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PRIME FEEDING TIMES
The Caney Fork River is one of the major streams draining the Cumberland Plateau region of Tennessee and a major tributary of the Cumberland River system.
The Caney Fork rises in Cumberland County about six miles (10 km) west north-west of Crossville. It is flowing southwest. Then it crosses into White County. In southeastern White County it descends off the Cumberland Plateau through a deep, steep gorge known as Scott's Gulf in a remote area west of Scott Pinnacle, a locally-known mountain. Farther downstream, near the Dodson community, the stream becomes the line between White County and Van Buren County. It receives the flow of the Calfkiller River and several minor tributaries.
At the confluence of the Caney Fork, the Collins River and the Rocky River is Great Falls Lake. This reservoir is impounded by Great Falls Dam, a project of the former Tennessee Electric Power Company now owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority, the only dam outside of the Tennessee River drainage system directly operated by it. This dam impounds a very small but very deep lake due to the depth of the gorges carved by the rivers it impounds.
At the foot of Great Falls Dam the water is usually slack except during periods of high discharge due to the influence of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Center Hill Dam project, developed in the late 1950s. Unlike Great Falls Dam, this project flooded thousands of acres of land previously devoted to agriculture and several small communities. It is crossed by a particularly scenic bridge on State Route 56. Along its shores is Edgar Evins State Park, named for the father of the area's former Congressman, Joe L. Evins, former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. This area is in DeKalb County.
Below Center Hill Dam, the stream crosses into Smith County and is bridged by Interstate 40 no less than five times. This downstream section is annually stocked with Rainbow, Brown,and Brook Trout by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and is considered to be one of the best trout rivers in the state. A final bridge is on U.S. Route 70N near the Elmwood community; the river's mouth into the Cumberland River which also considered to be a world class Striper fishery is almost directly opposite the Smith County seat of Carthage.