Fishing at the Obed

A young park visitor and her catch of the day.

Chance Melton

The Obed Wild and Scenic River presents tourists and visitors with many different recreational opportunities. One of those popular activities is fishing. A variety of small game fish can be caught at virtually any spot along the river. Most anglers fish at the Lilly and Nemo sections of the river, but still other people enjoy the solitude of Jett Bridge and Barnett Bridge. Regardless of which section of the park that you fish at, all you need to fish is a current Tennessee fishing license, a rod and reel, some bait...and a little bit of good luck helps too.

The type of reels that are used most often at the Obed are spinning and spin casting reels. Occasionally, bait casting and fly casting reels are used. Youngsters usually start out with a spin casting reel, because they come in smaller sizes and are lighter to hold. The type of line that you use is important too. Round Monofilament line is a good line, because it works well with spinning or bait casting, and it has a low visability to fish. Naturally, the stronger the line, the more apt it is to resist snapping.

Spinning rods range in length from 5-10 feet, but the popular average is 6-7 feet. Most fishing rods are made of fiberglass, but some are made of split-bamboo. Nearly all spinning rods today have a fixed reel seat to keep the reel firmly in place. Grips on most rods are made of cork, but some are made of rubber.

The Obed River System typically has several species of fish which can grow over one foot in length. They are the Smallmouth Bass, Long-nose Garr, Catfish, and the Muskellunge (also referred to as the Muskie or the Jackfish). In order to catch these types of fish, you will need a hook of at least two inches in length. For smaller fish in the Obed like the Darter, Bluegill, or Shiner, a hook of an inch or smaller may be used.

Series anglers will visit the Obed with a tackle box. Inside such a box will be hooks, spare fishing line, scissors or a penknife (to cut your line should you snag it on a rock or something else in the river), bobbers, lures, insect repellent, suntan lotion, etc. A fishing vest with extra pockets is always helpful should you come with extra equipment.

Every summer, the Obed rangers present lessons on teaching youngsters how to fish. They are held on selected weekends from May to August. Please call the park at 423-346-6294, for information on when and where the lessons are held.

A 44-inch Muskellunge that was recently caught in a tributary of the Obed River.

Chance Melton

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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208 N. Maiden Street
Wartburg, TN 37887


(423) 346-6294

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