TWRA Weekly Fishing Forecast
TWRA Weekly Fishing Forecast
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 Ask.TWRA@tn.gov and provide us with your contact information.
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Boone Reservoir – 7-19-23
Forecast Contributor – Richard Markland, Region 4 Fisheries Technician
Reservoir Conditions– Reservoir elevation is 1382.28. The water temperature is 83* degrees. Water clarity 5’-10’ visibility.
Bass- Fishing is good. Largemouth, Spots and Smallmouth are being caught on deep crankbaits or small shad like baits, spinnerbaits, Ned rigs, plastic finesse worms, soft jerk baits, creature baits, jigs by fishing along rocky points, standing brush or around docks. Topwater early morning and late evening.
Crappie– No Report
Trout– No report
Striped Bass/Hybrid Bass– Fishing is good. Most of the fish are being caught around Davis Dock up to Bluff City area on Holston side and Watauga Flats area using spoons or trolling live shad or trout 20-30’. Some have been caught on topwater back in the creeks or on main channel, starting to see some topwater action in the evenings.
Sunfish– Fishing is good – Fishing from fishing piers at Wingdeer Park using crickets, worms.
Chickamauga Lake – 7-19-23
The good news is they are starting to chase really good the Topwater bite is fun around grass edges and on top of some of the shallower humps. The Spook and Pencil Popper type walking baits are great but sometimes they just want the old Pop-Rs. If you’re having trouble getting bit change to a jerk bait small in profile or a small Swimbait. The grass is great stay light stay big stay slow because they are some nice ones in that grass. That big worm is great! The bream colors in the swim jigs are starting to get hit pretty hard. The offshore fish depending on the current would be flutter spoons and Scroungers. Water temperature is 83-85. Water level is full.
Dale Hollow – 7-19-23
Forecast Contributor – Will Schibig, Region III Creel Clerk.
Lake elevation is slowly dropping to 645’ as Dale Hollow Dam is generating, on average, 1,500 cfs per day. Water clarity depends on boat traffic in the area but is around 8-12’ visibility. Surface water temperatures are very warm during the day, averaging 83-88 degrees. Deeper into the water column the cooler and more oxygen rich the environment is, this is why most fish can be found in 25-40 FOW. If you are releasing fish from 25’+, practice fizzing techniques to lower fish mortality. Be cautious of other boaters or floating debris during the day or night
Bass- Fishing is slow. Black bass can be caught during the day around grass beds, humps, or long gravel points between 20-30’ during the day on drop-shot, Ned rigs, or Carolina rigs. There is a small window during low light hours you can target roaming smallmouth with topwater spooks on channel banks around deep bait balls. You can find some largemouth shallow around brush on channel swing banks or backs of creeks, but these fish top out at about 3lbs.
Walleye– Fishing is good. Trolling seems to be the most popular type of fishing during the day. Trolling worm harness rigs around flats in 30’ that have either grass or near deep water seems to be the most popular with anglers. Targeting these same areas at night will give you a better shot at bites while trolling or fishing with lights.
Crappie-Fishing is slow. Crappie are still deep (~30’) on flats around cover or baitfish. If you can find the magic brush pile/grass bed paired with good electronics, you can get a few fish to bite. Reports are you can catch crappie around lights at night in these same areas.
Douglas Lake – 7-20-23
Forecast Contributor Brad Burkhart – Follow on Facebook
The offshore bite is still surprising very good. Although quality items are hard to come by. Pay close attention to the generation schedule as it definitely helps to group the bass where they’re easier to home in on.
The baits that have been producing best are Carolina rigged Zoom speed craw, a 3/4 oz football jig, and a 6” hollow body swimbait on a 1oz head. With all the pressure it’s best to locate the bass with forward facing sonar so you don’t spook them by riding them with down scan.
Stick to the main lake stuff that falls straight into the actual channel.
Hope this helps.
Good luck and God Bless
Fall Creek Falls – 7-12-23
Forecast Contributor – Region 3 Fisheries Staff.
Lake Conditions- Lake is being maintained at typical summer pool, but the lake is currently several inches low. Surface water temperature is 82-84°F and water clarity is 3 ft near the headwaters and 7 ft at the dam. Ten automatic fish feeders are currently in use from the dam to the lakeside cabins and boat dock. Threadfin Shad and Golden Shiners were recently stocked as forage.
Largemouth Bass: Fishing is fair. Some bass are being caught using wacky-rigged plastics along the edge of weed beds. Some 1–2-pound bass are being caught, but most are under 1 pound. The best bass bite has been early or late in the day, but overall has slowed down since the spring. Most folks targeting bass are catching around 1 per hour. 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 fair. Anglers are still catching some Bluegill and Redear, but the larger fish have moved out a little deeper. Try red worms, Catawba worms, or crickets in 8-15 ft of water. Daily Bluegill/Redear (in combination) creel limit is 10 per day, no length limit.
Catfish: Fishing is excellent. There have been lots of 5–8-pound catfish caught in the last several days. The monthly all-night fishing was slow. The morning bite has been on fire and the evening action has been steady and good. You need to be where the fish are, if you don’t get a bite in 15-30 minutes, try another spot. The feeders are a good spot to start, but people are still catching stringers on underwater flats and adjacent to the many ditches. Channel Catfish are being caught using chicken livers and Catawba worms. Daily catfish creel limit is 5 per day, 16-inch minimum length limit.
Crappie: Fishing is slow. Some small fish are still being caught near brush, artificial structure, and the boat dock using live bait and patience. Most crappie caught in the last few weeks have been 8-9 inches long. There is no creel or length limit on crappie at Fall Creek Falls Lake.
Hiwassee River below Appalachia Powerhouse – 7-19-23
Forecast Contributor- Tic Smith/Southeastern Anglers Guide Service
River Conditions – Fishing has slowed in the last week. Water temps vary from 63 degrees during generation to 70 degrees when there is no generation.
Water clarity – clear
Hatches and flies to use – BWO’s and Isonychias. Terrestrials and large nymphs are producing fairly well. Streamers such as wooly buggers are good especially on cloudy days.
Smallmouth and spotted bass can be caught on larger streamers and crawfish patterns.
Normandy Lake – 7-13-23
Normandy is producing some nice fish as well. Crankbaits, Texas Rigs or Tightline Jigs have been our go to as the shad spawn is starting again. 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 80 to 85 degrees. Please wear your life vest all the time while on the water. Capt. Jake 615-613-2382 or email@example.com
Norris Lake – 7-19-23
Forecast Contributor – Paul Shaw, Norris Creel Clerk.
Water Temp: 80-85
Water Clarity: 4 to 6 feet, good color. The upper end rivers are running in clear.
Water Elevation: 1,015.3 feet (midnight) The elevation has remained steady. Summer pool for the reservoir is 2020 feet (above sea level). The lower elevation has hindered fishing in shoreline vegetation, as is the norm for the summer months. Check the free TVA Lake Info app for daily elevations, predictions, and flow rates.
Summary: Summer fishing typically remains fairly constant with temporary changes when thunderstorms or rain events pass through. Daytime fishing on the weekends is usually a bust because of high boat traffic. However, if you can tolerate it, mudlines kicked up by the wave action can be good places to fish in a lake as clear as Norris.
Largemouth Bass: No change. Moderate to good. Early morning hours (before about 9 a.m.), dusk, and at night have been best. Productive lures have been soft swim baits at depths to 20 feet on steeper main channel shorelines, medium running crankbaits, Senkos, drop-shot rigs, green/pumpkin lizards or worms on Carolina rigs on the flats or Texas rigs on steeper, rocky banks. Early morning bites have hit Flukes, Senkos, small topwater plugs, and a few on buzz baits (standard summer fare).
Smallmouth Bass: Good. During daylight hours, 20 feet seems to be the magic daytime depth, whether for crankbaits, swim baits, or pig ’n jig types, Texas rigs on steeper, rocky banks. Drop-shots, soft swim baits, pig ‘n jig type rigs. Slow rolling with spinners dropped to 20 feet at night is good. During the daylight hours, look for suspended smallmouth at 20 feet, especially on bluebird days with a rising, or high barometer. Cloudy, breezy days have been best.
Walleye: Main body catches have improved. Night fishing with Mann O’Lures or spoons jigged under lights, or Shad Raps, or snagged shad/alewife cast to the shoreline are picking up some nice fish. Daylight trolling with Bill Normans or Redfins for suspended walleye can be pretty good where schools of alewife or shad are located. Keep the depth at about 25-30 feet on the lower end (Loyston to the Dam). Daylight bottom trolling with spinner/crawler rigs are picking up some, but it’s slow. Trolling plugs for suspended walleye has been the most productive method during the day.
Bluegill: Good. To 20 feet on steep, broken rock banks on crickets or on Beetle Spins or Rooster Tail spinners. Next week look for larger bluegill to begin moving into the flats around brush.
Shellcrackers: Fair in isolated areas 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. Less than 10 feet, on the bottom near brush.
Crappie: Good at night and in the early morning hours before the sun hits the water, in 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. Shiners or tuffy minnows tightlined to 10-15 feet near brush. Popeye jigs or Bobby Garlands are getting some at dawn in Sycamore Creek and Little Sycamore Creek.
Catfish: Fair. Those fishing for walleye with spinner/crawler rigs are getting more channel cats than walleye. Nightcrawlers on rocky banks or on flats off main channels late in the day. Flatheads are hitting on bluegill at night in the backs of hollows and on main channel, boulder shorelines, very close to the bank.
Striped Bass: Fair. The Loyston Sea area, the mouth of Lost Creek, the islands near Hickory Star, have had good catches. Topwater with Zara Spooks at dawn has been good on some days were breaking fish have been seen. Shad or alewife, umbrella rigs, or large swimbaits. In the main lake body, smaller stripers have been caught in the Loyston/Lost Creek area, Gourd and Rabbit Islands.
Percy Priest – 7-20-23
Recent flash floodings have raised Percy Priest Lake several inches again. The moving water has positioned the bass shallow in 2ft-5ft…. feeding on shad! The upper end of the lake has the most current around points and bluffs. Bass can be caught on shallow crankbaits, rattle traps and flipping jigs to current breaks. Mid lake the bass have been biting in 8ft-12ft on plastic worms and crankbaits. Points, humps and ledges have continued to hold schools! We are now in the dog days of summer and the bite will start getting tougher.
For more information or Book your trip today at www.briancarper.com
Pickwick – 7-13-23
Forecast Contributor Tyler Finley – Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/
Hotter days are making the bite become tough. The majority of fish are being caught upriver in the grass. The fish are sitting on the edge of grass with a big worm or in the mat with a frog. While fishing the grass be sure to look for schooling fish. If they began to school throw a spook through them. There is still plenty of fish down lake out deep, but they have become difficult to catch.
Reelfoot Lake – 6-12-23
Forecast Contributor – Brent Callicott
Water levels slowly dropping in Reelfoot Lake with a low Mississippi River and lack of rainfall. The Mississippi River has a lot to do with water levels in Reelfoot Lake because of the water table. The river being just a mile to two miles from the banks of Reelfoot Lake.
We were able to be at or above average on rain for this time of year recently, but the pattern lately has been dryer than normal.
So, Reelfoot Lake water temps continue to rise but the recent cool down will cause the water to drop a few degrees through say today. Upper 70’s, low 80’s are right now.
Watercolors continue to get that summer look. Usually at this time of year as the water temps rise and air temp rise, watercolors change and get thicker with greenish and brownish tint.
Oxygen levels are usually ok but if we go longer periods of time without fresh water, things change and not for the best.
Reelfoot Lake continues to drop everyday little by little. Despite that and water qualities dropping some, the Bluegill bite remains tops. Then following close by is the Catfish bite. Bass would be third and Crappie last. In the last couple of years, the Bluegill bite has gone well into the June month and some through July.
Crickets and Wax Worms best choice of bait. Look for a few leftover beds as well as fish Cypress Trees that shows signs of the small roots that are at the edge of the water levels. These areas are cleaned off and white looking. Bluegill beds also put off a certain smell and once you experience that smell you won’t forget it.
Catfish are being caught a variety of ways both with Yo Yo-s and rod and reel.
Bass still best around some trees and certain lily pad patches. Some seed moss showing up and that is usually another good place to start with certain weed less topwater baits.
Overall, going into July, August, September, the bite may or usually might slow down but if we end up with on and off rains and a cooler summer, this may change things. The key is some summer rain and cooler than normal days.
But one thing for sure, usually a Bluegill, Catfish or Bass bite is possible in the heat of the summer.
Tellico River and Tributary Streams 6-19-23
Forecast Contributor- Cody Fischer, https://www.facebook.com/
Current Streamflow: 195 cfs
Water Temps: 60-68 depending on elevation
It’s been a wet summer so far, and that trend is going to continue for the next couple of days, with 1.5″ of rain expected this afternoon and another .5″ forecasted for Friday. The good news is that the rain departs Friday night and Saturday, and Sunday are predicted to be sunny and clear. We may see high or off-color water at the start of the weekend, not necessarily unfishable, and the river should be clear by Sunday and going into next week.
Despite a lack of noticeable hatches lately, dry fly fishing has been phenomenal, especially for anglers who are venturing into the tributaries and targeting wild and native trout. A Parachute Adams, yellow stimulator or Griffith’s gnat is about all you need. We have been fishing nymphs below our dries and 90% of the fish choose to pounce on the dry fly. Temps are still in the 60-65° range in tributaries over 2,500′, which is perfectly fine for sagely catching and releasing trout.
Big dry flies (hoppers, chernobyls) and nymph droppers are still the way to go on the Tellico. Most stocked trout will eat the nymph, but don’t be surprised if they pounce on a big foam dry fly. Pat’s rubber legs, Frenchies and perdigons are still top producing nymphs. If the water is high and off color this weekend, it will be the perfect time to throw streamers as well.
There’s not much rain in the forecast for early next week, and temps will be pushing into the low 90s, so keep an eye on temps next week if you want to catch and release. Any water temps above 68° presents too much risk of trout going belly up after a hard fight, so move upstream to higher elevations until you find water temps below 68°. As of this week, temps are still fine from North River confluence upstream to the NC state line. A thermometer is an invaluable tool this time of year for finding ideal water temps.
Tims Ford – 7-13-23
Forecast Contributor Captain Jake Davis – Follow on Facebook
Early mornings and Late evenings are seeing some good topwater action. Lots of good action at night right now, but please slow down and keep your lights on. Sped Craws, Crankbaits, and Jigs around cover are a good as well. We continued to catch fish spread out on secondary points and around brush piles. Best lures have been Tightline Mussel Crawler jigs tipped with Twin Tail grub. Texas Rigged creature baits, produced as well.
Stripe and rock fish are still can be found off points, on river channel bends with bucktail jigs, swimbaits and live bait. Lake temperatures are between 84 and 85.5 degrees and the lake level is basically at summer pool. Please wear your life vest all the time while on the water and watch for floating logs. Capt. Jake 615-613-2382 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Watts Bar Reservoir – July 14th – July 17th, 2023
Forecast Contributor – Nathan Rogers, Region III Creel Clerk
The weather was cloudy with a chance of storms most of the weekend, clearing up to on Sunday and into Monday. Temperatures were around low 70’s at night and reaching as high as 92 during the day. Lake visibility was poor due to rain events. Water temperatures were cool throughout the riverine sections of the lake. Water level is now at full summer pool.
- Tennessee River (below Ft. Loudoun Dam): 74.7 degrees Fahrenheit
- Tennessee River (middle of lake): 87.7 degrees Fahrenheit
Water Clarity: Tennessee River channel 4.5 feet
Water Level: 740.8 feet
Water Flow: (as of July 17th)
- Watts Bar Dam: ~19700 cfs
- Melton Hill Dam: ~1700 cfs
- Fort Loudon Dam: ~15500 cfs
Species Specific Information
Bass: Fishing soft plastics still seems to be the angler’s choice. For example, Carolina rigs, Texas rigs, Ned rigs, dropshots, and shaky heads with craws, lizards, and other soft plastics in around 10-15 feet. Others are also finding success with crankbaits and spinner baits on rock walls, near docks, and channel ledges.
Catfish: Fishing creek channels or main river channel with cut bait. Anglers below the dam are fishing up against the dam and finding success
Walleye/Sauger: Trolling main river channel with spoons or crankbaits. Slow trolling upstream in light current.
Striped Bass: Drifting current with live bait below dams with some current
White Bass: Small spoons on river channel banks. Also trolling in current.
Wilbur Tailwater – 7-19-23
Forecast Contributor – Richard Markland, Region 4 Fisheries Technician
Tailwater Conditions– Tailwaters elevation 1583.14. Avg discharge is 270 cfm. The 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 7-13-23
Forecast Contributor Captain Jake Davis – Follow on Facebook
Grass, Grass and Grass remains the name of the game, Bass and Crappie all can be found along grass edges and along the rip rap banks. We found our better fish in 10 to 12foot of water using Texas Rigged D-Bombs from Missile Baits and Tightline Mussel Crawler jigs tipped with Twin Tail grubs, soft plastics, spinnerbaits and A-Rigs. Best numbers came on a shaky head rigged finesse worm. Our best fish all came on a Golden Flash Jig from Tightline Jigs.
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 82 and 84 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 email@example.com