July 25, 2007
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East Tennessee Fishing Report
The water level is still falling with surface temperatures ranging from 77 to 82 degrees. The water is clear around the shorelines.
Bass are being caught mostly at night. They are most active after sunset. Fish the cove areas and flats with Carolina rigged pumpkin seed lizards, jerk baits, or spinner baits.
A few crappie are being caught early on jigs and minnows. Fish the creek and river channel. Trolling is best at 10 to 25 feet deep.
For catfish, try rocky bluffs and shorelines. Fish at different depths with night crawlers.
Bluegill are hanging around brush piles, especially in shady areas. Fish with crickets or small jigs.
NORRIS RESERVOIR: (7/19/07) -
The water elevation is 1,008.4-feet, a drop of 2.2-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 11.3-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. In the main channel, afternoon surface temperature readings have been close to 83 degrees. 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.
The periods of drawdown have resulted in many baitfish being in the channels. Striped bass and smallmouth bass have been seen breaking the surface, feeding on the baitfish in mid-channel in many locations across the reservoir. Otherwise, some catches of bass, bluegill and stripers have come from the 20 to 25 foot depth. But, fishing has been slow, overall, with few anglers out during the hot, daylight hours.
STRIPED BASS are still hitting best at dusk and at night, but a fair number of smaller striped bass have been caught during the day. SMALLMOUTH BASS have been seen and caught while feeding on the surface in Loyston Sea and the channel between Points 19 and 9. LARGEMOUTH BASS were slow, but SPOTTED BASS catches improved. CRAPPIE fishing is best at night, under lantern or floating light, or at the break of day. WALLEYE are still slow. Night fishing brings the best chance for walleye. 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.
Slow. 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. 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.
Slow. No change.
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.
Surface to 25 feet.
The Loyston Sea to Lost Creek section has seen many surface breaks from smaller striped bass. Some have been caught on surface plugs or doll flies cast to the breaks. Night fishing on Cove Creek, from Cove Norris to Point 2, has produced some striped bass. 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
Slow for largemouth; moderate for spotted bass. Better at dawn or at night.
10 to 25 feet.
Near wood structure, shallow, whether on rocky main channels or in the hollows. If fishing deep, along rocky banks, live shad or shiners have been working. 3/8 ounce pig 'n jigs or Texas-rigged ripple tail plastic worms (in Zoom's Red Shad and Red Bug colors). 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.
Surface when breaking into shallow, main channel baitfish.
15 to 25 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. Small topwater plugs, jerk baits or doll flies cast into breaking fish. 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). 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.
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: (7/19/07) -
The water surface temperatures have been in the low 80’s at 8 a.m. this week. The lake clarity is extremely clear. The lake level at the dam as of 1:00 p.m. Thursday was 1,713.03 feet above sea level.
Bass fishing continues to be 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 fishing has been fairly slow. 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: (7/19/07) -
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 1:00 p.m. Thursday was 1,381.81 feet above sea level.
Bass fishing is not quite as good as the last couple of weeks, mostly due to all the rain and fronts moving through. The early mornings continue to be the best time during the day. The best catches seem to be coming right at sunrise to about 10:00 in the mornings. The fishing seems to really slow down during the hot part of the day. The largemouth bass are what most anglers are catching early in the mornings while the smallmouth seem to be hitting better at night. 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. Fishing plastic worms or tubes during the day is what is working the best. Cotton candy seems to be the hot color for the worm while a watermelon or pumpkinseed color has been doing well for the tubes. The tubes have been working well for picking up those fish that are a little deeper. Plastics are what practically everyone is primarily using, but crankbaits and small Rattletraps have also seen some success, as well as topwater lures first thing in the mornings. The pig-n-jig, spinnerbait, or a spoon would be the way to go at nights.
The striper and hybrid action has been fair. The hybrids have been hitting especially well with some good stripers also being found. The hottest spot the last few weeks has been Friday Hollow on the Watauga side. This is where the bulk of the hybrids have been taken. Misty Waters and in the bend at Davis Dock have also been producing good numbers on the Holston side. Trolling shad or Lure Jensen spoons is what is catching all the fish. Chicken livers would also be worth trying for hybrids if you’re looking for something a little different.
Crappie fishing is still slow, which is actually about normal for this time of year. Most of the Crappie seem to be moved out deeper, suspended, and chasing schools of shad right now. This makes trolling your most effective tool for catching good numbers of fish, but anglers are starting to find some in the treetops in the shady areas from early morning to midday. The Holston side at Beaverdam Creek and Boones Creek on the Watauga end seems to be holding some fish shallow now. The ones caught out of the treetops this week were by a small 1/16 or 1/32 jig head tipped 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: (7/19/07) -
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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: (7/19/07) -
The water level at the dam is about 812.0 ft. The lake is clear with a slight green tint. The rain we’ve received over the last couple of weeks helped cool the water down a couple of degrees. It is however, back on the rise again. With temperatures ranging from the mid to high 70’s over most of the lake. But you can find much cooler water up toward the Chilhowee Dam, when the dam is generating.
Everything is still about the same as last week. 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 this week 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. Bluegills are hitting good on crickets and nightcrawlers. Bluegills love shady places, so boathouses are good places to start looking for them.
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
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.
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
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.
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 boathouses and bridges.
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 cat bait is, now is a good time to try for some. Jug fishing is also catching some pretty good cats right now, along with limblines and trotlines.
WATTS BAR - (7/19/07) - The water temperature is near 80 degrees. Bass are being caught in the primary waters near humps and points. Any plastic worm rig will catch a few fish. Flats adjacent to the main channel are holding a few good bass. These fish seem to be caught most often by fishermen that are seeking a reaction strike. This means they are using lures that are fished fast. Catfish are being caught in the main channel on shad or chicken livers. Current is the biggest factor in the success of most fishing trips in the main channel. White bass are being caught on humps in the main channel. The white bass action has not been as consistent as normal. Roostertails are the primary lure most anglers choose to fish for white bass. Rockfish are being caught in all the tailwater areas. The numbers of fish being caught are lower than normal.
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