Fishing Tips With Nathan Mountain


June 7, 2007

We all know how quickly the weather can change in East Tennessee. This week, our local fishing pro Nathan Mountain gives us some tips when fishing during a change in weather.

Click on the above link to view this week's tip.

EAST TENNESSEE FISHING REPORT
(courtesy of TWRA)

CHEROKEE RESERVOIR: (5/31/07) - reports for Cherokee will resume in 2008.

DOUGLAS RESERVOIR: (5/31/07) -
WATER CONDITIONS:
The water level is still holding fairly steady with surface temperature up to 83 degrees up in the day. The water is murky colored.

SUMMARY:
Bass are most active early morning and late evening. Fish points, humps, flats, and backs of coves with silver buddy, blue top silver bottom jerk baits, and Carolina rigged lizards.

Bluegill can be found on rocky humps, points, and brush piles. Crickets are working best.

Catfishing is good around rocky banks, bluffs, or creek channels. Fish with night crawlers.

Crappie are being caught early 5 to 20 feet deep. Fish with live minnows, small crank baits, or green or pink flies.

White bass, bluegill and catfish can be found on the upper locations around Leadvale and Rankin.

NORRIS RESERVOIR: (5/31/07) -
WATER CONDITIONS:
The water elevation is 1,018.7-feet, a drop of a foot since last week. The lake level is predicted to drop an additional 6-inches over the next two days.

Long, hot days and no rainfall have caused surface temperatures to rise considerably over the past week. The surface temperature taken at mid-day has been 82 degrees in mid-channel. The 82 degree temperature has been consistent on the lower end as well as in the headwaters. Morning temperatures are in the mid-70's. The lake is clear in all locations.

SUMMARY:
Extremely clear water conditions are hindering catches during daylight hours. Anglers have done well to seek the shade or fish very early in the day, or at night.

STRIPED BASS have hit at dawn, if at all. SMALLMOUTH BASS have dropped into deeper water, but some have been caught shallow at the break of day. LARGEMOUTH and SPOTTED BASS are improving, hitting in the shallows at dusk and dawn. CRAPPIE are best at night, under lights, or at the break of day. Once the sun comes up, crappie catches are about over. WALLEYE have been slow to hit during daylight, with depths varying considerably. But once found, some catches have been made. Night fishing is a bit better.

WALLEYE
Fair at night, slow during daylight. No change in the pattern.
10 to 25 feet deep, on the bottom, for daytime trolling. The depth has varied drastically from day to day, making finding these fish difficult. Spinner/nightcrawler rigs; Jet Lure/nightcrawler rigs trolled along the bottom and near the bank or on mid-lake humps if the depth is right.

For daylight trolling, target mud lines along the bank on windy days, or when boat traffic is high. Cast ShadRaps, Rogues or topwater plugs to flooded sycamores and other wood structure at night, or fish under lantern light with shad or alewife. Most night catches have come from those snagging shad or alewife and casting it beyond the lantern light, letting it drift down.

Broken, chunk-rock banks where wood structure is found, and adjacent to points.

If you can find any sycamore trees which are standing in water, fish close to them.

CRAPPIE
Slow.
5 feet in early morning, dropping deeper and tighter to cover as the day progresses.

Use medium tuffy minnows or 1-inch tube jigs or 1/32 oz. or 1/64 oz. popeye flies tightlined into the main channel brush/tree tops channel and hollows. Lost Creek, Davis Creek, Vasper Hollow to Cove Lake Dam have been good areas. Sycamore Creek is slow. Mill Creek is best at night under lights; slow during daylight.

STRIPED BASS
Surface to 20 feet.
Slow.
Live shad or alewife driftlined or shallower on planer boards. Or tightline bait to depth where schooling shad and stripers are located. Island F, Crooked Creek, and the islands around Hickory Star and as far down as Loyston Sea and Cunningham Cove. Some early morning fish have come from the Lindymood Hollow to Point 10 section of the Powell arm. 1/2-ounce to 1-ounce white hair jigs or Slug-gos or Bass Assassins cast or trolled into shad schools where fish are feeding, or shad driftlined or tightlined at depth in mid-day. Early morning hours and the hour before sunset have been the best times.

LARGEMOUTH & SPOTTED BASS
Good at dawn.
Surface to 10 feet.
Near wood structure, shallow, whether on rocky main channels or in the hollows.

Spotted bass hit on rocky shorelines, to as deep as 10-feet. Bass Assassins and Slug-go lures, small plastic worms as well as topwater plugs, did best during the past week. Chrome Colorado blade spinners, 3/8 oz. head, with yellow and white skirts worked well near brush and wood structure. Some were trying slow rolling spinners at night. In early mornings, cast topwater plugs or jerk baits such as Bass Assassins (and other similar lures) or Slider-type worms to brush, the base of flooded trees. 3/8-ounce pig 'n jigs with medium chunk trailers, and 2-inch Slider worms or 2-inch tube jigs worked well in cover on rockier, steeper banks.

SMALLMOUTH BASS
Moderate during night hours or just before daylight; slow after sunrise.
Same pattern, except fish will be deeper during daylight. 5 to 20 feet on main channel rocky points and banks where there is some wood structure - treetops or brush- on a fairly steep slope especially near transition zones of flat gravel banks breaking to steeper rocky banks. Mid-lake humps and dropoffs along the humps are giving up some fish on small jigs or hair flies. The vertical, slick rock bluffs are slow. 3/8 ounce brown-on-brown pig'n jigs or small brown or dark green Slider/Finesse worms are working well. Topwater catches at dawn have slowed. Some on crawfish Bandit crankbaits, pearl colored, 3-inch Bass Assassins or Flukes. If you're using a hair jig with trailer, use a slow retrieve along the bottom on dropoffs off rocky points which extend into the main channel.

BLUEGILL
Good.
5 to 10 feet, on the bottom on sandy/gravelly flats for nesting bluegill; or as deep as 20 feet, on the steep rocky banks otherwise. The larger fish are coming from the flats, but will return to the bluffs after the current spawn. Crickets fished on the bottom on the flats near cover (trees or brush) or popping bugs along rocky banks. Drag crickets or wax worms along the bottom in the areas where bluegill are nesting. Nightcrawlers as bait are a poor second choice.

SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR: (5/31/07) -
WATER CONDITIONS:
The water surface temperature was 80 degrees at noon on Wednesday under the 421 Bridge. The lake has a good green color to it right now. The lake level at the dam as of 6:00 a.m. Thursday morning was 1,722.22 feet above sea level.

SUMMARY:
Bass fishing continues to be fairly slow. Topwater fishing with a buzzbait and poppers seem to be the most effective early in the mornings now with the hot days and a bluebird sky. The upper end of the lake from the 421 Bridge to the Virginia line seems to be where most of the action is early mornings. Smallmouth can be found along points, rocks, and humps in 10 to 25 feet of water. Small crankbaits, spoons, jigs, grubs, and other plastics seem to be doing the best during the day. The grubs seem to be best in the slime green color while root beer bandits, and pumpkinseed worms and pig -n- jigs seem a good choice as well. Root beer jigs seem to be working the best late in the evenings and at night. A Rattlin Rouge or Bomber Long "A" jerkbait has also taken a few good bass off long shallow points or around the boat docks. The only noticeable Largemouth bass action seems to be in the Big Jacobs Creek area or where there is any woody cover around points from Painter Creek up into Virginia.

Walleye fishing continues to be still slow. What fish have been caught are on mid-lake humps or around the islands below the 421 ramp early in the morning to mid-day. A few boats were observed trolling between the 421 Bridge and Painter Creek Marina however this week. Most anglers are trolling worm/spinner rigs and Rapalas. Fish are being found about 20-25 feet down in most places.

Crappie fishing has been fair. The best fish can be found in the creek channels and coves where brush or treetops are located. Most of these fish are being caught on live minnows in about 6-10 feet of water. Blue or Chartreuse jigs and flies have been somewhat successful. The hot spots lately have been in the back of Painter Creek and Big Jacobs Creek. Trout fishing continues to be fair.

Trout fishing has slowed down with the warmer temperatures. The trout that have been taken have been mostly rainbows in the lower portion of the lake off of Rooster Tails or Berkley Power Bait. A few Brown Trout have been caught closer to the 421 Boat Ramp.

BOONE RESERVOIR: (5/31/07) -
WATER CONDITIONS:
Water surface temperatures have been in the low 80's this week around noon of each day. The lake level at the dam as of 6:00 a.m. Thursday morning was 1,381.72 feet above sea level.

SUMMARY:
Bass fishing has slowed back down. The bluebird sky and the hot sunny days have the bass slowed down. The only decent fishing is right at sunrise or late in the evenings. A few smallmouth are being caught shallow on cloudy days early in the mornings when they are feeding shallow, but most often they can be found off the rocky bluffs. The most successful anglers have been using spinnerbaits, plastic worms, lizards, or tubes, and some jerkbaits. Jerkbait action has been much slower than past weeks but continues to pick up a few largemouth around fallen trees or off long points. Spinnerbaits seem to be working best in brush or treetops. Green and white, chartreuse and white, or just white or green spinnerbait skirts with willow leaf blades are what most people seem to be throwing. Topwater lures have been real effective right at sunrise on these hot days. Plastics have been doing really well, especially on the Watauga side. The colors of choice for most on plastics have been root beer, watermelon, or pumpkinseed. Watermelon has been especially good for the tubes. The best success on the Watauga side with worms and lizards have been to fish tight to brush with Texas rigged style.

Striper and hybrid action has been fair. Trolling shad continues to be the most successful way to pick up the best fish. Several anglers have been using boards lately with their trolling. Zara Spooks and white hair jigs have also been picking up a few early in the mornings. Several anglers have been noticed trolling right at the dam or at the Deer Lick area lately.

Crappie fishing has been good. The crappie seem to be really holding tight to down trees and submerged brush right now. Small jig heads with either a chartreuse or white grub or fly, or a jig head with just a minnow fished in about 6-8 feet of water around fallen or submerged treetops and brush have proved to be most successful. Both the Watauga side as well as the Holston end has good crappie fishing now.

MELTON HILL RESERVOIR: (5/31/07) -
WATER CONDITIONS:
The water level at the dam is about 740 ft. There are lots of sticks but, most of the big debris has been washed downstream. The surface temperatures are in the low 80's in the main part of the lake. The water is clear with a slight green tint and still some pollen laying on the surface.

SUMMARY:
The water is very warm already with temperatures in the 80's and lots of sun and heat predicted for the next couple days. This usually means fishing deeper and also looking for shady spots, where the water may be a little cooler. Night fishing is another option. The fish seem to prefer the dark of night when the water gets as warm as it is now. Watch the lunar schedule for peak times. Evening and early morning are the best times to beat the heat.

BLUEGILL
Good.
3 to 10 feet.

The bluegill are really hitting good right now, and crickets are one of the best baits for them. Around just about any fallen timber or brush piles you can find some bluegills, but you may have to fish a little deeper to find the bigger ones. The best setup for bluegills is the slip bobber, because you can quickly adjust to the right depth and stay there.

LARGEMOUTH AND SPOTTED BASS
Good.
5 to 20 feet.
The bass are still hitting just about anything you throw at them. The shaky head worm in watermelon seed color is working really well right now. Crankbaits are doing fairly well, along with spinnerbaits in brighter colors like white and chartreuse. Crankbaits in shad imitating colors and even crawdad colors such as brown and orange are doing fairly well right now. The wacky worm is doing pretty well right now. The french fry worm on the stand up jig head is hot now too. Primary and secondary points are always a good place to start when looking for bass.

SMALLMOUTH BASS
Improving.
5 to 25 feet.
Smallmouth are hitting fairly well just about all the same type places you find the largemouth. Minnows are working pretty well at the steam plant in the churning water up next to the plant. Also, try the shallow flats with stumps and rocks. Don't forget to try the shallow humps that are next to deep water. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are top choices along with small crawdad imitating jigs in crawdad colors, in the 3/8 to 1/2 oz. size.

CRAPPIE
Moderating.
3 to 10 feet.
The crappie seem to be slowing way down. There are still a few being caught up in Bull Run Creek and a few other creeks, but they are getting harder to catch. Try floats with minnows or little jigs tipped with minnows. Downed timber and brush still seem to be holding a few.

MUSKY
Moderating.
5 to 15 feet.

It looks like the muskys have gone on the search for cooler water. There have been hardly any sightings at the steam plant for a little while now

CATFISH
Improving.
4 to 10 feet.

Some nice catfish have moved into the steam plant and are hitting on cutbait shad. Tear the heads off and put the bodies on your hook with a little bit of weight, cast it out into the rushing water at the steam plant and hang on.

TELLICO RESERVOIR: (5/31/07) -
WATER CONDITIONS:

The water level at the dam is about 813.0 ft. The lake is clear with a slight green tint. Surface temperatures have risen and are averaging in the low to mid 80's. The next couple days are expected hot and dry, with a chance of some rain toward the weekend.

SUMMARY:
Fishing seems to be a little slow right now, but is expected to improve. The little bass are hitting plastic worms and jig and pig fairly well. The bluegills are hitting crickets pretty good. The catfish are hitting worms, chicken livers, cut bait, live bluegills, hot dogs soaked in garlic, shrimp. The crappie have slowed way down along with the striped bass. The walleye and sauger are hitting fairly well but, mostly at night. Early morning or evening are good times to beat the heat and try to catch a mess of fish to eat.

CRAPPIE
Moderating.
5 to 25 feet.

The crappie bite has slowed way down, but you can still catch a few here and there. You may have to fish a little deeper to find any keeper crappie. Crappie seem to like the water to be a little cooler, and are probably returning to deeper, cooler water until the surface temperatures come back to more comfortable levels, which will probably be about the time fall rolls back around.

LARGEMOUTH AND SPOTTED BASS
Improving.
3 to 12 feet.

Bass have become very active, and the wacky worm is doing very well right now. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are starting to take a few along with small jigs in watermelon or crawdad imitating colors, fished around the rocks and rocky banks. Live shiners are another good bait for some bigger bass around deep rocky points. Some good fish are being taken on the shaky head worm in watermelon color. They seem to be hitting anything you want to use.

SMALLMOUTH BASS
Moderating.
5 to 12 feet.

Smallmouth are starting to become more active around the rocky points and also on the rocky banks, and around the submerged timber. Crankbaits seem to be the bait of choice right now for some good smallmouth. 3/8 to1/2 oz. jigs in watermelon color are a good choice right now. Shad raps painted in crawdad colors seem to be taking quite a few nice sized smallmouth.

WALLEYE AND SAUGER
Improving.
12 to 20 feet.

The walleye have started to bite, but have not fully moved in yet. Nightcrawler harnesses are starting to take a few here and there, but they are still scattered. They should start to school up pretty soon, which makes them easier to locate and catch. Remember, only 1 walleye may be 24 inches or larger. The rest have to be under 24" but over 15".

BLUEGILL
Good.
3 to 20 feet.

The bluegill are hitting good right now, nightcrawlers and crickets are two good baits to try for some of these scrappy little pan fish. And, just about anywhere you find some downed timber or brush, you can find some bluegill. They also seem to be drawn to shady places where the water tends to be little cooler.


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