TWRA Weekly Fishing Forecast

TWRA Weekly Fishing Forecast

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Boone Reservoir – 5-9-23

Forecast Contributor – Richard Markland, Region 4 Fisheries Technician

Reservoir Conditions– Reservoir elevation is 1381.66. The water temperature is 69* degrees. Water clarity 10-15’ visibility.

Bass– Fishing is good. Largemouth, Spots and Smallmouth are being caught on crankbaits or small shad like baits, spinnerbaits, plastic worms, creature baits, jigs by fishing along rocky banks/bluffs or trees or around docks.

Crappie– Fishing is good. Crappie are being caught on deep structures in creek channels and back of creeks. Anglers are using minnows or Bobby Garland baits on treetops. Target structure in the 8’- 25’ range in mid-creek back to shallower water.

Striped Bass/Hybrid Bass– Fishing is fair. Most of the fish are being caught around Misty Waters, Candy Creek area on Holston side and Deerlick area on Watauga side casting spoons, shad type baits. Some has been caught on topwater back in the creeks, starting to see some topwater action in the evenings.

Chickamauga Lake – 5-17-23

Forecast Contributor – Billy Wheat, Follow on Facebook – and 

Bass are starting to show up on the offshore ledges pretty good. Electronics are key in this situation looking for irregular features in the ledges are key but takes time if you’re willing to put that time in it can definitely pay off. The Carolina Rig and Big Standup Shakey head are for the slower presentation but if you find a school that Big Daddy’s Baits Hair jig is phenomenal to fire them up. Swimbaits and big Crankbaits are premium when you get them fired up. The other deal is the grass and lay downs for the grass it’s hard beat the Swim Jig and Chatterbait and with the grass being low in the water column now you can even throw shallow Crankbaits over it. The lay down trees are Texas Rig Worms and Jigs. Water temperature is 80.5 -78 and the lake is Full Pool.

Dale Hollow

Dale Hollow – 5-17-23

Forecast Contributor – Will Schibig, Region III Creel Clerk.

Reservoir Conditions-

Water elevation is 648.4’. Dale Hollow Dam is currently averaging 300 cfs per day. Water temperature averages between 70-76 degrees. The coolest waters can be found on the lower end and the warmest in the Wolf River. Water clarity averages 8-12’ of visibility.

Bass- Fishing is good. The majority of the bass have left the shallow water and is in transition to their deep-water patterns. Points or bluff walls with shade are some of the last holdouts for shallow smallmouth. Fisherman are catching fish in these areas with bottom contact baits like ned rigs, tubes, or jigs in 5-25 FOW. Both species can be caught in offshore grass beds with soft plastics, hair jigs or swimbaits over the top. Anglers are back on the front-facing sonar picking off suspended largemouth with flutter spoons, Damiki rigs, and jerk baits. These suspended fish are in creek channels, points, or over grass.

Bluegill & Redear– Fishing is great. Sunfish can be found on bed throughout the reservoir. They are typically found with a gravel bottom in 1-8 FOW. You can find beds on main lake banks, backs of creeks, or in offshore grass humps. Anglers are catching their slabs on nightcrawlers on a “drop-shot style” rig on the bottom.

Catfish- Fishing is great. Catfish are being caught shallow in creeks on nightcrawlers by pan fisherman. Anglers targeting catfish have been most successful with limb lines and jugs tipped with nightcrawlers and minnows.

Crappie- Fishing is poor. Some crappie are being caught around grass on the mid lake. As the fish move to their summer patterns in deep water, they will be easier to catch. But for now, target grass and laydowns on the mid to upper reservoir in 8-20 FOW.

Douglas Lake – 5-11-23

Forecast Contributor Brad Burkhart –  Follow on Facebook

Love is in the air in more ways than one. The fish are definitely in a spawning mood, but with that being said…. there are several already well into the post spawn phase of the year as well.

If you want to have fun…’s the deal, and it’s so easy.

It’s all about cover, trees, bushes, grass, docks…..anything in the water. These are the areas where you start. The bait choice is easy as they will bite about anything at any one time. My favorite is a bass pro shops stick-o in watermelon/red flake. Rig it wacky and skip it close to any of the cover and hold on. The secret to working a stick-o or Senko as commonly referred to is SLOW. Let the bait fish itself. Oh yeah, they’ll eat a buzz bait too really good of the morning due to the Shad spawn.

Good luck and God Bless

Brad Burkhart – @bradburkhartprofishing

Fall Creek Falls – 5-17-23

Forecast Contributor – Region 3 Fisheries Staff.

Lake Conditions– Lake is being maintained at typical summer pool. Surface water temperature is in the low 70s and water clarity is about 10 feet.  Ten automatic fish feeders are currently in use from the dam to the lakeside cabins and boat dock.

Largemouth Bass:  Fishing is good.  Several bass are being caught using jerk baits, ned rigs, Sinkos, drop-shot lures as well as weedless

Fall Creek Falls

Zoom craws working slow along the bottom. Most bass are being caught near the bank along structure and near spawning beds and average 12-14 inches, but a few 20+ inch bass are also being reported.  Daily bass creel limit is 10 fish per day and only 1 (one) over 16 inches may be harvested.

Bluegill and Redear Sunfish:  Fishing is great.  Anglers are catching lots of Bluegill and Redear up to and over ten inches using redworms and some nightcrawlers.  Bluegill have moved up to beds and can be caught readily in these locations while the Redear spawn is well underway.  Daily Bluegill/Redear (in combination) creel limit is 10 per day, no length limit.

Catfish:  Fishing is good.  Channel Catfish are being caught using night crawlers, chicken livers, and hotdogs along the bank especially near the automatic fish feeders.  Anglers are having success using Carolina-style rigs early morning, evening, and through the night.  Daily catfish creel limit is 5 per day, 16-inch minimum length limit.

Crappie:  Fishing is fair.  While the Black Crappie spawn is mostly over, a few nice fish are still being caught near brush and artificial structure using small swim baits and minnows.  There is no creel or length limit on crappie at Fall Creek Falls Lake.

Hiwassee River – 5-18-23

Forecast Contributor – Justin Spaulding, Region 3 Trout Biologist.

River Conditions- Dry conditions across the valley have led to reduced flows at almost every reservoir as they try to fill up for the summer.  There have been several days where water temperatures have approached or exceeded 70 °F.  These periods of warmer water tend to be in the late afternoon and will make for a slow bite.  TVA has been providing a longer pulse with 2 generators in the middle of the day which has helped a lot to keep temperatures cooler.  Overall, the low water conditions make for great wading, but be sure to keep an eye on the rocks for rising water because releases are always subject to change.

Trout are stocked from the Powerhouse down to 411 on a rotational basis at least twice per month.

Trout- Despite the warmer water, fishing has been good. We are seeing folks with 30-50 fish days and hear about even better.  Trout are being caught consistently as far down as 411.  If you are not having luck at a spot, don’t hesitate to hop in the truck and try a new spot. We are stocking around 11 miles of tailwater and there are dozens of access areas.  The dry fly bite has been very strong with Isonychias and Sulphurs in size 12 or 14.  You’ll know when it’s time to be fishing a dry.  Otherwise, you will need streamers and nymphs.  Powerbait and worms are effective as ever for those that can keep them in the strike zone. Black and yellow spinners have been doing the trick.  In between pulses, seek out deep or flowing water.

Normandy Lake – 5-11-23

Forecast Contributor Captain Jake Davis – – Follow on Facebook

TVA has the water level sitting at 875.76 today and they are going to drop it back to 875.61 over the weekend by releasing 480CFS downstream.  Normandy continued producing some nice fish.  Crankbaits, Texas Rigs or Tightline Jigs have been our go to as the shad spawn starts.  We found several really nice bass using Crankbaits at the end of points in 3 to 8 feet of water.

Walleye can be caught trolling crankbaits or drifting minnows/crawler harnesses on flats and in the river.  I’m being told the Crappie are doing good, you can catch them around brush in the river and standing timber. Keep an eye on the habitat that TWRA and TN Bass Nation put out the last couple years Water temperatures range from 70 to 72 degrees.  Please wear your life vest all the time while on the water.  Give me a call to book your trip, Springtime fishing is the best on Normandy…  Capt. Jake 615-613-2382 or

Norris Lake – 5-16-23

Forecast Contributor – Paul Shaw, Norris Creel Clerk.

Water Temp Surface temperatures warmed considerably since last week, across the reservoir. Afternoon surface temperatures were 78-80 from Norris Dam to Davis Creek and Loyston Sea.  Protected heads of some of the creeks were a few degrees warmer on sunny afternoons.

Water Clarity: 4 to 6 feet, good color. Torrential rainstorms passed through this afternoon; expect some creeks to be running in with color.

Water Elevation: 1,015.5 feet (midnight) The elevation has steady since last week. Check the free TVA Lake Info app for daily elevations, predictions, and flow rates.

Fishing Overview: Catches for most species remained the same since last week: slow to fair.

Largemouth Bass: Fair in coves where some are searching for spawning locations. Willow leaf spinners, jerk baits, medium runner crankbaits in the coves and near cover. Less than 10 feet early.

Smallmouth Bass: Fair.  Many are currently on the beds, but some catches indicate others are post-spawn fish. White gravel points and shorelines for spawning fish. Drop-offs and transition zone structure for post-spawn fish. Slow-rolled spinners are night on moderate sloped rock banks. Drop shot rigs as well as medium running crankbaits or soft jerk baits have taken some on the points and drop-offs.

Walleye: Slow upriver in the Clinch River shoals near Hwy 25E and Indian Creek. Post-spawn walleye are making their way back to the main body, but some resident fish are being caught in the river shoals on lead-head jigs tipped with plastic grubs. Main body catches are slow. The main body fish are not yet spawning. Night fishing catches are slow.

Shellcrackers: Fair. Good in the back of larger creeks next to fish attractor brush or downed timber. Mill Creek, Lost Creek, Poor Land Creek, some in Sycamore Creek.  Red worms, night crawlers, wax worms, small minnows, small spinners. Fish less than 10 feet deep, on the bottom near brush where they are spawning.

Crappie: Moderate in the early morning hours in the head of the major creek embayments in brushy coves. Night catches are still pretty good in Sycamore Creek and the mouth of Little Sycamore Creek. The back of Lost Creek, the upper reaches of Cove Creek, and upper Davis Creek in the coves near the cemetery boat ramp. Use the standard fare: shiners or tuffy minnows tightlined to 10-15 feet near brush, Bobby Garland-type jigs under floats or tightlined in brush; Popeye jigs tipped with tuffy minnows.

Catfish: No catches have been seen.

Striped Bass: Fair upriver in shoal areas. Slow on the lower end of the lake. The Clinch River above Indian Creek saw slow action with little fishing pressure.  Use shad or alewife, umbrella rigs, or large swimbaits trolled near the islands around Hickory Star and in Lost Creek. Upper Cove Creek catches were fair; lower Cove Creek was slow. Look for stripers to be moving toward the headwaters of the larger creek embayments and upward to the headwaters of the Powell and Clinch rivers. These fish are moving upstream with the season.

NOTE – The TWRA wants to build a comprehensive report each week of the state’s lakes. If you do not see a report for your favorite lake and you are someone who can provide a report, please contact us at and provide us with your contact information.

Percy Priest

Percy Priest – 5-18-23

Forecast Contributor Brian Carper – – Follow on Facebook

The bass are finally moving out deeper on Percy Priest Lake. The water temperature starts in the mid-70s and today finished above 80°! The water clarity is almost back to normal with a little current while they still have 4″ to lower to summer pool.

Yesterday and today, we caught several bass on the upper end and mid lake in 8ft to 14ft. Rocky points and sand bars have been productive while throwing Texas rig magnum trick worms, chatter baits, crankbaits and Powerbait plum worms. The next several days we’ll see more bass moving out and starting to school up on humps, points and ledges in these depths. The entire lake will be in full effect for summer feeding.

For more information or Book your trip today at

Pickwick – 5-2-23

Forecast Contributor Tyler Finley – Follow on Facebook:

Shad spawn!!! The bass are shallow right now as they are still moving off of bed. They are being caught out of shallow grass where Shad are spawning. These fish can be caught on a white Chatterbait or any other bait fish imitating bait. Aside from Shad spawn fish can still be caught around shallow structure on a wacky rig and Texas rig. The fish are moving everyday so there’s no better time to be on the water then now. Look for Shad popping to top of the water or just go shallow and fish structure. Good luck!!

Tims Ford – 5-11-23

Forecast Contributor Captain Jake Davis – Follow on Facebook

Lake temperatures are between 69 and 71.5 degrees and the lake level climbed to 886.72 just under two foot below summer pool and projected to hit 887.26 over the weekend.  Our primary focus this week, was just outside the spawning flats and pea gravel banks with some wood.  Shad spawn was good this week which provided for some great top water action early. Sped Craw, Crankbait, spinnerbaits, and Jigs are a good place to start. We continued to catch a few fish spread out on secondary points and around brush piles.

Best lures have been Ned Rig, Tightline Mussel Crawler jigs tipped with Twin Tail grubs bite. Texas Rigged creature baits, produced as well.  Crappie slowed with most angler telling me they have moved to deep water docks, brush piles and treetops.  Stripe and rock fish are still can be found off points, on river channel bends with bucktail jigs, swimbaits, and live bait.  Please wear your life vest all the time while on the water and watch for floating logs as the water rises… Give me a call to book your trip, Spring and early summertime fishing is the best on Tim’s…  Capt. Jake 615-613-2382 or

Watts Bar Reservoir – May 12th – May 15th, 2023

Forecast Contributor – Nathan Rogers, Region III Creel Clerk

The weather was partly cloudy throughout the weekend with scattered thunderstorms impacting the lake in the afternoons. Temperatures were around lower 60’s at night and reaching around mid to lower 80’s during the day. Lake visibility was good until the heavier storms late in the weekend. Water temperatures have increased throughout the lake.  Water level is now at full summer pool.

Reservoir Conditions

Water Temp:

  • Creeks: 72.1 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Tennessee River: 77.4 degrees Fahrenheit

Water Clarity: Tennessee River channel 6.5 feet on May 13th 

Water Level: 741.4 feet

Water Flow: (as of May 15th)

  • Watts Bar Dam: ~8900 cfs
  • Melton Hill Dam: ~500 cfs
  • Fort Loudon Dam: ~4500 cfs

Species Specific Information

Bass: Fishing soft plastics still seems to be the angler’s choice. For example, Carolina rigs, Texas rigs, dropshots, and shaky heads with craws, lizards, and other soft plastics in around 7-15 feet. Others are also finding success with crankbaits on rock walls and near docks. Anglers are finding more success in areas with rocky banks and structure

Crappie: Fishing jigs/ Bobby Garlands and live minnows on deeper structure such as trees or brush. Trolling/ Spider rigging with minnows seemed to be the most successful technique. Some anglers are still finding success fishing deeper water with these same methods as well.

Catfish: Fishing creek channels or main river channel with cut bait. Anglers below the dam are fishing up against the dam and finding success. Some anglers were landing catfish fishing for crappie.

White bass: fishing jigs and live minnow. Mainly caught fishing for crappie using same techniques

Forecast Contributor Captain Wallace Sitzes – Follow on Facebook

That windy cold front really put a hurting on the fishing for a couple days.  Took a lot of those shallow bass and crappie and raked them right out into the deeper water where a lot of them didn’t want to feed. Fortunately, the warm sunny weather yesterday, today and over the next several days will make the fish MUCH more predictable and easier to pattern.

 I boated 7 good sized bass in the first hour yesterday on flukes and small trick worms. They weren’t on beds but were in pretty shallow water clinging close to docks and other shallow structure in the shade. A few of those fish inhaled the lure as soon as it hit the water.

A great majority of the crappie have bunched up in small schools and scattered literally all over the place.  Every drop off, creek bed, hump and cove inlet just have stacks of crappie on the move right now. Most of these fish are in about 25 – 40 feet of water hanging about 14 – 16 feet under the surface.  I would advise pushing or trolling baits until they cling back to the structure.

Catfish and striper have been sticking close to deep structure when we have good water flow and going into shallow structure or cruising sandbars when the water isn’t moving much. Dragging big deep diving crank baits works great for flatheads, blues and striper this time of year. Find a sand bar in about 20 – 25 feet of water and drag them just fast enough to make a little contact with the bottom.

Wilbur Tailwater – 5-9-23

Forecast Contributor – Richard Markland, Region 4 Fisheries Technician

Tailwater Conditions– Tailwaters elevation 1583.14. Avg discharge is 240 cfm. Water temperature is 40-46 degrees. Water clarity is clear top to bottom. The fishing conditions change throughout the length of the tailwaters with flow rates.

Trout– Fishing is good. The most productive areas are Wilbur Dam downstream to Hunter area, not a lot of big fish but if you are looking for numbers the upper end is the place to be. Trout are being caught using Rapalas, Night crawler, Rooster tails, Small Flies.

Woods Reservoir – 5-11-23

Forecast Contributor Captain Jake Davis – Follow on Facebook

Not much change here, Bass and Crappie all can be found along old grass edges and along the rip rap banks.  We found our better fish in 4 to 9 foot of water using Texas Rigged D-Bombs from Missile Baits and Tightline Mussel Crawler jigs tipped with Twin Tail grubs, Tightline Swim Jigs with Driftwood Swimbaits, soft plastics, spinnerbaits and A-Rigs.  A few have move to their summer haunts. Best numbers came on a shaky head rigged finesse worm.

Drifting/trolling with spider rigs for Crappie is picking up some nice slabs but you have to weed through the short fish. Water temperatures range from 68 to 69 degrees.   Please wear your life vest all the time while on the water… Give me a call to book your trip, Spring and Summer time fishing is the best on Woods…  Capt. Jake 615-613-2382 or

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