Chattanooga. My brother in law has a drift boat and guides. I go to the Canney Fork and Elk fairly reg. I also have a Nucanoe and like to fish the creek at green-way farm for bass and blue gil.
I've never fished the Chaney or the Elk. I fished the S. Holston once a week in college and the Watauga about as often. Love the Soho. I mainly chase bass and carp now but still go after trout when someone invites me along or if I want to fish the Smokies streams.
You guys need to come up to Pa and fish for wild trout in the Pa wilderness. One of my favorites is to take a weekend and hike up one of the mountain trails that follow the streams and fish for my dinner along the way. Here is a video of some of the streams near-by--this is not me by the way.
Oh, and yes, you do have to watch out for the snakes...
I've got a buddy who has been after me to go to the Cherokee Dam and chase small mouth.
You get there much?
I've fished below the dam many times since it is so near my house. It's more likely you'll catch stocked trout near the damn, but there is some great smallie fishing on down the river. Part of it is now managed as a trophy smallmouth section. The trout fishing there is decent, but public access is virtually non existent with only three public accesses. One of which is just deep slow water you can't wade in, another at the dam, and another at nances ferry. There are a few bass up high in the river but most people fish at least below nances ferry for smallmouth.
What do you all recommend for a good beginners rod and reel?
I got by with a bass pro combo as my first set. It cast well enough to not turn a beginner off of the sport.. I've casted some other really cheap rods and they're literally too much cap to cast which would just cause you to turn away from the sport thinking it's too hard. If you're willing to spend a little more than money I'd recommend tfo rods. They're quality rods at a reasonable price. The sizing of fly rods can seem overwhelming at first. The standard all around rod size would be a 9ft 5wt. The wt is short for "weight" which is the term fly rods are measured in. Smaller weight rods typically have more flex in them. Chasing small trout in mountain streams? A three weight would do. Chasing lunker bass? You'd do better with a 7 or 8 wt rod. Smaller rods wouldn't be capable of throwing the heavy flies used for bass. Similarly, a 7wt would not throw tiny dry flies as accurately as a smaller rod. Keep in mind that when buying a new set, the line needs to match the weight of the rod (though there are exceptions). Line can be confusing to buy as well, but as long as you buy the right weight you'll be good.