View Full Version : steam plant needle fish

01-24-2008, 08:54 PM
Last weekend we heard about some needle fish that had some how made there way into Tennessee. We went to the steam plant to do some skipjack and white bass fishing. We caught some decent size skipies and a small white bass. there were needle fish every where near the shore line. I was able to get some to bite but I also was able to get a good hook set in one and land him. of course all on fly rods. they are some mean fish.
it was all in all a good trip even though the temp. was a mind numing 21 degrees.




Flying Trout
01-24-2008, 11:14 PM
That is one mean looking fish.

01-25-2008, 12:59 PM
How many flies did you lose to land that fish? Do you have all your fingers?
Looks like fun anyway. Thanks for posting those good pictures

01-25-2008, 03:05 PM
which steam plant is this?

01-25-2008, 05:19 PM
More than likely that would be Bull Run Steam Plant in Oak Ridge, and of course I'm basing that on the fish he was planning on catching. Skip Jack have a tendancy to stack up there where the warm water discharge is. Stripe run through there quite often as well. It's a little odd fishing there and you have a tendancy to feel as if you being watched. It's better fished from a boat and you would have alot better access. Some parts are unaccessable and require running along some railroad tracks to get to some of the better spots. If you really wanna have some good fun...Wait till spring, practice a good roll cast, take a heavy leader, and head to Center Hill **** while generating. That's some of the most insane fishing to be had...1 to 2 lb skipjack herring that will absolutely about break your rod and blow your mind with strong runs. Mini tarpon! There are also plenty of Stripers to be had just slightly downstream...Watch your step and be careful!


01-25-2008, 06:00 PM
How many flies did you lose to land that fish? Do you have all your fingers?
Looks like fun anyway. Thanks for posting those good pictures

I actually didn't lose any flies to that fish or any of his relatives. There mouths were so small the didn't get a hold of my tippet but it did tear the marabou to pieces. I thought about letting him bite me to show of the battle wounds but in decided not to.

01-25-2008, 06:03 PM
which steam plant is this?

I caught the fish at the steam plant over in cumberland city.
When fly fishing among conventional gear you do get a lot of attention and crowded sometimes.
But you can become good friends with them if you offer them your skipjacks,
heaven forbid you release them.
tight lines

01-26-2008, 12:49 AM
I think what you've got there isn't a needlefish, although it looks a lot like one; it's a juvenile longnose gar. If you are convinced that it really is a needlefish, you should certainly let a biologist know, as they have not occurred in TN before.

01-26-2008, 01:01 AM
Um, I'm dead wrong (not the first time!). Your pics really do like like a needle fish. And I'm also wrong about them being in TN; apparently they have found their way in through the Tombigbee canal. I think I'd throw it on the bank every time you catch one. Any, I found an article on this:

Invasive Species

Atlantic needlefish continue to spread

If you’re on the water and see what appears to be a flying fish snapping its long, needle-like jaw and razor-sharp teeth in pursuit of prey, you’re probably not imagining things. Chances are, you’ve just gotten a glimpse of an Atlantic needlefish.

As the name implies, this swift-moving, salt-water predator is found throughout much of the Atlantic Ocean, ranging from Maine to Brazil. Surprisingly, it also seems able to thrive in freshwater. In fact, today, the Atlantic needlefish probably holds the distance record in both Alabama and Tennessee for inland occurrence of a primarily marine species.

Scientists believe that needlefish gained access to the Tennessee River by working their way through the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, an artificial canal completed in 1985, after detouring from the Gulf of Mexico up the Mobile and Tombigbee Rivers in Alabama. They were first discovered in Pickwick Reservoir in 1990 and then in Kentucky Reservoir in 1992. Recently, TVA scientists collected the non-native fish during routine monitoring at Cumberland Fossil Plant on the Cumberland River in Tennessee—hundreds of miles from its last known distributions.

“It’s unlikely that the needlefish population will grow large enough to pose a threat to Tennessee Valley waters,” says Greg Shaffer, a TVA fish biologist. “But any non-native species has the potential to negatively impact native fish. The needlefish is of special concern because it feeds on shad, brook silversides and shiners, the same prey favored by area sport fish. At times, their bait-stealing habits also can make them a nuisance to anglers.”

Atlantic needlefish typically swim in small schools near the water’s surface. They are most active at night and are attracted by lights around docks, bridges and piers. In spring, they are known to congregate in area immediately below locks and dams.

TVA scientists monitor both native and non-native fish species in the Tennessee River system annually. See TVA’s latest monitoring results at www.tva.com/environment/water.

01-26-2008, 11:23 AM
I fish Kingston and Bull Run a lot, so I knew that concrete wall in the picture did not fit either of them. If you want the stripers, try a full sink fly line (Type IV) to get the fly down.

01-26-2008, 10:15 PM
Yeah we are going to bring them home next time and my dad is going to take them into work and preserve them.
I just wonder what kind of effect they are having on the other fish. There are just so many of them there.