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.
See more community fishing reports across all of Tennessee in the Fishbrain app! Click here to download: https://join.fishbrain.com/tennessee
Boone Reservoir - 9-20-23
Forecast Contributor – Richard Markland, Region 4 Fisheries Technician
Reservoir Conditions- Reservoir elevation is 1379.52. The water temperature is 75.1* degrees. Water clarity 10’ visibility.
Bass- Fishing is good - As the water cools the bite should pick up. Largemouth, Spots and Smallmouth are being caught on 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. Some LMB are being caught trolling plugs and live bait.
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’ 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 - 9-21-23
Upper region of the lake is very grassy with the Chatterbait and Swim Jig either in a shad pattern or bluegill pattern. The Big Swimbaits are starting to play as the big Gizzard Shad are moving in heavily. If you want to get bit with numbers downsize! If you want to swing for a big bite, then get a big bait and go to work.
The midsection of the lake was great on a Speed Worm and “The Jig” for me fishing the deeper grass edges normally what they are doing in that area kind of pertains the rest of the way down. The water temperature is ranging from 76-80. Water level is around 681.
Dale Hollow – 9-20-23
Forecast Contributor – Will Schibig, Region III Creel Clerk.
Lake elevation has leveled out at 641’. Dale Hollow Dam is generating, on average, 1,300 cfs per day. Water clarity has an average visibility of 7-12’ on the main lake. Up the Wolf & Obey River arms, water clarity drops to 3-5’. Surface water temperatures average 80 degrees during the day. Most shallow humps and islands are dry land now so be cautious while boating.
Bass-Fishing is good. Bass are being caught on shallow flats in 10-20’ on topwater during dawn/dusk and jigs during the day. Anglers are catching bigger bass with front-facing sonar in the middle of creeks on the lower end. These anglers are catching their fish in 20-25’ with Damiki-style jigs. Some bass are being caught shallow around gravel banks while chasing bait, these fish may be susceptible to square bills, flukes, or swimbaits.
Crappie- Fishing is slow. Crappie are being caught with front-facing sonar around brush on flats near deep water. The fish are being caught in 25 FOW on jigs. Crappie are averaging 10-12” with a few over 14”.
Trout- Fishing is slow. A few trout can be caught around the dam area in open water while trolling spoons or alewives in 25-40 FOW.
Walleye- Fishing is slow. Trolling crankbaits or nightcrawler harnesses over flats in 20-25’ with grass or near a channel is producing some fish.
Sunfish- Fishing is slow. Some sunfish have moved to brush in the middle of shallow creeks and bays. You can find decent redear sunfish around these brush piles.
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/__http://www.killerbassbaits.com__;!!PRtDf9A!qUfq5KZu6D7B6P38pzOVBBx9G6_ljw-G3vBCc0WUo5fom4Y_y9T5JTpWGZcXVhhGSYtWmHU46mZUMZJgGC5rkIizMmumHNU$
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 – 9-21-23
Forecast Contributor- Tic Smith/Southeastern Anglers Guide Service
Water temp – 68 to 72 (temps from 65 to 68 on upper river)
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- The cooler weather is starting to help. Fishing is still slow, but it is improving. We are just a couple of weeks away from the delayed harvest season which begins October 1st. The cooler water temps will allow TWRA to restock the river which will dramatically improve the fishing. The water is the coolest from Big Bend Parking lot up to the Powerhouse. Water temps are steadily dropping in this section of the river.
Hatches – Caddis in sizes 16 to 18 in olive and cinnamon / blue winged olives in sizes 18 to 20 / Isonychias #10 / hoppers, ants and beetles.
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 9-18-23
By Steve McCadams, Professional Guide/Outdoor Writer (email@example.com)
FALL OFFICIALLY ARRIVES…ANGLERS YEARN FOR COOLER DAYS/LOWER SURFACE TEMPS
Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene officially changes to autumn angling on Saturday says the calendar. Anglers are hoping for some cool fall weather to get here and stay here.
Lake levels this week continued a slow fall and elevation is down a few inches from last week at this time with a reading of 355.6 across the reservoir. Watercolor remains clear. TVA has been pulling a steady flow as forecasts indicate some 45,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) are moving through Kentucky Dam daily. That’s maintaining pretty good current for cat fishermen and main lake area bass and crappie anglers.
Surface temperatures are starting the morning out around 78 degrees and warming to 82 by midday. The long-range weather forecast indicates stable weather lies ahead with highs in the low 80’s most days and a slight chance of rain by Sunday or Monday. Fall has a reputation of stability and it’s starting out right on track. Anglers wouldn’t mind some cooler days and nights to lower the surface temperatures.
The crappie bite has been somewhat sluggish for most anglers yearning for lower surface temperatures. That might pull more numbers of larger fish to shallow to midrange depths. A lot of small fish have been caught by fishermen stalking stake beds and brush piles in depths of 6 to 10 feet. Finding decent numbers of crappie that exceed the 10-inch minimum length limit in that depth zones has been tough. Lots of smaller fish have moved up but bigger fish remain a challenge.
Even some deeper ledges and structure out on main lake flats has been reluctant to give up decent number of big fish at times. Some boaters are fishing live minnow presentations or tipping jigs with minnows while others are vertical fishing jigs around deep cover. Battling the aggressive schools of yellow bass has been all part of the fall fishing equation as the bait stealers are abundant at times. They are small in size but possess a huge appetite.
Meanwhile, a few boats targeting deeper structure out on main lake areas have managed to find a few good size in the 13-to-17-foot depth range. Most say they had to make a lot of stops to accumulate numbers as not many fish were schooling around the deep cover. That scenario should improve in the days and weeks ahead. A little drop in surface temperatures can trigger increased activity by both schools of shad and the crappie who pursue them. Some cloudy or rainy mornings would help the shallow bite as well.
Catfish continue to move up and slowly leave those deep summer hideouts as fall advances. Tying into a few catfish has been the norm lately for crappie fishermen as they work the midrange depths of 12 to 15 feet. Meanwhile, there’s still good current out on the main river channel these days and that has maintained a decent bite among the ranks of cat fishermen working the banks of the main river channel. Depths of 25 to 35 feet were still giving up good numbers of blue and channel catfish. Nightcrawlers, chicken livers and cut bait were producing.
The bass bite has been inconsistent for most as establishing patterns has been tough. There have been a few fish chasing shad in the backs of larger bays as they mix with white bass activity. Tossing Rattle Trap style lures in chrome colors have produced at times. Rooster Tails have worked good on the white bass. Activity along shallow gravel banks has not worked well as of late, but that bite should improve soon as it’s time for bass to move up and occupy such areas, especially in early morning and late afternoons. Anglers tossing swim baits, Carolina rigs and Texas rig presentations as well as those still offering big deep diving shad-colored crankbaits are managing to catch a few fish.
Some nice smallmouth are showing up at times in the creel of anglers fishing finesse baits on deeper humps and main lake ledges along the river channel.
Some white bass schooling activity is taking place and the fish are busting the surface on calm days in their pursuit of shad schools.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Norris Lake – 9-19-23
Forecast Contributor – Paul Shaw, Norris Creel Clerk.
Water Temp: 74 to 80 degrees
Water Clarity: 4 to 6 feet, good color.
Water Elevation: 1,013.74 feet (midnight) The lake level dropped about a foot since last week. TVA’s Operating Guide predicts the elevation to be 1,010.2 by October 1. Check the free TVA Lake Info app for daily elevations, predictions, and flow rates.
Summary: Cooler weather leads many to believe that Fall fishing is in process. However, the lake water is still warm; Fall fishing lags the weather we feel. Most species are still in the summer pattern.
Largemouth Bass: Slow on the lower end, better on the upper half of the reservoir. Improving. On sunny days, fish shade-producing structure on moderately sloped broken rock shorelines. Early morning, before the sunlight hits the water, and night catches, are being made in shallower coves and points. Drop shot rigs, pig ‘n jigs, Brush Hawgs, Carolina Rigged lizards on the points and near structure from 5 to 20 feet. Some are coming in on deep crankbaits.
Smallmouth Bass: Fair. 5 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, but a few have been taken on the lower end. Pig ‘n jigs, drop shot rigs, Brush Hogs, live shiners have produced. Early morning topwater catches, if you can find undisturbed water, are hit ‘n miss where surface baitfish are seen. Lower boat traffic since Labor Day has helped.
Walleye: No change except for depth if trolling. 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 Thunder sticks or Red Fins to 35 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.
Bluegill: Still 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: Moderate. Fish the back of larger creeks or in shallow coves next to 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.
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.
Striped Bass: Slow but improving. Dawn to about 9:30 a.m. on sunny days. The Loyston Sea area, the mouth of Lost Creek, the islands near Hickory Star. The channel from Point 19 to Stardust Marina’s vicinity as well as a few in Big Creek near Racetrack Hollow. Cove Creek remains slow. 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. Surface action where baitfish are seen in early morning or late afternoon is slow. The reduced number of boats since Labor Day is helping.
Percy Priest - 9-21-23
Crappie on Percy Priest are becoming more aggressive. After last week's high north and east winds when the bite was tough.... the crappie are now turning on a bit. Shallower brush piles are starting to produce in 8-12ft. Minnows fished 2 to 3' off the bottom along with casting Crappie Magnet jigs in mermaid have been productive on 1/16oz jig heads. The upper end of the lake has been the most productive for us and will continue as we move into fall. The water temperature is 73ﾟ in the mornings.
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/tyler.finley.750
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 temperature 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, and 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 email@example.com.
Watts Bar Reservoir – Sept. 18th – Sept. 20th, 2023
Forecast Contributor – Nathan Rogers, Region III Creel Clerk
The weather was fair with partial cloud cover throughout the week. Temperatures were around the mid to upper 50’s at night and reaching as high as 81. 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, but water temps are dropping throughout the lake. Water level is at normal summer pool.
- Tennessee River (below Fort Loudon Dam): 74.3 degrees Fahrenheit
- Tennessee River (main lake): 76.4 degrees Fahrenheit
- Tennessee River (main lake): 4 feet
- Tennessee River (below Fort Loudon Dam): 4 feet
Water Level: 740.7 feet
Water Flow: (as of September 20th)
- Watts Bar Dam: ~47250 cfs
- Melton Hill Dam: ~6100 cfs
- Fort Loudon Dam: ~22400 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 warmer, fishing 6-8 inch straight-tail worms in 7-15 feet deep water off creek and inlet banks. Some also found success with ned rigs on main channel banks and structure.
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.
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.
Wilbur Tailwater - 9-20-23
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org