Fishing Tips With Nathan Mountain


July 18, 2007

East Tennessee Fishing Report

DOUGLAS RESERVOIR: (7/12/07) -
WATER CONDITIONS:
The water level is still falling with surface temperatures at 79 degrees. The water has a light murky color.

SUMMARY:
Bass are being caught mostly at night. Fish flats, points, humps, and coves with pumpkin lizards, niddle worms, rat-l-traps, or spinner baits. Fish 1 to 20 feet deep.

A few walleye are being caught from Walter's Bridge on up to the forks of the river. Fish close to the bottom with night crawlers or rooster tail jigs.

Crappie can be caught trolling the river and creek channels. Use small crank baits and purple or green flies fished 10 to 25 feet deep; early morning or late evening are the most productive times.

Bluegill fishing is fair.

White bass are breaking about anywhere the bait fish are on the surface. Most are on the small size. Fish with small silver spoons, jigs, or minnows.

Catfishing is best at night. Fish rocky banks or bluffs with night crawlers.

NORRIS RESERVOIR: (7/12/07) -
WATER CONDITIONS:
The water elevation is 1,010.6-feet, a drop of 2.1-feet since last week. The lake level is predicted to drop an additional 6-inches over the next two days. Since May 23, the lake level has dropped 9.1-feet. Water surface temperatures are in the low 80's in the early morning hours, rising to as high as 88 degrees in protected locations by late afternoon. The lake is clear in all locations. 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.

SUMMARY:
The summer heat and high boat traffic are hindering catches on the weekends and during daylight during the week. Most catches are coming after dark or at the break of day.

Night fishing for STRIPED BASS was pretty good between Point 19 and Point 9, and on Cove Creek. The drawdown is helping put a current in the channels, helping striped bass fishing.

SMALLMOUTH BASS catches are slow. The best chances are at night.

LARGEMOUTH BASS and SPOTTED BASS slowed during the past week with anglers resorting to casting every imaginable lure to get a bite. 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.

WALLEYE
Slow.
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. Where there is a mudline against the shore, the 19 foot depth has worked. 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. No change.
Five-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
Moderate.
Surface to 20 feet.

Cove Creek catches have been made from Cove Norris down to Point 2. 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
Moderate. Better at dawn or at night.
Surface to 10 feet

Near wood structure, shallow, whether on rocky main channels or in the hollows. Crankbait catches slowed; small pig'n jigs caught a few more. 3/8 ounce pig 'n jigs or Texas-rigged ripple tail plastic worms (in Zoom's Red Shad and Red Bug colors) caught some, but not as many as in past weeks. 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
Slow.
Some caught at dusk, but best at night. 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 drop-offs 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: (7/12/07) -
WATER CONDITIONS:
The water surface temperatures have been in the low 80's at 8:00 a.m. this week. The lake clarity is extremely clear. The lake level at the dam as of 6:00 a.m. Thursday morning was 1,714.60 feet above sea level.

SUMMARY:
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, and 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: (7/12/07) -
WATER CONDITIONS:
The water surface temperatures have been in the low to mid 80's at noon this week. The lake clarity is fairly clear now. The lake level at the dam as of 6:00 a.m. Thursday morning was 1,381.73 feet above sea level.

SUMMARY:
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 RESERVOIR: (7/12/07) -
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. 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 nearly 80 degrees.

SUMMARY:
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 bait. No real big changes from last week. Catfish are still very active. Everything else is a little slow. Night fishing is probably your best bet right now. At least until it is a little cooler. The cooler water coming down from Norris dam seems to help the fishing all the way down to at least Bull Run Creek on Melton Hill. The plume of cool water can be tracked down past the steam plant if your depth finder shows temp.

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 bluegill 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.

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: (7/12/07) -
WATER CONDITIONS:
The water level at the dam is about 812.0 ft. The lake is clear with a slight green tint. We were very fortunate this week to receive the rain that we did. This rain will help cool the water back down a little, which should cause the fish to start biting a little better. The surface temperature was 78-80 degrees in most places on the lake. The rain will knock it back to about the mid 70's.

SUMMARY:
The catfish are biting just about everywhere on the lake, and they are biting everything, from hotdog chunks soaked in garlic salt to chicken livers and cut bait, and just about any other catfish bait you care to try. The bass are still a little slow, the rain we received on Wednesday should help the bass and all the other game fish bite a little better. The crappie have been hitting fairly well around the Notchy Creek area. Trolling and still fishing are both producing some nice stingers of fish. Bluegill are hitting good on crickets. Boathouses are good place to start looking for them.

CRAPPIE
Improving.
5 to 25 feet.
The crappie bite has picked back up somewhat, and there have been some limits caught around the Notchy Creek area. They seem to be back in the brush piles where some decent fish have been caught. But, there have also been some limits caught while trolling. Two tone grubs in black with clear sparkle tail, and chartreuse with white tail are two good choices. Tipped with minnow or not, they seem to be the top producers.

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.

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 toward Chilhowee Dam are 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.

CATFISH
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, cut bait, or whatever your favorite catfish 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.


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