they closed it during the day. Is that true? If it is, it would make it hard for an all day fishing trip. Any info would be great.
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Old 11-28-2010, 03:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by golfgoob7 View Post
I am looking to catch some trout on Calderwood. From what I have read on here, there is only one boat ramp at the dam in NC, fishing is better when they are generating, and some info on what to use. I could use some more info because of the long and winding drive there. How much is the water moving when they are generating? Do I need a minimum size boat motor to get back upstream? Can you catch trout all the way down to Chilhowie Dam? I read in one of the topics that there is a gate at the ramp and they closed it during the day. Is that true? If it is, it would make it hard for an all day fishing trip. Any info would be great.
I am still in the learning process on Calderwood but I will see if I can help you out. The only boat ramp is in NC below Cheoah Dam. I do not know if their is a gate or not because every time I have been the road was open and I was not paying much attention to the entrance. The fishing does seem to be better when they are generating and it can get fairly swift at times and there is always a little bit of current but I do not see any problem of getting back upstream with a gas motor of 10 hp or better depending on the size of the boat. You can catch trout all the way from below Cheoah Dam to Calderwood Dam. I usually use night crawlers and corn to throw towards the bank and I also troll with small rapalas and spoons. Both ways have been productive for me. I would not be dissapointed if you come back empty handed a few times, I have, sometimes the fish bite good and sometimes they do not bite at all. I have caught good numbers of rainbows, brookies, and rock bass. I have also caught some nice smallmouth bass and one walleye. There are also supposed to be quite a few browns and lake trout but, I have never caught any. I have fished this lake in the summer and fall but have not in spring and winter. I hope this helps.
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Old 11-28-2010, 11:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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There is no gate that would keep you from access to the lake at the boat ramp. The gate they were talking about is at the access road to Calderwood dam and its foot traffic only. Its a tough lake to fish sometimes but you'll be hard pressed to find another as pretty.
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info guys and please keep them coming. It will probably be spring before I can get there. Hopefully I can make the right day and catch some Hawgs. Is there a special size or creel limit that I should know about?
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Old 01-10-2011, 01:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info guys and please keep them coming. It will probably be spring before I can get there. Hopefully I can make the right day and catch some Hawgs. Is there a special size or creel limit that I should know about?


You can't fish from the bank at the launch. You can tie your boat up and sit in it and fish if you want. Your TN license is good anywhere whilst afloat. Slickrock Creek which is on the left side, going downstream, about a mile and a half is where you get into Tennessee. There's a few places downstream one could fish from the bank but not many. You're in a canyon.



I've been to Calderwood several times the past 2 years. At the top end, all the Trout we've caught were Brookies or Browns. I haven't caught a sizable Brown, yet. I did see one under my boat whilst night fishing with a light that looked about 5 pounds. I've caught Brookies all the way down to the dam but there seems to be more Rainbows the farther you go down the lake. The small Trout hide along the banks and in the weeds in the shallow top end. There are some big Trout out there keen on cannibalism.



It's really difficult to troll the top half of the lake when they're generating hard. It's hard to keep weeds and leaves off your lures when the current is cooking. It's rather shallow for a number of miles downstream too. I like to troll or jig down near the dam where it is very deep. I've done better casting little rubber minnows on a leadhead than trolling. I hope I can find a lure that the big Trout out in the channel will respond to trolling this coming year.



The biggest Trout we caught this past year were night fishing near the dam. Minnows out fished nightcrawlers by a wide margin. I got one Rainbow that went 19 inches. My buddy Alex got a Brookie that was 17 inches and close to 2.5 pounds. It had a really big, heavy head. The TN state record for Brookies is just a tad over 3 pounds. I feel certain that a new state record is swimming around Calderwood waiting for us. If you night fish down the lake, it's a slow ride back up to the launch. The lake is narrow and very dark unless a sizable portion of the moon is directly overhead. Each of the 3 evenings we fished after dark, the Trout hit really well for 2-3 hours after dark and then took a siesta. You needn't fish very deep. Take plenty of minnows, sometimes you have quite a few Rock Bass and Yellow Perch hitting between the Trout.



Good luck at Calderwood!
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:04 AM   #6 (permalink)
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[quote name='Troutgirl' timestamp='1294635810' post='247167']

You can't fish from the bank at the launch. You can tie your boat up and sit in it and fish if you want. Your TN license is good anywhere whilst afloat. Slickrock Creek which is on the left side, going downstream, about a mile and a half is where you get into Tennessee. There's a few places downstream one could fish from the bank but not many. You're in a canyon.





You may want to double check this. I'm pretty sure if you are tied to the bank or anchored to the bottom in the N.C. portion of the lake you have to have a NC liscense.
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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[quote ...You may want to double check this. I'm pretty sure if you are tied to the bank or anchored to the bottom in the N.C. portion of the lake you have to have a NC liscense.


I don't think so. TN and NC have a long-standing reciprocal agreement concerning boat fishing on the lake. About 15 years ago, whilst camping at the launch, a NC warden said we could sit in our boat, tied up, and fish. He said we had to stay off the bank. I don't know why they'd change that and make the regulation confusing.
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Old 09-20-2011, 07:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Only seen a game warden (NC) one time on Calderwood and I pulled over to the bank to talk to him. Boat fishing is reciprocal and only fishing from the bank or standing-wading requires a NC license on the small portion of the lake above slickrock that is NC. Of course the devil is in the details and I've never laid eyes on statutes-legal arrangements etc.. It's pretty casual up there in those mountains and if you show respect you get it back. Bear season starts down lake in TN on Sept 24 and I'm headed that way about then!
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