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 and provide us with your contact information.

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Boone Reservoir - 5-8-24

Forecast Contributor – Richard Markland, Region 4 Fisheries Technician

Reservoir Conditions- Reservoir elevation is 1381.23. The water temperature is 71* degrees. Water clarity 5’ visibility.

Bass- Good- Largemouth, Spots and are being caught on crank baits, jerk baits, Jigs and soft plastic finesse baits (worms, creature baits) up shallow on rocky banks and bluffs.

Crappie- Good – Crappie are in the creeks/coves, in and around docks pitching and vertical fishing small artificial baits in 15’-25’ deep.

Trout- No Report

Striped Bass/Hybrid Bass- Fishing is Good. Most of the fish are being caught Davis Dock upstream to Bluff City area on Holston side and Sonnys Marina area up to Knob Creek area trolling spoons and Shad.

Center Hill – 5-15-24

Forecast Contributor – Will Schibig, Region III Creel Clerk.

Reservoir Conditions-

After being at almost full capacity, the water levels are starting to fall at 1-2 feet per day. The current water level is 658’ at the writing of this report but it should continue to drop to closer to summer pool (~650’). A reminder that Center Hill’s main use is a flood storage lake for the Cumberland river. Like most of these tributary reservoirs, there isn’t a rush to drain the lake and flood the Nashville Basin. Expect the water levels to continue to drop through the weekend into next week before its back to normal. Center Hill Dam has been sluicing 13,900 cfs each day, and will continue to do so until the water levels are stable again. The water clarity is still fairly clean from Mine Lick downstream, 6-8’ visibility. The upper part of the river has turbid water and the most floating debris. Surface water temperatures have remained stable, around 72-75 degrees. Be very cautious of floating debris picked up from the rising waters. High generation from Great Falls Dam will make very dangerous conditions downstream in the Rock Island area. Use common sense in these situations and do not put yourself or others in danger.

Bass- Fishing is slow. All fishing during rising water can be very tough. With water levels falling, look for areas where fish will pull out of the flooded timber like offshore brush piles or the outer edges of the flooded structure. With CH dam pulling this much water, point or humps will hold bass positioned to ambush baitfish. jerk baits, swim baits, or topwater over these areas may produce good fishing. Steeper banks will be less effected by the rising water and result in a more consistent bite.

Crappie- Fishing is slow. Like everything else, the fish are scattered. Try locating fish on brush piles outside of the flooded timber in deeper water.

Sunfish- Fishing is slow. Where sunfish beds used to be in 3-5 FOW is now in 10-20’. If you can remember where they used to be you could try these areas, but in general it is going to be very tough in these conditions. Newly flooded structure like trash cans and porta-johns may hold fish.

Chickamauga Reservoir May 10th – May 13th 2024

Forecast Contributor – Nathan Rogers, Region III Creel Clerk

The weather was warm and sunny throughout the weekend with mornings being a bit chillier than the last few weeks. Most of the State experienced a very strong weather event causing flooding and debris throughout the lake. The water temps throughout the lake are still climbing with water temperatures in the main river being much cooler than creeks/inlets due to amount of current. Visibility in creeks is also much lower than the main river channel. The water levels were in flood stages to start the weekend but are now starting to lower back to normal full pool; the latest depth I recorded is below. For any discharge or lake elevation info, check out the TVA Lake Info App.

Reservoir Conditions

Water Temp:

-                      Tennessee River (Lower Section): 75.7 degrees Fahrenheit

-                      Tennessee River (Upper Section): 69.5 degrees Fahrenheit

Water Clarity:

-                      Tennessee River (River Channel): 3 feet

-                      Creeks/Inlets: 2 feet

Water Level: 681.83 feet

Water Flow: (as of May 13th)

-                      Watts Bar Dam: ~ 47860 cfs (spilling)

-                      Chickamauga Dam: ~ 53280 cfs (spilling)

Observed Species Information

Bass: Fishing is fair. Anglers seemed to get more bites fishing humps/ledges off of main river and creek channels. Shad colored baits seem to be the most utilized of anglers surveyed. Many anglers are also finding success on lay downs and flats throwing spinner baits, chatter baits and also finesse techniques (Wacky, Texas, and Drop shot).

Crappie: Fishing is slow. Crappie are being found in deeper creek channels around lay downs. Some are being found around docks in backs of creeks as well.

Catfish: Fishing is fair. Using live/cut bait on river channel below dam in current.

Chickamauga - 5-15-24

Forecast Contributor – Billy Wheat, Follow on Facebook - and  

Chickamauga water elevation is 682. The water temperature is 68-73. The shell beds bite is a big worm and a swim bait. The grass is swim jig and Chatter bait shallow. The top water bite is better with a walking bait and a Pop-R. Watch for schoolers on the river bars it happens fast so be ready mostly in 5-7 feet. The wacky worm is just killing em in 2-4 feet around any grass or shallow docks. The shad are grouping heavy in 10-20 feet so the scope and a minnow bait is great around deep creek mouths and channel swing banks.

Douglas Lake 5-2-24

Forecast Contributor Brad Burkhart –  Follow on Facebook

The spawn is upon us. These are the days can be awesome or awful. I have a two-step approach that will hopefully get you more good than bad.

Pre-spawn. Now this is relative to the areas you’re in. Pre-spawn bass can be staging on steep rocky banks, or they can be 200yds offshore on a long bar….

You have to consider where you are and fish accordingly.

Steep banks? It’s hard to beat a spinner bait or Jerk bait….

Long offshore stuff? Nothing beats a Carolina rig Step two Spawn. It’s actually easy, run as many pockets or bays that are protected and facing north as you can with a wacky rigged Senko or trick worm.

Good luck everyone.

And God Bless!

Brad Burkhart

Killer Bass Pro Guide Service


Hiwassee River below Appalachia Powerhouse – 5-15-24

Forecast Contributor- Tic Smith/Southeastern Anglers Guide Service

River Conditions –Water clarity – clear to stained depending on generation

Water temps – 62 degrees

Fishing improved after the big rain event 9nce the water began to clear

The best flies to use are standard #14 - #18 bead head nymphs like pheasant tails and prince nymphs. Sulphurs and Pale evening duns along with light cahills are  beginning to hatch. Parachutes and emergers from size #14 to #18 will produce during these hatches. Yellow Sallies will be emerging very soon. We are seeing caddis intermittently but the huge “Mothers Day Caddis hatch hasn’t occurred yet. During hours of generation, larger streamers are worth trying. The fish are very aggressive and a large streamer can produce a trophy fish.

Kentucky Lake 5-9-24

By Steve McCadams, Professional Guide/Outdoor Writer (


Lake levels on Kentucky Lake are receding and headed back to normal summer pool elevation. That’s good news to most anglers and pleasure boaters as the Memorial Holiday weekend, the unofficial kickoff of the summer season nears. The reservoir crested earlier this week after rising more than 2 ½ feet above summer pool in the aftermath of a series of thunderstorms that swept across the TVA valley. By the approaching weekend the lake should be back to normal summer pool level of 359. Water color is clearing in most areas as the lake recedes. Surface temperatures have been in the 73 to 75 degree range.

Despite dealing with a lot of variables—from wind, thunderstorms and changing lake levels--- the bite has held up well for several species such as the bluegill and catfish spawning phases plus post spawn crappie. The bass bite is okay too as their post spawn phase in underway. Hefty stringers of bluegill have been taken lately as anglers toss light spinning tackle toward shallow shoreline weed beds and buck bushes. Depths of 2 to 6 feet are holding bedding bluegill and a few redear sunfish (shellcracker).

Baits of choice have been crickets, wax worms and red worms plus night crawlers. Most anglers are using slip bobbers to help regulate depth and detect light strikes but some are tossing small grubs and hair jigs in the 1/32-ounce size without a bobber while adding a small lead split shot to assist the cast. Battling big bull bluegill on ultralight tackle armed with 6 to 8-pound test line is quite a thrill. Kids love the action and so do a lot of us old folks! Tipping the tiny jigs with a wax worm or cricket helps stimulate strikes. Dragging the bait presentation across the spawning craters of bluegill is a deadline technique.

Another full moon arrives on the calendar May 23rd which should see a surge in bedding activity by bluegill and shellcracker. The last few weeks have been good and odds the bite will last into early June.

The catfish bite has held up well during the changing lake levels. Fish seemed to move up as the water was rising and have dropped back slightly on rocky banks and rip-rap levees or shorelines as waters receded. Dandy coolers of catfish have been taken by anglers using mostly night crawlers for bait but several commercial baits have produced as have homemade concoctions offered by veteran cat fishermen.

Post spawn crappie are known to be somewhat scattered and finicky but some anglers have managed to land decent stringers at times by fishing deeper brush piles and stake beds. Depths of 11 to 15 feet have been yielding a few fish. The crappie bite will likely improve even more in the next few weeks as more fish return to a structure oriented pattern.

Bass fishermen have had a broad menu of opportunity lately as lake levels jumped up high and inundated shoreline buck brush, weed beds and willow trees. Tossing a spinner bait has worked well as have Texas rigged craws, lizards and worms in the pumpkin-pepper and green pumpkin-pepper colors. Cotton candy and motor-oil sporting gold metal flake have also been popular color selections. For bass anglers fishing main lake ledges current has entered the picture the last few days as TVA pulls water after flooding rains. That should benefit some of the humps and ledges as bass pull offshore in their post-spawn phase.

Kentucky Lake’s fluctuation threw a curve to not only anglers but scores of lakefront property owners concerned about boat docks and piers. Shoreline erosion is another factor when the lake gets high and strong winds blow in. Also of concern are farming operations in low lying areas such as state and federal wildlife refuges. Flooding backwaters prohibit planting for winter waterfowl crops, another negative impact from swelling lake stages.

High water has a rippling effect on a lot of things. Hopefully the crazy weather patterns will soon settle down and normalcy will return.

Nickajack Lake - 4-17-24

Forecast Contributor Ethan Castle – Whitwell High School Bass Team

Water temps have been reaching in the 70 and 72 degrees range these past few days. The majority of the bass are pulling up on beds and some post spawners but there are still a few pre-spawners. If you are going to sight fish any white craw Texas rigged has worked for me or a pink trick worm. I have still been catching a bunch on grass lines in the 7 foot or less range leading into spawning flats. Mainly throwing a Chatterbait in a shad color and on the days that the water gets dirty I will switch to a chartreuse and white with a gold blade. On the tougher days I have been throwing a Texas rigged craw with a 1/4 oz weight in a blue craw color and fishing really slow.

Norris Lake - 4-30-24

Forecast Contributor Paul Shaw – TWRA Creel Clerk

Water conditions are clear throughout the reservoir with the exception of creeks stained by locally heavy rainfall events.

Water temperature: 65 degrees, surface, in the channels with some protected creeks approaching 70 on sunny days.

Water elevation: 1,014.4 feet above sea level. Steady with minor fluctuations.

Smallmouth bass are in the middle of a spawn, with some already having spawned out. They’re being caught on the moderately sloped banks where whiter-colored gravel is seen; 5 to 15 feet deep (bottom depth). Post spawn fish are moving to deeper water on the bluffs and broken rock banks. Those anglers fishing for walleye with plugs or shad/alewife cast to the banks at night are getting more smallmouth than walleye.

Largemouth bass are pre-spawn with a few exceptions (fish don’t read our “rules”). Early mornings are seeing some good topwater action on buzz baits, jerk baits, and topwater plugs. Crankbaits and assorted jerk baits are taking the bulk of these. Catches have not been as numerous as smallmouth. Expect to see these fish roaming the shallows as the month progresses and the water warms toward the spawning season.

Walleye are hitting well at night, in the dark of the moon, along shorelines on the lower end. Alewife or shad, snagged under lights and cast to the banks, as well as Redfins, Shad Raps, and similar lures are catching some the same way. Some of these fish are approaching and exceeding the 20-inch size. The headwater spawn is over, with a few stragglers being caught upriver.

Shellcrackers (redear sunfish) are hitting in the shallows where there are button bush or willow shrubs. They’re also being caught where there are the abundant, yellow flowers along the shoreline by those fishing with red worms (better than nightcrawlers for these fish), small minnows, and wax worms. Small spinners worked along the bottom can be effective.

Striped bass have been hitting well, especially at night, in the Loyston to Hickory Star section and in the channel near Point 19. The upper end of the larger creek embayments have had some catches: Cove Creek, Big Creek, and Davis Creek.

Normandy Lake - 4-18-24

Forecast Contributor Captain Jake DavisFollow on Facebook

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 875.13 and headed up to 875.75 by Sunday morning. This will pit lots of floating trash and logs in the water, please use caution.  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 springtime 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 63 to 68 degrees.  Please wear your life vest all the time while on the water. Capt. Jake 615-613-2382 or

Percy Priest – 5-16-24

Forecast Contributor Brian Carper - - Follow on Facebook

The last few days on Percy Priest Lake the water has dropped quickly! The bass have been shallow in 1 to 5' of water throughout the lake and being caught on frogs, spinner baits and soft plastics. Shallow boulder rocks and gravel have been productive, but now that the water is over the bank... flooded vegetation and trees have been productive. The water temperature is 67-72°.

With the warmer temperatures the crappie spawn is wrapping up and large concentrations of crappie are moving out into 10-20' of water. Brush piles on the upper and middle areas of the lake are holding many crappie. Tight lining minnows 2 to 4' off the bottom has been successful in addition to casting 1/8oz jigs from 25' away. Red and chartreuse has been the most productive Crappie Magnet color for us. As the warm weather continues we'll see more crappie moving out deeper.

For more information or Book your trip today at

Pickwick - 4-16-24

Forecast Contributor Tyler Finley – Follow on Facebook:

The fish are finally spawning! Fish are being caught right now in creeks around structure in 2-5ft of water. Yellow creek and Waterloo have been putting out some quality fish. These will be caught on a shakey head and jig. When going into a creek look for shallow structure and flip as close as possible to it. This bite will last for a few weeks.

South Holston River - 3-26-24

Forecast Contributor Jimmy Cheers

Tailwater Condition

Water temperature is holding around 48 degrees throughout the day.  Water is gin clear.  Not much generation this week, TVA is forecasting three to four hours of generation throughout the day.  The upper section, from Emmit Bridge to Big Springs Boat Ramp, is producing the best fishing.

Trout Fishing

Numbers can be caught on fly tackle with smaller flies.  Smaller flies that are working are midges, Blue Wing Olive, and scud patterns in the size 18 to 20 range.

Tims Ford - 4-17-24

Forecast Contributor Captain Jake DavisFollow on Facebook

There is no better time than now to go fishing in Tennessee! The weather is great fish are biting! Our best fish came on Ned Rigs and ½ ounce Tightline Green Tequila Jig this week work around brush piles in 2 to 12 feet of water.   Overall numbers are great at 20-40 fish per day and quality improved this past week as well.  Presentations were Ned Rig, 4-inch Grub, Texas Rigged and Carolina rigged soft plastics, Tightline Mussel Crawler jigs tipped with Twin Tail grub.   Stripe and rock fish are on river channel bends with bucktail jigs, swimbaits and live bait. I’ve been told by reliable sources that walleye and stripe are being caught below Woods Dam from the bank.  

Please use caution as the lake levels are rising and falling with the rains as the TVA tries to hold the lake at or near the guide curve, there is lots of floating objects.  Current lake level is 884.11 with a forecasted level remain close to 885.65 over the weekend.  Water temps between 63 and 68 degrees on most of the lake.  Best ramps are Tims Ford Marina, Bass Club at Winchester City Park, State Park, Lost Creek, Turkey Creek and Devils Step at Fairview. Please wear your life vest all the time while on the water and watch for floating logs.  Capt. Jake 615-613-2382 or

Watts Bar - 5-15-24

Forecast Contributor – Billy Wheat, Follow on Facebook - and

Watts Bar water elevation is 740. Water temperature is 69-72. The flood water has subsided and the current has eased. With these events taking place we have two things that are happening the gizzard shad are trying to spawn so the bigger swim bait is great 5-7 inch around trees and docks. The bluegill and Shellcrackers are trying to spawn so the shallow wacky rig Senko is great. The shad in the 12-20 ft range is great for scoping with a 3-4 inch minnow bait. The brush and trees in 8-15 feet of water is a jig and ole monster worm. Never count out the grass bite the Swim Jig and Swimming Worm on top of the grass and the Carolina Rig on the edges.

Watts Bar 4-16-24

Forecast Contributor Captain Wallace SitzesFollow on Facebook

I fished for multiple species each day for the past week, and it was like a different lake every day.  The big bass were gorging on shad around shallow rock piles, but then the gar started spawning hard and pushed everything off into deeper water. My regular big bass spots are still holding fish, but a lot of smaller ones so I know this heat wave has sent a lot of them into pre- spawn and spawning.  They are holding on semi deep structure around 8 - 15 feet and will work the shad until they get pushed deeper and the bass tend to fallow them out to the edge of the channel.  Luckily, they don't seem to be ranging far from their normal feeding spots.  I use side imaging and look for baitfish being busted apart or corralled up.  You will see holes or half-moon shapes in the schools of baitfish and that will be your bass.  These fish seem to be pretty hungry even in the heat of the day so don't be afraid to fish lures fast and aggressively.  

When I'm crappie fishing, I've been finding a lot of clusters of them still roaming around with seemingly no real pattern or depth preference. They have been changing their mind a lot though.  I pulled about 40 crappie in one tree and then only a fish or two the next couple days in the same spot. You can hop spot to spot and pull a couple off each tree but what I look for is a bunch of dinner plate sized shadows with my side imaging and try not to run the structure over especially if it’s in less than 20 feet of water.  If I can I try to stay at least a boat length away from my target and cast a 1/8 oz jig or use a minnow with a slip float. They usually bite very fast and once they shut down just go ahead and move on.  I've also tried to find structure that doesn't have really big fish around them.  I'm not sure if it's striper or catfish but once they move in the crappie shut down completely. 

The catfish and striper can just about always be targeted here throughout the year but if you are planning a trip just for them, I would definitely wait until we get some more water flow.  Once that water starts cranking, they will stack up on the edge of the channel in about 40+ feet of water and be much easier to catch. 

If you aren't picky and just want to catch fish, The white bass are schooling up and following the baitfish around. They are easy to spot with sonar. They look almost like a ball of crappie but will be packed tighter together and have less definition.  Early morning and just before sundown you might find them busting bait on the surface.   Look for birds diving and a lot of splashing on the surface. They will eat just about anything but love white jigs, small spoons and minnows. I wouldn't suggest anchoring up or using multiple rods because sometimes the striper are mixed in with them and if you hook one on light tackle, you're probably going to have to chase it down to prevent getting spooled.

Remember to take plenty of drinks with you in this heat even if you only plan on being out for a little bit.  I towed an older gentleman in yesterday that was nearly on the brink of death because his engine broke down and his short morning trip turned into a 12-hour trip. 

Wilbur Tailwater - 5-8-24

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, Streamers.

Woods Reservoir 4-17-24

Forecast Contributor Captain Jake Davis – Follow on Facebook

Not much change on Woods Reservoir, Old Grass lines and Brush have been 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 bait.   We found our better fish in 1 to 5 foot of water using Texas Rigged D-Bombs from Missile Baits and Tightline Mussel Crawler jigs tipped with Twin Tail grubs, soft plastics, and A-Rigs. Some fish are starting to cruse the shallows feeding for the spring.  Drifting or 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 63 and 66 degrees.   Please wear your life vest all the time while on the water… Give me a call to book your trip, Late Spring and Summer fishing can be lots of fun on Woods. Capt. Jake 615-613-2382 or

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