Sloan Trace

It's so cold steam is rising from the water of Pinoak Lake. This photo was taken from the lodge just at sunup. 20 minutes later, the lake was white-capping.

Brown's Creek Lake is somewhat of a secret. It nestles among the hills of beautiful, Natchez Trace State Park (NTS).

It was attracting retired judge, Dave Durham and I for a variety of reasons.

First, the 167-acre lake is known for producing some huge bluegill and crappie.

In fact, for a time, it held the state record for black crappie.

Second, in 2002, Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency stocked it with Florida strain, largemouth bass.

In 2009, they shocked up a 16-pound, 15-ounce specimen.

There are four, fishable lakes in total in the park and all are great fishing.

Third, the food and rooms they offer are outstanding.

And lastly, it was also the site of the annual conference of Tennessee Outdoor Writers Association (TOWA).

So the judge and I loaded up our boat and tackle and on April 25, headed out for three days.

NTSP offers all the amenities and they do a great job of making you feel welcome.

Brown’s Creek Lake has a superb launching ramp and a 50-foot, fishing pier and rental boats if you don’t bring your own. It also offers a campground, cabins, and rooms at the Pin Oak Lake Lodge.

If you feel like walking in nature, there are 40 miles of hiking trails. At one time, I use to hunt the WMA portion and I killed a deer or two there many years back.

Hunting is allowed and believe me, there are plenty of deer and turkeys. And, there is a rifle range. And, heck, it is just an easy 140 miles from Lebanon. In total, the park covers over 30,000 acres.

The Judge and I have made somewhat of a tradition of attending the annual conference of TOWA.

It is usually held at a state park that offers superb accommodations, food, and fishing.

Last year, it was held at Montgomery Bell, outside Dickson.

Since I am the vice-president of TOWA, I’ll have to spend some time in meetings but we will still have plenty of time to fish.

Before I get to the fishing, let me mention food.

I cannot eat like the Judge. Few living people can. But the food and the service was so dadgumed outstanding, I ate more in three days that I have in three weeks.

Fantastic catfish, shrimp, crab, crawfish, frog legs and a pitch-till-you-win buffet for less than a hamburger costs, most places. And gotta be, the friendliest most accommodating staff, anywhere.

Now about the fishing. As usual, the weather killed us and every other angler we talked with.

Hard rain, high winds, cold front…you name it. We caught two, probably had 10 strikes, mostly on a frog and I lost one “heavy” fish.

That was about it for a day and a half of fishing. The fish are there, no doubt about that.

The two big lakes have good ramps, courtesy docks and fishing piers.

Rental boats are available. There is even a big playground for the kiddos.

I have no doubt, with a break in the weather, we would have done quite well.

But take it from me, want to get away with the family for a weekend and have something for everybody to do?

You cannot beat Natchez Trace State Park. The folks are so friendly, you’ll think you are at your momma’s.

Oh, me and this here publication won a bunch of awards, too.

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