TWRA 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 – 8-20-23
Forecast Contributor – Richard Markland, Region 4 Fisheries Technician
Reservoir Conditions– Reservoir elevation is 1382.03. The water temperature is 85* degrees. Water clarity 10’-15’ visibility.
Bass– Fishing is slow. 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. Fishing around laydowns is always a good place to fish.
Chickamauga Lake – 8-17-23
Early morning Topwater great with a Pop-R, Pencil Popper or a Spook. The shad pattern seems to get more strikes. The big Chatterbait 3/4 paired with a 4.25- or 5-inch Swimbait I like the Driftwood Custom Baits paddle tails in a shad or bluegill pattern on the grass edges or shell beds when the current is running.
August is a great month to swim that worm and swim that jig in the grass. Remember to pay attention to the water flow schedule it positions the fish and usually will group them up. Water level is full and water temperatures are 80-85.
Dale Hollow – 8-16-23
Forecast Contributor – Will Schibig, Region III Creel Clerk.
Lake elevation continues to fall to 644’, and Dale Hollow Dam is generating, on average, 2,000 cfs per day. Water clarity has an average visibility of 6-8’, with 3’ in the backs of creeks. Surface water temperatures are very warm during the day, averaging 83-86 degrees.
Bass- Fishing is slow. Bass can still be caught deep (15-25FOW) during the day on rock piles or grass beds with finesse presentations. At night, these same fish can be caught on Colorado spinnerbaits, hair jigs, or big worms. There are some largemouth around shallow structure, target these fish with finesse lures as well.
Crappie- Fishing is good. Anglers are starting to catch numbers of fish on the upper end of the reservoir. Anglers trolling creek channels are catching numbers on crankbaits, while trollers on the main channel are catching quality slabs. 15-25’ seems to be the best zone depending on if it’s the creek or main river channel.
Walleye- Fishing is slow. Bites have slowed down, but quality is still good. Trolling harness rigs and crankbaits on grass flats mid lake is producing some fish but jigging deep-water structure on the lower end is producing the biggest fish. 25 FOW is the best range for trolling and even deeper for jigging.
EDITOR’S NOTE – Fire destroyed the gas dock and the store at Sunset Marina on 8-10-23. Please plan trips to Dale Hollow accordingly.
Douglas Lake -8 -17-23
Forecast Contributor Brad Burkhart – Follow on Facebook
As the heat of the summer finally hits its high, believe it or not the bass will start to head back to the shallows.
Shad schools are starting to show up in the late afternoon in deep pockets and all over the rivers above the fork. This can either be a great or an awful time to fish… I really enjoy late summer early fall fishing and this when I start fishing docks ALOT Don’t get fancy, I use a 1/2 oz green pumpkin football jig (they skip like a flat rock) paired with a like color 4” chigger craw. I use 17lb P-Line tactical fluorocarbon because it skips easier than 20 but is strong enough to get them out.
Early morning target deep bluffs with over hanging limbs with a top water for a quick big one then hit the docks. Won’t be long till we’re slinging top water baits all day.
God bless!!!! Message me if you want to book a trip.
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 – 8-23-23
Forecast Contributor- Tic Smith/Southeastern Anglers Guide Service
Water Temperature – 65 to 70 degrees during generation.
Water Clarity – clear
Water Level – 2 generators are running around the clock to keep up with power demand
Fishing conditions – the 2 generator releases are helping to keep the water temps safe for the he trout. It is difficult on the wade fishermen though. If fishing from a boat, the early morning hours are going to be when the water is at coolest. Overall, fishing is very slow this week
Terrestrials – beetles, hoppers and ants all day
Nymphs – standard pheasant tails with or without beads #12 to #18
Small streamers effective early and late.
There are limited hatches this time of the year. Look for Tricos early in the morning and #18 olive caddis in the evening. You may also see some Isonychias in the evening.
Smallmouth bass fishing is fair early and late and on the shady banks.
Stripers are in the river from the stair step rapids down river to Patty Bridge.
Kentucky Lake 8-23-23
By Steve McCadams, Professional Guide/Outdoor Writer (email@example.com)
Dominating this week’s Kentucky Lake fishing scene has been the return of hot and humid weather. Daytime highs have climbed to the mid to upper 90’s with a heat index of 100-plus.
That’s calling the shots for summer fishermen and diminished the playing field for a lot of anglers but there are always a few die-hards out there testing the water.
There’s good news in the forecast as temps are expected to fall back near or slightly below the normal range by Sunday or Monday so cooler days are ahead for fishermen.
Lake levels have been falling this week while temperatures were rising. Kentucky Lake’s elevation is projected to be down around the 356.7 range by the weekend. That’s down several inches from last week at this time.
Surface temperatures have risen to the 86-to-88-degree range. Watercolor is clear across most of the reservoir with a slight stain remaining in the main channel area.
TVA has been pulling a lot of current and that kept ample flow in the main Tennessee River channel which prolonged a good summer catfish bite. Projections indicate a reduction in discharge through Kentucky Dam in the days ahead down to 35,000 cubic feet per second (cfs).
That’s down from last week but still enough to keep the interest level high for meandering blue and channel catfish. Anglers should continue to see plenty of activity.
Still producing have been the deeper depths of 40 to 50 feet at times. Baits of choice have been nightcrawlers, catalpa worms, chicken liver, hot dogs marinated in garlic type concoctions, big minnows and cut bait. Several commercial baits are working too.
Crappie have been sluggish, but some have been taken in the 18-to-22-foot depth range by anglers tightlining minnows on bottom bumping rigs or on jigs tipped with minnows. Some anglers reported scattered fish found in 12-to-15-foot brush piles and stake beds.
Others are trolling crankbaits out on main lake sandbars and picking up a few using that technique.
Most all anglers are hitting the lake in the wee hours of the morning and tossing in the towel before midday heat takes over.
Crappie and bass anglers indicate the bite is diminishing once the sun gets high in the sky as fish are sensitive to the bright light and heat by midday.
Bass fishermen are finding a few deep holes producing out on the main lake sandbars and ledges. Current helps that bite too and when there’s flow the schools of shad are meandering, which stimulates for feeding activity from bass, catfish, crappie and white bass.
A few bass fishermen have turned to night fishing in an effort to beat the beat.
Most anglers continue to toss big Texas rigged worms, Carolina rigs, swim baits, deep diving crankbaits and a few spoons.
There have been several sightings of white bass schooling out on main lake flats gotten the attention of summer fishermen. Tossing small spinners and spoons have worked well on the aggressive feeders in the midst of a feeding frenzy.
Mayflies continue to hatch and that can produce a decent shallow bite in the early morning and late afternoon hours at the peak of the hatch.
Cooler days are coming, and anglers should have a much better comfort zone out there once they arrive. Next week should be better overall for the entire fishing scene.
Normandy Lake – 8-4-23
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 86 to 90 degrees. Please wear your life vest all the time while on the water. Capt. Jake 615-613-2382 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Norris Lake – 8-22-23
Forecast Contributor – Paul Shaw, Norris Creel Clerk.
Water Temp: 83-86 surface in the mornings. As high as 88 in shallow areas on late, sunny afternoons.
Water Clarity: 4 to 6 feet, good color. The upper end rivers are running in clear after some staining from recent heavy rains.
Water Elevation: 1,015.1 feet (midnight) The elevation is fluctuating, slightly. 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: Hot weather and clear skies have the lake in the summer doldrums for daytime fishing, as is the norm for August. Early morning and night fishing are the better times to fish. During daylight, target fish in shaded areas. Fishing pressure during the daytime is predictably very slow. The moon is at its first quarter; the full moon will be August 30th.
Largemouth Bass: Slow. Fair at night from sunset until midnight or at the break of day. The pattern remains the same: Surface to 25 feet, Flukes and similar soft jerk baits under woody structure, small topwater plugs along the shoreline next to structure at dawn. Spinners or crankbaits next to structure early. Texas and Carolina rigs are taking some on the points at 25 feet.
Smallmouth Bass: Slow during daytime. Better after dark and until dawn. Drop-spinners on rocky points and moderately sloped rocky banks at night, fished down to 25 or 30 feet. Small hair jigs tipped with minnows, or pig’n jig rigs on the edges of mid-channel humps at 25 feet. Live shiners fished slowly along steep, rocky shorelines from about 5 to 20 feet.
Walleye: Slow. Not much change. Trolled plugs (Normans, RedFins) at 25 to 30 feet, running the shoreline contour, or mid-channel where schools of alewife or threadfin are located. Bottom trolling has not been as productive as trolling for suspended walleye over the 30–35-foot thermocline. Night fishing with snagged alewife cast to the shoreline, or jigged Mann O’Lure-type spoons, or casting plugs to the shoreline has been slow to produce, but a few nice sized fish have been caught.
Bluegill: Good. Tightline any bait as long as it is a cricket. Try different depths close to the steep, shaded, rocky banks and keep moving until you find the larger ones. If you’re tightlining to 10 feet (for instance) and catching small bluegill, drop your depth until you’re on larger ones. If you can’t get crickets, use wax worms or red worms. Night crawlers can work but are a distant fourth. Dawn to 9 a.m. is best. Popping bugs worked close to the shorelines at dawn is productive but very few are doing that.
Shellcrackers: Slow. The location of shellcrackers after their spawn has mystified anglers for generations. Fish in isolated areas in the back of larger creeks next to fish attractor brush or downed timber or flooded brush. Mill Creek, Lost Creek, Poor Land Creek, some in Sycamore Creek. Try trolling with red worms, night crawlers, wax worms, small minnows, small spinners along the shoreline contours at a variety of depths. Some are caught on steep, broken rock shorelines on old wood structure.
Crappie: No change. Fair, at night and in the early morning hours before the sun hits the water, in the standard locations where there are flats and brush: 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 and in Doaks Creek. Shiners or tuffy minnows tightlined to 10-15 feet near brush. Popeye jigs tipped with tuffy minnows, or Bobby Garlands fished either tightlined into brush (for late morning hours) or fished under a float near brush. After about 10 a.m., crappie go into deeper woody structure.
Catfish: Fair. Nightcrawlers or chicken livers or rancid shrimp on rocky banks or on flats off main channels late in the day for channel cats. Flatheads are hitting on live bluegill at night in the backs of hollows and on main channel, boulder shorelines, very close to the bank.
Striped Bass: Fair. Dawn to about 9:30 a.m. on sunny days. The Loyston Sea area, the mouth of Lost Creek, the islands near Hickory Star, have had good catches. Topwater with Zara Spooks or Zara Pups at dawn has been good on some days where breaking fish have been seen near Gourd and Rabbit Islands. Shad or alewife, umbrella rigs, or large swimbaits trolled to depths as deep as 40 feet in those sections, shallower in the Loyston section. In the main lake body, stripers have been caught in the Loyston/Lost Creek area, Gourd and Rabbit Islands on trolled Alabama rigs (remember the 3-hook law!) or large chrome spoons jigged down to suspended fish.
Percy Priest – 8-24-23
The August grind continues. Percy Priest Lake has been producing bass, but mostly smaller with a few quality fish. The early morning bite and evening bite are the best times to fish. On the upper end you can fish flats in two to four feet of water with topwater lures plastic worms to find success along with points, humps and steeper boulder banks. The crappie continue to be a grind as well. With the water near 85 degrees brush piles in 14ft-25ft have still been productive when fishing with live bait 3-6 feet off the bottom. Mid lake has been the most productive for us!
For more information or Book your trip today at www.briancarper.com
Pickwick – 7-28-23
Forecast Contributor Tyler Finley – Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/
The dog days of summer have set in. The bite is slowing down and fish began to move from summer locations to fall. There is still fish being caught deep as well as in the grass. The fish in the grass seem to be picking up and producing more bites. These fish will be caught with a topwater in the morning and slowing down dragging during the heat of the day. Bites have been tough but once you find an area they will come in a hurry.
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.
Tims Ford – 8-4-23
Forecast Contributor Captain Jake Davis – Follow on Facebook
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 good as well. Early mornings and Late evenings are seeing some good topwater action. 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 88 and 90.5 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 email@example.com
Watts Bar Reservoir – Aug 11th – Aug 14h, 2023
Forecast Contributor – Nathan Rogers, Region III Creel Clerk
The weather was cloudy with chances of storms most of the weekend. Temperatures were around mid to upper 60’s at night and reaching as high as 91. Lake visibility was still poor due to heavy rain events. Water temperatures were cool throughout the riverine sections of the lake and warmer in main lake areas. Water level was at normal summer pool level.
- Tennessee River (below Ft. Loudoun Dam): 74.2 degrees Fahrenheit
- Tennessee River (main lake): 82.2 degrees Fahrenheit
Water Clarity: Tennessee River channel 4 feet
Water Level: 740.2 feet
Water Flow: (as of August 14th)
- Watts Bar Dam: ~5100 cfs
- Melton Hill Dam: ~0 cfs
- Fort Loudon Dam: ~18200 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 buzz baits and spinner baits on rock walls, near docks, and channel ledges. Top water bites are successful in early morning or late evening.
Catfish: Fishing creek channels or main river channel with cut bait. Anglers below the dam are fishing up against the dam and finding success
Striped Bass: Drifting with live bait (Shad, Skipjack Herring) below dams with some current. Some anglers also found success trolling downstream from dams with small crankbaits.
White Bass: Small spoons, mister twisters, and jigs on river channel in current
Wilbur Tailwater – 8-20-23
Forecast Contributor – Richard Markland, Region 4 Fisheries Technician
Tailwater Conditions- Tailwaters elevation 1585.75. Avg discharge is 240 cfm. The water temperature is 40-45* on the upper end of the tailwater. Water clarity is clear top to bottom. The fishing conditions change throughout the length of the tailwaters with flow rates and temperature.
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 8-4-23
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 on deeper cover. Best numbers came on a shaky head rigged finesse worm. We found our better fish in 10 to 12 foot 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.
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 88 and 89 degrees. Please wear your life vest all the time while on the water… Give me a call to book your trip, Summer and early Fall fishing can be lots of fun on Woods… Capt. Jake 615-613-2382 or firstname.lastname@example.org