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Buffalo River

Posted: October 3rd, 2018 by Bill Dance

While many people get distracted by hunting or hiking when the cooler weather approaches, committed anglers still have lots of options. Fall is a great time to experience the smallmouth bass fishing and the tranquility offered by the Buffalo River.

The Buffalo River, the largest unimpounded river in the United States, is located in middle and west Tennessee and flows over 125 miles through Lawrence, Lewis, Wayne, Perry, and Humphreys counties. The biggest obstacle for out of county residents is gaining access to the river, especially for those who float via canoe or kayak. There is one public access known as Short Creek Access located near the intersection of Hwy 13 and Hwy 412 in Linden. The scarcity of access presents an issue with being able to get back to the vehicle after floating down stream, especially for those without a boat motor. However, there are a couple of canoe liveries (Heath’s canoe rental 931-593-2306 or Buffalo River Resort 931-593-2000) that will take and drop folks off for a return trip to their car or camp.

October can present water level challenges which makes navigation on the river difficult with a traditional prop driven motor, thus the more experienced anglers opt for a jet motor. In addition water conditions can be a bit tricky and the locals suggest watching the forecast and keeping an eye on the local radar since a downpour in the area before your trip can drastically change both flow and clarity of the river. The Buffalo River is a free flowing, wild stream that can rise very fast with extra runoff and can take days to clear up.

Smallmouth bass fishing is king on the river and concentrating fishing effort in areas with good current and structure such as boulders or vegetation is usually a recipe for success. Fishing the edges of rock bluffs can also be productive but avoid wide, calm waters as it seems smallies are less likely to frequent these areas. So when you encounter these less productive waters, kick back and eat a sandwich or admire the beauty of the river.

Live crayfish are the best bait but small crawfish imitations or small minnow imitations will catch fish when presented in the right areas at the right times. But please remember, State law requires that any live crayfish used for bait must be taken from stream the angler is fishing. Also, the black perch (rock bass) fishing can also be second to none when fished with a Hildebrandt Gold Nugget Spinner, large Beetle Spins or tiny brush hawg baits. Finally due to cover and bottom conditions, you may lose several lures during a day of SMB fishing and that is why seasoned anglers use the less expensive artificial baits.

The Buffalo River is a quiet and scenic river which offers a relaxing and stress free atmosphere with beauty and good fishing. So take a few days and experience a get-away from the pressures of everyday living. You will thank yourself.

NOTE: The Buffalo River currently has a precautionary fish advisory from the confluence of the Duck River upstream to Highway 438. Please visit http://tn.gov/environment for more information.

Bill Dance


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