Fishing Tips With Nathan Mountain

July 4, 2007

(Click on the above video link to see this week's Sports Overtime Fishing Tip of the Week with Nathan Mountain.)

EAST TENNESSEE FISHING REPORT

DOUGLAS RESERVOIR: (6/28/07) -
WATER CONDITIONS:
The water level is falling with surface temperatures reaching the mid-80's on sunny days. The water is murky colored on the main parts and muddy on the upper end due to heavy rains.

SUMMARY:
Bass fishing is best in early morning and nighttime. Fish rocky points, flats, or humps with topwater lures, sassy shads, and plastic worms. Some bigger bass reported caught with deep running crank baits 20 to 30 feet deep along drop off areas.

Crappie are active at times. Fish creek and locations from Point 5 to Point 7, and Point 12 to Point 18. Most are being caught 15 feet deep with minnows, jigs, and small crankbaits.

Bluegill can be found any where there are rock structure and shady areas.

Catfishing is good around rocky areas and creek channels. Fish with shad, night crawlers, or cut bait.

There is a lot of debris coming down the lake to recent rains on the headwaters. Use caution while boating.

NORRIS RESERVOIR: (6/28/07) -
WATER CONDITIONS:
The water elevation is 1,014.3-feet, a drop of 1.1-feet since last week. The lake level is predicted to drop an additional 7-inches over the next two days.

Water surface temperatures have been fairly stable for the past month or so. Morning surface temperatures have been about 76 degrees, the temperature rising as high as 80 to 82 degrees by late afternoon. The lake is clear in all locations.

SUMMARY:
Hot, dry weather persists. The best fishing is at the break of day, or in the hour or two before dark, and at night. Because of the drought, the lake water is clear, with the bottom visible as deep as 8 or 10 feet in some locations. Small diameter line in a low visibility coloration is recommended for daytime fishing. There has been little change in the fishing pattern in the past two or three weeks. The drawdown has resulted in baitfish schooling in mid-channel on the lower half of the lake.

STRIPED BASS fishing has been best in late evening and through the night. SMALLMOUTH BASS anglers are having the best luck at night, or at dawn along rocky banks. Some of the better catches have come from walleye anglers fishing with shad at night. LARGEMOUTH and SPOTTED BASS slowed with the summer heat, hitting in the early morning hours or at night. CRAPPIE fishing is slow, limited mainly to night, under lantern or floating light, or at the break of day. WALLEYE are still slow in the daytime; but improved since last week for night fishermen. The most common depth for locating these fish in the daytime, right now, is from 20 to 25 feet.

WALLEYE
Fair at night, slow during daylight. No change in the pattern.
20 to 25 feet deep, on the bottom, for daytime trolling. 25 to 30 feet has been the most common depth to anchor for night anglers. Spinner/nightcrawler rigs (Hildebrant # 3.5 or 4 blade, brass color has worked well); Jet Lure/nightcrawler rigs trolled along the bottom and near the bank or on mid-lake humps if the depth is right. Jigging Mann O'Lures or Hopkins spoons on humps or secondary points is working for those few who are trying it during the daytime. For daylight trolling, target mud lines along the steeper rocky banks where there is timber cover 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.

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. Mill Creek and Big Ridge Hollow vicinity had some nice catches even in mid-day in deep brush.

STRIPED BASS
Fair, but improving.
Surface to 20 feet.
Live shad or alewife driftlined or shallower on planer boards. Or tightline bait to depth where schooling shad and stripers are located. Night trolling is working for some. Walleye anglers are catching some striped bass at night on shad. Cove Creek, near Cove Norris, had good surface breaks at mid-day. Point 19 to Cunningham Cove had some surface action, but the fish appeared to be small. Lost Creek was slow. 1/2-ounce to 1-ounce white hair jigs or Slug-go's or Bass Assassins cast or trolled into shad schools where fish are feeding, or shad/alewife driftlined or tightlined at depth in mid-day. Night, early morning and the hour before sunset have been the best times.

LARGEMOUTH & SPOTTED BASS
Good at dusk and before 8:00 a.m.
Surface to 10 feet.
Near wood structure, shallow, whether on rocky main channels or in the hollows. Some nice catches have come from rocky banks where there are dropoffs into water 19 to 15 feet deep. 3/8 ounce pig 'n jigs or Texas-rigged ripple tail plastic worms cast to dropoffs and walked down to depths of 15 to 20 feet. Jerk baits (Rapalas, and similar plugs), Bass Assassins, small plastic worms as well as topwater plugs continue to produce fish. 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. Some anglers are getting nice fish on plastic worms as large as 7 or 9 inches.

SMALLMOUTH BASS
Fair during night hours or just before daylight; slow after sunrise.
Some caught at dusk.
10 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. 5 to 10 feet at earliest light, on small pig'n jigs, suspending jerk baits (shad color) or spinners cast to broken rock, moderately sloped banks with wood structure (downed trees, mostly). Topwater plugs improved since last week, but only at the first break of day. 3/8 ounce brown-on-brown pig'n jigs or small brown or dark green Slider/Finesse worms slowed. 3-inch Salty Tube Jigs in the darker green colors are getting some hits on Carolina rigs where there are flats leading to deeper water, or on Texas rigs on the rocky ledges on the main channels.

BLUEGILL
Good.
Fish crickets or wax worms as deep as 25 feet, on steep, broken rocky banks where there is shade. Popping bugs at dawn along rocky banks are getting good fish until the sun gets up. For larger fish, tightline crickets, or cast them without bobber to the shady, steep, rocky banks near downed timber. Nightcrawlers as bait are a poor second choice.

SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR: (6/28/07) -
WATER CONDITIONS:
The water surface temperatures have been in the low 80's this week at sunrise. The lake clarity is extremely clear. The lake level at the dam, as of 7:00 a.m. Thursday morning, was 1,716.68 feet above sea level.

SUMMARY:
Bass fishing has slowed down right now. Smallmouth fishing is fair though, if the fish can be found. Topwater fishing has slowed down in the past week or so, but some have been found early in the mornings along Observation Knob ramp area on buzz bait and poppers. The lower end of the lake seems to be better right now with fish being caught in the Riddle Creek, Point 3, Point 4 areas. Smallmouth can be found along points, rocks, and humps in 5 to 20 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. The only noticeable Largemouth bass action seems to be in the Big Jacobs Creek area right now.

Walleye have also slowed down some. What is being taken seems to be on mid-lake humps or around the islands below the 421 ramp early in the morning to mid-day. Point 4 has been seeing some action in the afternoons. Most of the fishing being done is by trolling worm/spinner rigs and Rapalas. Fish are being found about 20-25 feet down in most places. Some action can also be found from Painter Creek Marina to the Virginia State line.

Crappie fishing has slowed down. 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 majority of the crappies seem to be suspended now. Trolling a small crankbait can help pick up the suspended crappie when fishing gets slow.

Trout fishing has been fair on cloudy mornings. 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. Trolling in 15-25 feet of water has been the most effective around the dam and into Riddle Creek.

BOONE RESERVOIR: (6/28/07) -
WATER CONDITIONS:
The water surface temperatures have been in the low 80's at 7:00 a.m. in the mornings this week. The lake clarity is fairly clear now. The lake level at the dam, as of 7:00 a.m. Thursday morning, was 1,381.93 feet above sea level.

SUMMARY:
Bass fishing has been better during the days this week than in weeks past, but a little slower at nights. The early mornings continue to best time during the day, the earlier the better. The fishing really seems to slow down by midday when the sun gets hot. The largemouth bass are what most anglers are catching early in the mornings while the smallmouth seem to be hitting better at night. You can find the early morning bass around any woody cover or up shallow on flats. The best method working right now is to fish topwater lures (especially a buzzbait), spinnerbaits, or small crankbaits from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m. shallow, then by 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. fish jigs or spoons a little deeper in shady bluffs or drop offs. The Watauga side seems to be better in the mornings, especially for the largemouth, while the Holston side seems to be a better fishery at night. Plastic worms or lizards fished Carolina rigged has also produced a few fish Wednesday during the day.

Both the striper and hybrid action was slow this week. You really need to locate some schools of shad or watch the gulls to find the bigger fish. The most success finding the big stripers continues to come from the Holston end with the Austin Springs Bridge area producing a couple on the Watauga end. Trolling shad, or using Red Fins and Zara Spooks is the most successful way to pick up the quality fish, with chicken livers catching decent numbers of hybrids. Bass fishermen also report taking a couple on Rattle-traps off shallow flats the last couple of weeks.

Not much was reported on crappie fishing this week. Most of the crappie seem to be moved out deeper, suspended, chasing schools of shad right now. This makes trolling your most effective tool for catching good numbers of fish. A few have still been taken out of the brush, especially early in the mornings, but not like it was the last month or so. The Holston side at Beaverdam Creek and Boones Creek on the Watauga end seems to be the only good spots right now. The ones caught out of the treetops were by small 1/16 oz. jig heads with chartreuse or green grubs, and sometimes tipping the jig with a minnow fished in about 8-10 feet of water. Trolling on either end of the lake with jigs or small crankbaits has been the most effective way for the suspended fish.

MELTON HILL RESERVOIR: (6/28/07) -
WATER CONDITIONS:
The water level at the dam is about 740 ft. There does seem to be a lot of debris here and there, and it is mostly small stuff. It seems to be most noticeable when the dam is opened at Norris, which also sends the cooler water down. The cooler water also seems to activate the fish. From the dam all the way to Bull Run Creek the water surface temperature is around 80 degrees, but the water cools all the way down to between 45 and 55 from there up. That is, when the dam is open from Norris Lake.

SUMMARY:
The water is still warm but, is a little cooler from the rains. This seems to have caused the fish to be more active. Fish are being caught over the entire lake, but mostly around rocky banks and points. All types of baits are working well right now including live bait and artificials. No real big changes from last week. Catfish are very active still. Everything else a little slow. Night fishing is probably your best bet right now. At least until it is a little cooler.

BLUEGILL
Good.
3 to 10 feet.
The bluegills 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, also around boat houses, 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 hitting better right now, thanks to the recent rains cooling everything down. The shaky head worm and the French fry worm in watermelon seed and baby bass colors are doing very well right now. Spinnerbaits in bright colors like white and chartreuse are also doing very good. Black and blue, or black and brown jig and pig is also a good choice right now. Rocky points and secondary points are a good place to start looking for some bigger bass to be waiting to ambush a spinnerbait or crankbait or whatever you decide to throw at them.

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. And, not many musky anglers around either.

CATFISH
Improving.
4 to 10 feet.
Some nice catfish are being caught all over the lake, and just about any kind of catfish bait you want to use is working well. Cut bait is a good choice, but other baits are catching too. Nightcrawlers, garlic flavored hot dog pieces, shrimp, and shad are good choices. Catalpa worms should be here soon, so keep an eye out for them. They work great.

TELLICO RESERVOIR: (6/28/07) -
WATER CONDITIONS:
The water level at the dam is about 813.0 ft. The lake is clear with a slight green tint. The rain has finally gotten here, and is helping to bring the water temperatures down a little. Most of the creeks and rivers are a little muddy from the rains. The surface temperatures have come down some and are holding in the mid to upper 70's.

SUMMARY:
The rain seems to have helped somewhat, and caused the fish to be more active. The bass are hitting soft plastics and crankbaits very 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. Night fishing is in full swing right now. It is cooler and the lake is more calm after dark.

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. Trolling is producing some good numbers, on flies and grubs.

LARGEMOUTH AND SPOTTED BASS
Improving.
3 to 12 feet.
Bass have slowed down a bit but, the shaky head worm is doing very well right now. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are still doing fairly well right now. Jig and pig in crawdad colors is doing fairly well also. Plastic lizards and worms in watermelon seed and green pumpkin colors are top choices. You may have to fish a little deeper to find the bigger fish. Shady points and shady banks are a good place to start. Look for cooler water with some structure, and don't be afraid to fish deep. Night fishing is the ticket right now.

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. Shad raps are always a good choice for smallmouth. Jig and pig in 3/8 to 1/2 oz. size in watermelon seed color is good choice.

WALLEYE AND SAUGER
Improving.
12 to 20 feet.
The walleye have started to bite pretty well, but mostly at night. Remember, only 1 walleye may be 24" or larger. The rest have to be less than 24" but over 15". The submerged islands just out from the Toqua boat ramp is a good place to start looking for some nice walleye or sauger.

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, like boat houses and bridges.


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