Going back to college cays, we went up on the Hiwassee in mid-January during a warm snap. We set up traps- #10 cans in the ground and a 100 foot fence. The salamanders would come out of the mountains and head for the pools along the river to mate. They would go along the fence and fall into the cans. We took data and turned them loose. Kept a couple for the Prof's lab. Two fellows were by a pool and saw their mating ritual call the Love Dance (Ger.- Liebspiel as the Prof. called it).
I'm wondering what you are calling a mudpuppy. There a number of salamanders in east Tennessee and the Smokies.