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 - 12-6-23
Forecast Contributor – Richard Markland, Region 4 Fisheries Technician
Reservoir Conditions- Reservoir elevation is 1365.17 The water temperature is 48* degrees. Water clarity 5-10’ visibility.
Bass- Fishing is Slow- Largemouth, Spots and Smallmouth are being caught on small shad like baits, crankbaits, vertical fishing with drop shot type baits.
Crappie- Fair – Crappie are starting to show up in creeks/coves pitching and vertical fishing small artificial baits. 20-40’ deep.
Trout- No report
Striped Bass/Hybrid Bass- Fishing is Fair. Most of the fish are being caught around Davis Dock up to Rainbow Bridge area on Holston side and around Sonnys Marina Watch for breaking fish in early morning and late evening good hybrids are being caught on topwater and casting shad in the bait balls.
Chickamauga Lake - 12-7-23
The bass are loving a 2.8 to 3.5 Swimbait for sure. The other bait that they are mashing is a Chatterbait around the grass lines. The 2.8 is definitely awesome around or under the bait. Keep the crankbait tied on from a square bill to a DT10 those transition banks are starting to get good. The flats are pretty good with a 1/4 -5/8 oz Rat-l-trap bait! Water temperature is 52-55. Water level is 676.
Dale Hollow – 12-6-23
Forecast Contributor – Will Schibig, Region III Creel Clerk.
Reservoir elevation is 636’. Dale Hollow Dam is generating, on average, 500 cfs per day. The water temperature can fluctuate between 53-57 degrees per day based off weather or water clarity. Water clarity on the lower end is clear, 10-15’ of visibility. On the upper end, water clarity averages 5-8’ of visibility. Most of the baitfish can be found below 40 FOW in main creek channels, creek mouths, or along main river channel banks and deep flats.
Bass- Fishing is great. The smallmouth are fired up right now. You can catch them shallow on deep channel banks and points with chunk rock close to deep water & baitfish. Use hair jigs, Ned rigs, or small finesse jigs for these fish on the bank. Live-bait fisherman are catching their smallmouth around wood on chunk, rock banks in 10-30’. Fisherman are also catching bass jigging spoons on the deep bait balls in channels and creek mouths, these fish are 30-50’ deep. Please use caution when handling deep fish, either fizz them or bring them up slowly and release them quickly.
Crappie- Fishing is good. Crappie are being caught off of deep brush in 15-30 FOW. Target tree tops or brush piles on channel swing banks or deep flats with the presence of baitfish nearby.
Douglas Lake - 10-12-23
Forecast Contributor Brad Burkhart – Follow on Facebook
Douglas has been both good and bad as of late, just like every lake every fall. But the days that are producing the best are the somewhat cloudy but always windy days. I know we can’t pick or weather, but we can pick our days….so to ensure you have a good day, put the odds in your favor. Those cooler mornings are great for topwater which is picking up daily. And the windy afternoons are made for one thing…. a spinner bait. Add some shallow cover such as brush, docks or rocks and just burn the banks down.
Good luck to everyone this week on the water and as always God bless.
Killer Bass Pro Guide Service
Fall Creek Falls - 11-22-23
Forecast Contributor – Region 3 Fisheries Staff.
Lake Conditions- Mild fall weather has prolonged good fishing. Right now, surface water temperatures are around 56°F. As we transition into winter, try to target warmer days for the best action. Fishing will be best after several warm days and nights in a row. Water clarity is around 6 ft. Due to drought conditions this fall, the lake level is a couple feet lower than full pool. The automatic fish feeders are currently full and in operation; however, feeders will not be in operation after December 1st and through the rest of the winter.
Largemouth Bass: Fishing is fair. With cooling water temperatures, try fishing lures with a slower action. Shakey heads, dropshots, and Texas rigged soft plastics should produce if fished slowly near structure. If you are fishing offshore, try to find schools of shad or target points and ledges. Suspending jerk baits, mister twisters, or flukes should work well for suspended bass. 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 good. Bluegills are the main panfish anglers are catching right now. Try fishing a little further offshore than you did in the summer, fish will be moving deeper to find warmer water. Light line (2-4 lb. test) may improve your catch rate in clear water conditions. Worms and crickets are always a safe bet, but artificial flies, and small jigs (Like trout/panfish magnets) will also work. Try fishing near one of the fish habitat structures or natural brush in the lake. Daily Bluegill/Redear (in combination) creel limit is 10 per day, no length limit.
Catfish: Fishing is fair. Fishing for Catfish is best mid-day through the evening after the water has warmed up a few degrees. Try chicken livers, nightcrawlers, shrimp, or Bluegill to catch Catfish (The Bluegill creel limit still applies when used as bait). Target deeper water with structure or steep drop offs for winter Catfish. If you catch one fish, there should be others nearby. Daily catfish creel limit is 5 per day, 16-inch minimum length limit.
Crappie: Fishing is fair. Crappie fishing continues to be hit or miss. Target structure at different depths until you find fish. Live minnows work best, but jigs can also work. Let jigs sink to the bottom before working them back to you. If you aren’t catching any, try a couple other spots or consider fishing for another species. There is no creel or length limit on crappie at Fall Creek Falls Lake.
Hiwassee River below Appalachia Powerhouse – 12-7-23
Forecast Contributor- Tic Smith/Southeastern Anglers Guide Service
Water Temperature – 52 to 55 degrees
Water Clarity – clear
Water Level – TVA has been running a varied schedule this week. For the most part, the water has been off in the afternoons. Be sure to check the TVA Apalachia water release schedule after 6pm for the generation schedule for the next day.
Fishing conditions – Fishing continues to be very good. Water temps are in the preferred range for trout. Expect lots of rising fish during the periods of low flows.
Hatches- There are midges and small baetis hatching in the mid-day hours. A few caddis are out in the late morning along the banks.
Nymphs – standard pheasant tails with or without beads #16 to #18. Zebra midges are producing as well.
Small streamers effective early and late.
Kentucky Lake 11-22-23
By Steve McCadams, Professional Guide/Outdoor Writer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
FALL ABOUT TO FADE AWAY…WINTER FISHING TAKES OVER
Kentucky Lake’s late fall fishing scene is about to fade away, losing its place on the calendar as the transition of seasons takes place. Winter officially arrives on December 21st. This fall has been kind to fishermen on Kentucky Lake, offering an extended spell of mild weather and light winds. There have been a few days when whitecaps kicked up over the vast open waters but overall, it has been pleasant for both bass and crappie fishermen out there.
While the duck and deer hunters yearn for falling temperatures and cold fronts at times to stimulate movement the fishermen have been well satisfied with the stability of weather patterns that strongly favored fishermen over hunters. Fishermen know weather patterns this time of year can change quickly. Therefore, they best take advantage of decent days when they’re in the forecast.
That’s just what several crappie anglers have been doing lately. And they’ve chalked up some decent stringers too. From midrange depths of 7 to 12 feet have come pretty good numbers lately. Anglers stalking those midrange depths where their manmade fish attractors such as brush piles and stake beds are located have been producing at times. So have some deeper structures located along main lake ledges in the 14-to-20-foot depth ranges. The deeper water has continued to give up some pretty good slabs this fall.
A wide variety of jig colors have yielded good numbers but the solid body Bobby Garland style jigs in red/chartreuse, monkey’s milk, black/chartreuse and blue/chartreuse with sparkle have been good choices. However, there have been a lot of different color choices paying dividends. Watercolor has been clear all fall. Lake levels this week fell a few inches and the reservoir is now down to the 354.8 elevation, which is lower than last week’s reading.
Recent rains may see a slight increase in lake levels but not likely to have a dramatic effect as the area has been so dry. Surface temperatures are in the upper 30’s and low 40’s as there have been some cold nights.
A few bass fishermen are targeting smallmouth this time of year and tossing light grubs or small inline spinner type lures on hair jigs and grubs. They have managed to tie into some nice ones eclipsing the 4-pound mark at times too.
Winter fishing is here as of next Thursday so best keep the heavy clothes handy. Dress in layers as you can always take it off!
Normandy Lake - 11-30-23
Normandy is producing some good fish and is about to get a lot better as TVA pulls the water down. Current water levels are at 865.46 and headed down. 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 4 to 10 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 55 to 59 degrees. Please wear your life vest all the time while on the water. Give me a call to book your trip, Capt. Jake 615-613-2382 or email@example.com.
Norris Lake – 11-29-23
Forecast Contributor – Paul Shaw, Norris Creel Clerk.
Water Surface Temperature: 53 to 58 in the afternoon. The upper end is running in cooler.
Water Clarity: 4 to 6 feet, good color.
Water Elevation: 1,000.2 feet (midnight) The lake level continues to drop for the Fall drawdown. Check the free TVA Lake Info app for daily elevations, predictions, and flow rates.
Summary: Catches have been slow to come in. Periods of discharge through the dam and the resultant drawdown will increase bass and other predatory species’ movement and feeding. The daily discharge schedule is being determined by the work on the weir dam in the tailwater. During the day, the work requires very little outflow. Reservoir species which are influenced by water movement caused by water going through the dam will have their locations a bit disrupted by the drawdown schedule. On calm mornings and late afternoons, schools of baitfish are seen in the river sections and around some of the lower end channels.
Largemouth Bass: Slow. Pig ‘n jigs, tube jigs, medium running crankbaits along the main channels. Some on topwater buzz baits on the rocky main channels and in the coves in the early morning hours. Senkos and similar soft jerk baits worked in brush and main channel wood structure.
Smallmouth Bass: Moderate. Cooler water temperatures are helping these catches. Catches are coming in at a couple of depths – surface to about 10 feet and as deep as 30 feet depending on the time of day and sunlight. Shallower at night. Midday has been slow. Medium-running crankbaits in blood red or crawfish colors are doing well down to 10 feet on steep, broken rock banks. Deep crankbaits are doing ok at the 20–25-foot depth. Very few have been caught between about 12 feet and 20 feet. If you don’t want to work crankbaits, the standard drop shot type rigs and any assortment of pig ‘n jigs are catching some. 3/8 lead heads tipped with any curly-tail type plastic grubs (pick your brand), cedar tree green or grey colors, are catching some along the bottom on more moderately sloped shorelines.
Walleye: Very slow. Daylight trolling with Bill Normans, Thunder sticks, or Redfins to 35 or 40 feet in the Loyston area and Cove Creek shorelines. Troll very close to steep, rocky shorelines at the recommended depth. Norris’ walleye are notoriously hard to locate from November through mid-February when the river runs begin.
Bluegill: Fair. Tightline crickets with a split shot and use no float to various depths, move along the shoreline until these fish are located. If you’re getting small ones on the steep, rocky banks, drop your cricket lower, often as deep as 30 feet if on the main channel rocky shorelines. Move along the shoreline until you find them.
Shellcrackers: Slow. Locating them is a challenge at this time of year, with most catches being coincidental by anglers fishing for something else. Night fishermen targeting other species have picked some up near the Loyston area island on sandy, bottoms at less than ten feet (bottom depth). Some are on points, next to wood structure in the daytime, but those catches are not dependable. Red worms, night crawlers, wax worms, small minnows, small spinners.
Crappie: Moderate. Tuffy minnows, Bobby Garlands, small Popeye hair jigs fished in shoreline timber in the early morning hours before the sun hits the water. As the morning progresses and sunlight hits the brush, these fish drop deeper. Fish 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. Don’t ignore stained water where you can find it. Crappie will be shallower where the visibility is lower, especially after sunrise.
Striped Bass: Moderate. 30 to 40 feet in mid-channel on clear afternoons, shallower in the early mornings. The fall movement to the upper creeks and the upper end of the river arms is underway. Finding them will become more difficult, as these fish will be on the move for the next two months. Most catches have been of fish ten pounds or less. The Loyston Sea area has been slow with only occasional breaks seen and few birds. The lower end of Davis Creek has had a bit of action, as has Lost Creek, Black Fox Creek to the trestle at the mouth of Sycamore Creek. Shad or alewife, umbrella rigs, or large swimbaits trolled to depths as deep as 40 feet in those sections. Schools of baitfish can be seen near the surface in the morning and afternoon hours. as is the seasonal norm. Keep a Zara Spook or large hair jig or soft jerk bait handy in case you see stripers breaking into the baitfish surface activity.
Percy Priest - 12-7-23
With the recent cool temperatures Percy Priest Lake is between 49 and 52°. These temperatures have finally forced the crappie out deeper! Live minnows and Crappie Magnets in black and chartreuse, yellow and green flake or green pumpkin with red and silver flake has been very successful. Brush piles 20ft or deeper along the river channel have been productive along with standing timber in 40 to 60ft. Today we had 30 keepers in 6 hours. As the temperature continues to drop the crappie bite will only get better! The bass are a couple days behind. They have not moved out to their winter locations yet, but should be on humps, points and ledges in 10 to 20 ft very soon. Jigs, jerk baits and Alabama rigs will be some of the most successful lures.
For more information or Book your trip today at www.briancarper.com
Pickwick - 11-24-23
Forecast Contributor Tyler Finley – Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tyler.finley.750
Fishing is starting to heat up on Pickwick. Fish can be found in current breaks at the dam using an Alabama rig, jig, swimbait. Grass around the Trace bridge on a Chatterbait, rattle trap and punching. Around state line island they are still using creek channels and casing bait. These fish will be caught dragging a Carolina rig and jig. There is also a note throwing a shallow crankbait around structure.
Reelfoot Lake – 10-6-23
Forecast Contributor – Brent Callicott
Fishing has been slow. Some Crappie being caught only by live scope and just a few bass. Bass fishing has been fair at best. A recent local tournament of a three bass limit saw 10.5 pounds for first place and 10 for second place.
The crappie are about 70- 80% right now caught with live scope. Very few have been caught trolling minnows and such. It’s just been crazy. The bluegill bite is also slow but still a good bait for catching catfish.
TN River above Ft. Loudoun Lake – 11-2-23
Forecast Contributor – Capt. Chadwick Ferrell, Www.fishontours.com
Today we targeted smallmouth in 12-18 ft. Of water. The Ned rig, finesse rig worked best. Smaller striper and white bass hit the 3 hook A-rig shad pattern and the bigger striper hit live bait. We fished the Tennessee River near Knoxville TN. The cold front didn't affect the bite too much, but the bait fish did pull out of the shallow bays into the deeper water.
Tims Ford - 11-30-23
Forecast Contributor Captain Jake Davis – Follow on Facebook
Please use caution as the lake levels have dropped for the winter drawdown. The water temps between 57 and 60 degrees depending on area of the lake. Good news is it’s making for some great early winter fishing. Our better fish came on a ½ ounce Tightline Green Tequila Jig this week work around brush piles in 4 to 12 foot of water. Sped Craws, Crankbaits, and Finesse worms around cover are good as well. Best times have moved to the mid-day and late afternoons.
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 62 and 66 degrees and the lake level is 877.61 which puts the lake about 11 feet below summer pool and some ramps will be usable. Best ramps are Rock Creek, Lost Creek, Turkey Creek and Devils Step. Please wear your life vest all the time while on the water and watch for floating logs. Give me a call to book your trip, Capt. Jake 615-613-2382 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Watts Bar Reservoir – Nov. 8th – Nov. 13th, 2023
Forecast Contributor – Nathan Rogers, Region III Creel Clerk
The weather was fair with partial cloud cover throughout the week and weekend. Temperatures were around the mid to lower 40’s at night and reaching as high as 70. Water temperatures continue to drop throughout the lake. Water level is now dropping toward winter pool levels; latest depth I recorded is below. For any discharge or lake elevation info, check out the TVA Lake Info App.
- Tennessee River (below Fort Loudon Dam): 62.0 degrees Fahrenheit
- Tennessee River (main lake): 63.2 degrees Fahrenheit
- Tennessee River (main lake): 4 feet
- Tennessee River (below Fort Loudon Dam): 3.5 feet
Water Level: 738.6 feet
Water Flow: (as of November 13th)
- Watts Bar Dam: ~15700 cfs
- Melton Hill Dam: ~500 cfs
- Fort Loudon Dam: ~18800 cfs
Observed Species Information
Bass: Fishing is fair. Try fishing areas such as wind beaten banks and pockets with shad patterned lipless crankbaits, jerk baits, and chatter baits. Others are finding success throwing finesse worms and jigs on the edges of grass and rock points/ledges. Many anglers were also throwing some topwater baits such as spooks or buzz baits on shallow mud flats and rock points.
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. Fly fishing methods have gathered bites as well.
Catfish: Fishing is fair. Most anglers find success with catfishing while anchored in main river channel and sinking cut/live bait to the bottom. Others are also trolling cut/live bait and getting bites. Setting jugs is another method that is very efficient for targeting catfish.
Crappie: Fishing is good. Using live minnows and/or Bobby Garland jigs in creeks/inlets off of main channel over submerged structure/docks. Most are finding success in 10-15 feet of water.
Yellow Bass/White Bass: Caught while targeting crappie and bass. Using the techniques above should catch these.
Wilbur Tailwater - 12-6-23
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 11-30-23
Forecast Contributor Captain Jake Davis – Follow on Facebook
Its Duck Season, please be mindful of hunters and as a reminder the lower end of the lake is off limits for all. 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 6 to 10 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 58 and 60 degrees. Please wear your life vest all the time while on the water. Give me a call to book your trip, Capt. Jake 615-613-2382 or email@example.com