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 – 9-13-23
Forecast Contributor – Richard Markland, Region 4 Fisheries Technician
Reservoir Conditions- Reservoir elevation is 1380.70. The water temperature is 80* degrees. Water clarity 10’ visibility.
Bass– Fishing is slow – As the water cools the bite should pick up. Largemouth, Spots and Smallmouth are being caught on 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 slow. 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’ and using chicken livers fishing from the bank.
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 – 9-14-23
Bass are being caught on Chatter baits and Swim Jigs in bluegill patterns and shad patterns in the grass flats. The grass edges that fall into the river channel can be targeted with dropshots and Neko rig worms with the assistance of live scope or 360. The mats are hit and miss with the Frog or a Top Toad the Copper Red
Baits Tsunami frog walks unbelievable and draws some awesome strikes the Top Toad is great in the scattered mats.
If the current is turned up the big Swimbait and big Chatterbait are great in the shad colors. Find a good edge in the grass and get the big stick out with a punch weight from 1 oz to 1.5 oz. Paired with the new Driftwood Custom Baits D425 and big braid. Topwater baits are Pop-Rs and Pencil Popper style baits. Water temperature is 80-82. Water level is 682.
Dale Hollow – 9-6-23
Forecast Contributor – Will Schibig, Region III Creel Clerk.
Lake elevation continues to drop and sits at 642.5’. Dale Hollow Dam is generating, on average, 1,500 cfs per day. Water clarity has an average visibility of 8-14’, with 4’ in the backs of creeks. Surface water temperatures still sit around 83 degrees during the day. Most shallow humps and islands are dry land now so be cautious while boating.
Bass- Fishing is slow. Some largemouth are being caught shallow on flats with grass with topwater during dawn/dusk. During the day, most bass are being caught utilizing front-facing sonar in 20-25’ around creek channels and ditches. Most baitfish are moving to the backs of creeks on the upper end. Any type of shallow cover left in the water could hold bass. Square bills, vibrating jigs, or flipping this structure could produce some largemouth in these creeks.
Walleye- Fishing is slow. Trollers are catching a few fish trolling worm rigs around humps and flats in 30 FOW. People jigging spoons and jigging raps are catching fish deeper around 40’.
Crappie- Fishing is good. Crappie are being caught by fisherman on the Obey River arm while utilizing front-facing sonar on deep brush near the channel. 20-25 FOW.
Trout- Fishing is slow. Some trout are being caught near the dam with a spoon and front-facing sonar in 30-50 FOW. Trolling spoons or alewife in this general area can still produce fish during the day but mostly smaller rainbow trout.
Douglas Lake – 9-7-23
Forecast Contributor Brad Burkhart – Follow on Facebook
As summer tries it’s best to fade so do the water temps. This time of year, can be one of the most frustrating time to fish, but fear not…. these tips could help you make a good day fishing a great one.
Fish docks, a lot of our anglers overlook docks simply because they are afraid of losing their lures or they feel they “can’t skip”. Well, you can’t learn by not doing. Put a 7’ Phenix rod in your hand, line it with some 17lb P-Line Tactical fluorocarbon, tie your favorite chatter bait of jig on and get to work. I catch so many fish by being able to put a bait in front of bass that seldom see a lure.
Fish bluffs, shad and bass alone are migrating shallow, and they can get shallow on a bluff quicker than they can make it to the back end of a pocket. Parallel the bluff with a jerk bait or spinner bait or pitch it with a jig.
Fish bait balls. Have you ever pulled into a cove and saw it full of shad schooled up in the middle and you fish the bank? Why? Tie a square bill or a jerk bait and actively the schools. Forget the bank. This time of year, they will suspend (and sometimes break) around the shad and pick off the weak ones.
Hope the info helps y’all.
If you want to book a trip hit me up on social media or check out https://urldefense.com/v3/__
Also, I am offering maps with prime locations and corresponding notes if you don’t have time for a trip. I offer trips/maps for Norris Douglas Cherokee Watts Bar Chickamauga Ft Loudon
Killer Bass Pro Guide Service
Fall Creek Falls – 8-29-23
Forecast Contributor – Region 3 Fisheries Staff.
Lake Conditions- Overall fishing has slowed down with the recent HOT weather. Try fishing early or late in the day or on cloudy days. Areas with shade will fish better in the middle of the day. Fishing should improve with cooler weather in the forecast. Surface water temperature is 80-86°F and water clarity is 4 ft near the inlet of Fall Creek and 6 ft towards the dam. Ten automatic fish feeders are currently in use. Feeders are located near the dam, the lakeside cabins, the lodge, and the boat dock.
Largemouth Bass: Fishing is fair. Fishing for bass is best early or late in the day. Bass are being caught on beetle spins and square bills if you can find weed beds or pockets of submerged habitat. Wacky-rigged soft plastics and Chatterbait have also been producing. Most bass caught have been under 1 pound, but bass up to 6 pounds have been caught in recent weeks. Anglers targeting bass are catching between 0.5 and 1 bass 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 Bluegill, but the Redear bite has slowed in recent weeks. Anglers using crickets near the feeders have done well catching Bluegill. As the day warms up, Bluegill are moving deeper and closer to structure. Try red worms, crickets, or live minnows in 8-15ft of water. Daily Bluegill/Redear (in combination) creel limit is 10 per day, no length limit.
Catfish: Fishing is slow. Few anglers have been targeting Catfish, but the morning bite has generally been better than other times of day. Anglers targeting Bluegill with crickets and red worms are catching a few Catfish. The feeders are a good place to start, but Catfish can also be caught on underwater flats and in ditches. Daily catfish creel limit is 5 per day, 16-inch minimum length limit.
Crappie: Fishing is fair. Crappie are being caught around offshore structure using live minnows. Many of these fish are in the 8–9-inch range. There is no creel or length limit on crappie at Fall Creek Falls Lake.
Hiwassee River below Appalachia Powerhouse – 9-14-23
Forecast Contributor- Tic Smith/Southeastern Anglers Guide Service
Water temp – 68 to 72 degrees
Water clarity – clear
Water level – flows vary from 0 to 2 generators (Go to TVA.com to check flow schedules) This tailwater schedule is posted after 6pm the previous day. Click on Lake Levels then Apalachia to view info.
River Conditions-cooler weather is predicted for the next week which should help bring down water temps. We are looking for consistent water temps in the mid-60’s. It may take a while, but this is encouraging. Until that happens, fishing will remain very slow.
Hatches – Sulphurs #18, #16 tan or olive caddis, Isonychia #12, terrestrials.
Wooly buggers in sizes 6 to 10 are always productive. Olive on sunny days and black on cloudy ones are a good rule to go by. Larger streamers are productive when 2 generators are running
Spin fishing is productive with 1/8 and 1/16th gold bladed spinners. Small Rapalas are productive during the higher flows.
Kentucky Lake 9-13-23
By Steve McCadams, Professional Guide/Outdoor Writer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
AUTUMN ANGLING HAS FEEL OF FALL IN THE AIR
A midweek cool snap sure had a nice feel to it. Lower humidity and temperatures put a little pep in the step of Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene again this week. Chilly nights saw the temps fall into the upper 50’s in some areas and low 60’s in others. It was a welcomed change.
Days have definitely had a fall feel this week although autumn doesn’t officially arrive until September 23. And the weatherman indicates warmer days are in the forecast for next week, but fishermen are enjoying the party of cool weather while it lasts.
Surface temperatures this week have fallen slightly as readings were starting out the mornings around 81 to 82 degrees and warming to 85 by midday. By this weekend water temps will likely fall into the low 70’s at night low 80’s during the day.
Watercolor remains clear across the reservoir. Lake levels in the Kentucky Dam area and across the reservoir have fallen slightly and are down to the 355.8 level, which is the lowest elevation since TVA’s annual drawdown began back on July 1.
Both recreational boaters and fishermen need to pay close attention to channel markers as they navigate across Kentucky Lake. Taking shortcuts can produce problems when the reservoir is down.
There’s still pretty good current in the main Tennessee River channel as TVA is discharging 47,000 cfs (cubic feet per second) through Kentucky Dam. That much current moving should maintain a good bite for cat fishermen stalking the main channel areas. Last week the current diminished but has returned, which will likely stimulate the bite courtesy of shad movement.
Once current kicks in it stirs up phytoplankton and zooplankton and that triggers schools of shad to move about on feeding sprees. Movement throughout the food chain occurs and anglers are the beneficiary of meandering balls of shad with catfish hot on their trail. Depths of 25 to 40 feet have given up fish this week. It appears the cooler days are pushing a few fish to move up to midrange depths.
Although several boats continue to pursue catfish along the main river channel banks, fish have moved up to midrange depths lately as crappie fishermen are encountering them as they fish 9-to-13-foot depths around manmade fish attractors. Nightcrawlers are still the bait of choice among the ranks of cat fishermen.
Crappie have transitioned this week as they slowly stair-step their way toward shallow to midrange depths. Some fish have been taken in 5-to-8-foot depths in Big Sandy and West Sandy this week while most anglers in the Paris Landing sector were fishing a bit deeper. A few larger fish have been taken in 18-to-22-foot depths but numbers there were scattered. Midrange depths of 12 to 15 feet appear to be holding a few more fish but anglers are having to cull out a lot of smaller fish at times.
For those tipping jigs with minnows or just using live minnow presentations it’s that time of the year when pesky schools of yellow bass move up and occupy shallow crappie beds too. Like a school of piranha, the feisty little rascals are fun to catch and quite aggressive but quite annoying at times. They will steal your bait at the blink of an eye. As fall approaches and days grow shorter and hopefully cooler, crappie should continue to move up to the 8-to-12-foot zones in good numbers.
Anglers fishing jigs in a vertical presentation are catching decent numbers but pretty much everyone is having to move about and knock on a lot of doors to accumulate numbers. Once surface temps fall back into the mid to upper 60’s and remains there crappie should take on a more aggressive mood.
Bass anglers have been struggling at times in their quest to find baitfish schools. Some shad are roaming the backs of bays, and a few are showing up along gravel banks in the early morning and late afternoon. Shad usually begin feeding sprees in the lowlight hours as they feast on midge (small insects) hatches, especially in the early morning and late afternoon periods. It can be a good topwater bite for short periods.
Still stalking main lake ledges are boaters staying with the summer patterns. Tossing swim baits, crankbaits and some Texas rigged worms had paid dividends at times. Some decent size smallmouth have been taken by anglers finesse fishing deeper sandbars and humps.
Warm weather has been stubborn to depart for long periods but each passing day brings fall closer to the fishing scene. Soon those jacket mornings and shirt sleeve afternoons will be the norm.
Normandy Lake – 9-14-23
The tri-lake area is staying in the same summer pattern. Normandy is producing some good fish. Crankbaits, Texas Rigs or Tightline Jigs have been our go to. We found several really nice bass using Crankbaits at the end of points in 10 to 12 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 are in the low 80s. Please wear your life vest all the time while on the water. Capt. Jake 615-613-2382 or msbassgui
Norris Lake – 9-12-23
Forecast Contributor – Paul Shaw, Norris Creel Clerk.
Water Temp: 78 to 82 degrees
Water Clarity: 4 to 6 feet, good color. Some creeks may be stained after local, heavy rain showers.
Water Elevation: 1,014.5 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. Fish do not like sunlight!
Largemouth Bass: Slow on the lower end, better on the upper half of the reservoir. Drop shot rigs, pig ‘n jigs, Brush Hawgs, Carolina Rigs on the points to 20 feet. Some are coming in on deep crankbaits. Early mornings have had some action in the coves on spinners or jerk baits near structure.
Smallmouth Bass: Fair. Same pattern as last week: during daylight hours, surface to 25 feet. Shallower at night. Catches have been best above 33 Bridge on the Clinch and above Flat Hollow’s vicinity on the Powell. Pig ‘n jigs, drop shot rigs, Brush Hogs, live shiners have produced. At the break of day on the section of the Clinch arm above Black Fox, if the boat traffic is missing, some topwater catches have been made on smallmouth breaking into the schools of baitfish at dawn.
Walleye: Slow for numbers, but catches have been of good quality size. Most catches are in the Loyston to Rabbit Island section. Some on Cove Creek very close to steep rocky shorelines on trolled Thundersticks or Red Fins to 30 feet. Same pattern, no change in technique: Night fishing with Mann O’Lures or spoons jigged under lights has been slower than casting, snagged shad/alewife to the shorelines. 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; many walleye are feeding on suspended schools of alewife these days, far from the bank. Trolling plugs for suspended walleye has been the most productive method during the day.
Bluegill: Good. Smaller specimens are in shoreline brush. Larger ones are on the steep, shaded, rocky shorelines, as deep as 30 feet. Tightline crickets with no float. If you’re getting small ones on the steep, rocky banks, drop your cricket lower. Move along the shoreline until you find them. Beetle spins, Rooster Tails are good artificials if you are afraid of a cricket or cannot find any. Popping bugs on flyrod can provide good action just after the break of day. After the sun comes up, the larger ones will drop off deep and the small, shallow water specimens will seek refuge from the sun in shoreline brush or timber.
Shellcrackers: Very slow. 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. Red worms, night crawlers, wax worms, small minnows, small spinners. Less than 10 feet, on the bottom near brush.
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 access 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. Daytime catches, after about 9 a.m. are extremely slow. Night, under lanterns, has produced some on tightlined tuffy minnows.
Catfish: Slow during the day; better at dawn or at night. 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, steep boulder shorelines, very close to the bank from about Hickory Star to Point 19.
Striped Bass: Slow. 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 seen fewer catches. The channel from Point 19 to Stardust Marina’s vicinity has had a few catches. Cove Creek improved slightly. Shad or alewife, umbrella rigs, or large swimbaits trolled to depths as deep as 40 feet in those sections, shallower in the Loyston section. Schools of baitfish are starting to appear, as is the seasonal norm. Look for stripers to break into the schools at dawn around the islands between Hickory Star and Lost Creek. Boat traffic will put these early breaking fish down.
Percy Priest – 9-14-23
The last few days the bass and crappie have started to shake up a bit with the cooler temperatures. The water temperature is now starting at 76° in the early morning. The water level is almost 6″ below summer pool.
There have been several reports of bass being caught shallow in one to three feet of water throughout the lake with topwater lures. There are also bass been found in two to six feet of water on square bill crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Fishing windy points and coves have been the most productive when bait is present. There are also several points, humps and ledges in 6 to 10 ft of water that are still holding summer patterned fish. In the next few weeks, we’ll see more bass move shallow and become aggressive!
For more information or Book your trip today at www.briancarper.com
Pickwick – 9-7-23
Forecast Contributor Tyler Finley – Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/
The lake is fishing good right now, but fish are in very small areas. They are finally starting to move towards their fall time shallow pockets and grass. Fish have just about abandoned their summer offshore holes and headed to the bank. Fish can be found in the back of pockets with a whopper plopper and buzz bait. Also, there is a lot of fish in the grass up the river. These will be caught on a buzz bait and a flipping bait. For flipping I prefer a 3/4oz weight with a craw imitating bait. Once you catch one it seems that there will be more in the same area. Goodluck and enjoy some topwater blowups!
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 – 9-14-23
Forecast Contributor Captain Jake Davis – Follow on Facebook
Tims Ford continues in the summer pattern with the previous report being the best route to put them in the boat.
Our better fish came on a ½ ounce Tightline Green Tequila Jig this week work around brush piles in 8 to 18 foot of water. Sped Craws, Crankbaits, and finesse worms around cover are good as well. Early mornings and Late evenings are seeing some good topwater action. 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 in the low 80s and the lake level is 887.76. Please wear your life vest all the time while on the water and watch for floating logs. Capt. Jake 615-613-2382 or msbassgui
Watts Bar Reservoir – Sept. 8th – Sept. 11th, 2023
Forecast Contributor – Nathan Rogers, Region III Creel Clerk
Forecast Contributor – Nathan Rogers, Region III Creel Clerk
The weather was warm with partial cloud cover throughout the weekend. Temperatures were around the lower 60’s at night and reaching as high as 85. Lake visibility was great below dams but poorer on the main lake. Water temperatures were cool throughout the riverine sections of the lake and warmer in main lake areas. Water level was at normal summer pool.
- Clinch River (below Melton Hill Dam): 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit
- Clinch & Emory Confluence: 83.1 degrees Fahrenheit
- Tennessee River (below Fort Loudon Dam): 77.1 degrees Fahrenheit
- Tennessee River (main lake): 85.8 degrees Fahrenheit
- Tennessee River (main lake): 4 feet
- Tennessee River (below Fort Loudon Dam): 3.5 feet
- Clinch River (below Melton Hill Dam): 6 feet
- Clinch & Emory Confluence: 4 feet
Water Level: 740.8 feet
Water Flow: (as of September 11th)
- Watts Bar Dam: ~47500 cfs
- Melton Hill Dam: ~6000 cfs
- Fort Loudon Dam: ~22600 cfs
Observed Species Information
Bass: Fishing is slow. Topwater and walking baits around grass or rock shelf banks are good techniques for early morning. Fishing jerk baits in the morning around rocky banks with long, tapering points and deep water nearby is a good alternative to topwater. Once the sun gets up higher and gets hotter, fishing 6-8 inch straight-tail worms on a Texas rig will get some bites on grass flats.
Crappie: Fishing is fair. Anglers are catching decent numbers but not big enough to keep in many cases. Most are using live minnows to get bites, but many have also used jigs, such as Bobby Garlands, and found success. Fishing submerged structure in creeks and inlets off the main river are where the most success was seen.
Striped Bass: Fishing is fair. Most are drifting with live bait (Shad, Bluegill, Skipjack Herring) below dams with some current. Some anglers also found success trolling downstream from dams with small crankbaits. The lack of flow from Melton Hill Dam until evenings has caused anglers to show up later or fish elsewhere. Others have resourced to trolling live bait near channel ledges and found success in absence of current.
Wilbur Tailwater – 9-13-23
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 9-14-23
Forecast Contributor Captain Jake Davis – Follow on Facebook
Just like Tims and Normandy, Woods continues in the same pattern it has been for the last few weeks. Temperatures have changed a little. Check out the monster bass caught Thursday by 79-year-old Cheryl William. The 10.25 pound largemouth is her personal best.
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 are still coming 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 81.5 and 85 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 msbassgui