Watch The Video, This Week Nathan Talks To Us About Tube Bait & Tube Rattles.
The water level is still falling with surface temperatures at 79 degrees. The water has a light stain color.
Bass are active early morning and at nighttime hours. Fish with crank baits, jigs, jerk baits, or plastic worms. Fish 1 to 20 feet deep.
Crappie can be found in the areas of Muddy Creek, Point 6 to Point 8, and around Indian and Nina creeks. Most are being caught trolling with small crank baits, yellow, green, or pink flies, and live minnows. Fish at different depths.
Bluegill fishing is fair. Fish the shady areas.
Catfish are still biting. Fish creeks, rocky bluffs, and rocky banks with night crawlers, shad, or chicken livers.
A few walleye are being caught from Leadvale on up to the forks of the river. Fish with minnow, night crawlers, and rooster tail jigs close to the bottom.
The water surface temperatures have been in the low 80's at 7 a.m. in the mornings this week. The lake clarity is fairly clear now. The lake level at the dam as of 5:00 a.m. Thursday morning was 1,381.64 feet above sea level.
Bass fishing has been fairly slow during the day but decent at night. 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 10:00-3:00 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 been producing some decent stringers lately..
Both the striper and hybrid action has been fair. 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.
Crappie fishing is good if the fish can be located. 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 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 Lake:
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. When the dam at Norris lake is open, the water temperature from there down to about the Bull Run steam plant can get down around 50 degrees. From there down it climbs back up into the high 70's to near 80 degrees.
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 artificial. No real big changes from last week. Catfish are very active still. Everything else is a little slow. Night fishing is probably your best bet right now. At least until it is a little cooler.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Cutbait 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.
The water elevation is 1,012.7-feet, a drop of 1.6-feet since last week. The lake level is predicted to drop an additional 9.6-inches over the next two days. Water surface temperatures have warmed slightly since last week's readings. In most locations across the lake, morning surface temperatures have been 79-82 degrees; afternoon temperatures have been as high as 85 in mid channel and as high as 87 in protected coves. The lake is clear in all locations. The first water quality readings, provided by TWRA's Reservoir Data Collection team, are available at www.tnfish.org. In the left-hand column, click on "water quality." In the next window, click "Norris." Anglers can print out charts and tables which show water temperature, dissolved oxygen (DO), conductivity, and pH from the surface to 98 feet. Readings were taken at four locations. In all locations, DO was good at all depths with the exception of water deeper than 66 feet at Flat Hollow Marina.
Many fish have been caught at about the 20 to 25-foot depth range from Black Fox Creek to the Anderson County Park vicinity. At Anderson County Park, temperature and DO readings at that depth are 72 degrees with 10 parts per million of DO, both very comfortable for most game fish, especially walleye. Night fishing for STRIPED BASS improved on the lower end of the lake, in the Cove Creek and Big Creek areas. SMALLMOUTH BASS slowed with the summer heat; the best chance of catching smallmouth is after dark and just before dawn. LARGEMOUTH BASS are hitting large plastic worms or lizards near rock or wood structure. SPOTTED BASS improved on the main channels during the drawdown periods. CRAPPIE fishing is best at night, under lantern or floating light, or at the break of day. WALLEYE are still slow. The best depth is where the water temperature is between 68 and 75 degrees; refer to the oxygen/temperature charts to determine that depth in your part of the lake.
Fair. 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.
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.
Moderate. Surface to 20 feet. Cove Creek, from Point 2 to the powerline crossing at Cove Norris has been the most active area. Bear Hole Bend and the channel from Cunningham Cove to Stardust Marina have produced some good fish. 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. 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/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 a.m. Surface to 10 feet. Near wood structure, shallow, whether on rocky main channels or in the hollows. Daytime anglers have caught nice largemouth bass as deep as 25 feet on shad-colored crankbaits.
3/8 ounce pig 'n jigs or Texas-rigged ripple tail plastic worms (in Zoom's Red Shad and Red Bug colors) 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.
Fair during night hours or just before daylight; slow after sunrise.
Some caught at dusk. Same pattern. 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.
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 Lake:
The water surface temperature was 84 degrees at noon on Wednesday. The lake clarity is extremely clear. The lake level at the dam as of 5:00 a.m. Thursday morning was 1,715.71 feet above sea level.
Bass fishing has been fairly slow. Smallmouth fishing is good 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.
The water level at the dam is about 812.0 ft. The lake is clear with a slight green tint. The rains have slowed down again, and that causes the water temperatures to climb. The surface temperatures are back up to about 80 degrees. And that causes the fish to look for cooler, more oxygenated water, which will be a little deeper.
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.
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, for the bigger numbers of crappie, and the larger fish.
LARGEMOUTH AND SPOTTED BASS
Improving, 3 to 12 feet.
Bass have slowed down a bit but, the shaky head worm is still doing very well. 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. Docks and boathouses hold some decent fish this time of year.
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 toward Chilhowee Dam are a good place to start looking for some nice walleye or sauger.
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.
Good, 5 to 30 feet.
This is one of the best times of the year to catch some catfish. Just about any good catfish bait will work right now, including hot dogs, gobs of night crawlers, live bluegills, cutbait, or whatever your favorite cat bait is, now is a good time to try for some. Jug fishing is catching some pretty good cats right now, along with limblines and trotlines.