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Fly Fishing The Elk At Tims Ford Dam

Fly fishing and canoeing the Elk River at Tim's Ford Dam.

Here’s another trout fishing location convenient to Brentwood: the Elk River in south central Tennessee.

This lazy river flows from Tims Ford Dam between Winchester and Lynchburg.

It’s a great fly fishing trip without the Caney Fork crowds.

The Elk River is more “farm” than “mountain stream.”

However, its clear, cold water and open space make the Elk River one of Middle Tennessee’s best fly fishing rivers!

Getting to the Elk River from Nashville:

  • Take I-24 to the Shelbyville exit 81A / US-231. Take TN-82 to Lynchburg Hwy. 55 to Lynchburg, TN. Turn left at Hwy. 50. Tims Ford Dam is 10 miles away.
  • Alternately, take I-24 to Winchester exit 127. US 64W takes you into downtown Winchester, TN. Follow signs to Hwy. 50. and the Tims Ford Dam.

Fishing The Elk River

Tailwater access is convenient.

Look for the TVA access sign off Hwy. 50.

There is a paved parking lot next to the overpass.

Luckily, there is now a port-a-potty at the parking lot!

A concrete path leads down to the Elk’s rocky banks.

Kids will enjoy looking for unusual rocks and even spotting trout in the clear, shallow water.

You can cast from the bank or on the rocky fingers around the bridge.

Canoeing Near The Elk River

There is also easy access for canoes and kayaks here.

Canoeing outfitters serve the Elk River, but they are located downstream of the Tims Ford Dam in Kelso:

The Elk River is relatively shallow and easy to wade. You can wade downstream for at least half a mile. There are some deep pools, good underhangs, cuts and ripples.

The Tims Ford Dam has not been generating much this summer, making for reliable and safe fishing.


Tims Ford Dam Generation Schedule:

  • Call the TVA Information Line at 800-238-2264.
  • When asked for the 2-digit dam code, enter 50.

Best Fly For Fishing The Elk River

Tim’s Flies and Lies in Lynchburg is the closest full-service fly shop and guide service. Stop in or call for current fishing reports.

On our trip, trout were biting on a size 12 bead head olive woolybugger with some flash.

In the evening, we caught several brown trout on a size 18 scud (dropped off a dry fly).

You better pack a picinic


The Elk River winds through farmland — pretty much in the middle of nowhere. The closest market is the old-timey Broadview Grocery, 5 miles away.

May I suggest bringing your own food?

Hotels Near The Elk River

Part of our recent Elk River weekend involved scouting campsites and hotels for future trips.

  • The Tims Ford Dam is 10 miles from the city of Winchester, which has 2 nice hotels (Best Western and Jameson Inn – now a Quality Inn).
  • Even though Tims Ford State Park is on the lake, its cabins and campsites are located 10 miles from the dam itself.
  • You can also find lodging in historic Lynchburg, 15 miles downstream.
Fly fishing the Elk River at Tim's Ford Dam in Tennessee.