At 284 miles long, the Duck River is the longest river located entirely in the state of Tennessee. It is also one of the most biologically diverse rivers in North America, home to more than 50 species of freshwater mussels and over 150 species of fish. It’s the ideal location for kayak, and canoe enthusiasts to explore the scenic waters of South Central Tennessee. The river also offers an excellent opportunity to get a closeup view of the abundant wildlife that lives within the delicate ecosystem along the water.
ROW A BOAT
The Duck River has long stretches of slow-moving water that make it ideal for beginners. Several access points along the river allow for trips ranging from 2 miles, which takes about an hour, to 14 miles, which takes approximately six hours, depending on how many stops you make along the way. It’s not uncommon to see deer, mink, otter, wood ducks, kingfishers, turtles, and even bald eagles as you float down the river. If you don’t have your own boat, Float-A-Boat kayak rental in Normandy has everything you need to spend an enjoyable day on the river. For a small fee, boat owners can park at the Nor- mandy location and take advantage of the shuttle service to and from the river. For more information about kayak and canoe rentals visit their website at fabontheduck.com or call 931-619-6959.
CAST A LINE
For fishing enthusiasts, the Duck River will not disappoint. TWRA stocks Normandy Lake and the Duck River year-round. At Normandy Dam, low water intakes pull cold water from
the bottom of the reservoir and release it into the Duck River. For a stretch of approximately
6 miles, the conditions are opti- mal for trout habitat. Over 150 species of fish swim in the wa- ters of the Duck River including smallmouth, spotted, and large- mouth bass, stripers and more. For those 16 or older, a standard hunting/fishing license with a trout stamp is required. There
is a juvenile license for those 13 years to 15 years. Children 12 years and under are not required to have a license. New hunting/ fishing licenses go on sale Feb- ruary 18th of every year.
KEEPING IT CLEAN
The last 15 years have brought major improvements to the cleanliness of Tennessee rivers and lakes. Each June, Bedford County residents join forces with several other counties for the an- nual Duck River Cleanup. Through these efforts, and others that help to raise public awareness of water quality issues, wildlife habitat is being restored.
While out on the river, it is ex- tremely important to keep in- formed of the water flow. In a mat- ter of seconds, dangerous fast-rising water can make the river unsafe for wading or floating. The fluctuations are a result of water being released from Normandy Lake by the Ten- nessee Valley Authority (TVA).
The sights and sounds of the river create a sense of awe and reverence for the natural world that is just outside our windows. Listen to the sound of a blue heron taking flight, or the splash of a trout jumping, while you watch the water gently lap against the bank. A day spent on the river is a good day, relaxing, peaceful, refreshing, and exhilarat- ing all at the same time. –GN