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 - 5-22-24

Forecast Contributor – Richard Markland, Region 4 Fisheries Technician

Reservoir Conditions- Reservoir elevation is 1381.80. The water temperature is 74* degrees. Water clarity 5-10’ visibility.

Bass- Fair- Largemouth, Spots and are being caught mostly on Jigs and soft plastic finesse baits (worms, creature baits) in deeper water on rocky banks and bluffs.

Crappie- No Report

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 Sonny’s Marina area up to Knob Creek area trolling spoons and Shad.

Center Hill – 5-22-24

Forecast Contributor – Will Schibig, Region III Creel Clerk.

Reservoir Conditions-

Center hill water levels are finally back to normal with reservoir elevation currently sitting at 647’. Center Hill Dam has also finally started generating at normal outputs with the average being 11,000 cfs for the last few days. Surface water temperatures have warmed up from the mid 70s to the high 70s and low 80s. Water clarity is fairly clear with 8-10’ visibility being the average. Be cautious of floating debris and trash mats in the bends of the river channel on the upper end of the reservoir.

Bass- Fishing is slow. The day bite is slow with the best bite transitioning to night. In the early mornings, fish are active in the twilight period chasing bait around main lake structure. Fish top water, jerk baits, or swim baits around these active fish. The bass that were in the flooded structure are moving out but you could still catch some in the flooded trees by flipping a jig or top water.

Sunfish- Fishing is slow. The big move to bed was ruined by the high water, but over the next few weeks some sunfish will move back shallow to spawn. Look for gravel banks with overhanging willow, or the backs of creeks.

Chickamauga Reservoir May 16th – May 19th 2024

Forecast Contributor – Nathan Rogers, Region III Creel Clerk

The weather was warm and sunny throughout the weekend with storms blowing in Saturday evening. 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 are now 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): 75.0 degrees Fahrenheit

-                      Hiwassee River: 75.7 degrees Fahrenheit

Water Clarity:

-                      Tennessee River (River Channel): 3 feet

-                      Hiwassee River: 2 feet

-                      Creeks/Inlets: 2 feet

Water Level: 682.2 feet

Water Flow: (as of May 19th)

-                      Watts Bar Dam: ~ 25306 cfs

-                      Chickamauga Dam: ~ 26741 cfs

-                      Ocoee #1 Dam: ~2708 cfs

-                      Apalachia Dam: ~2845 cfs

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).

Catfish: Fishing is fair. Using live/cut bait on river channel below dam in current. Anglers using jugs for fishing seem to be most successful.

White Bass: Fishing is good. Fishing same flats/ledges as Black bass species throwing small crank baits.

Walleye: Fishing is slow. In the upper portion of Hiwassee River, anglers are finding bites trolling crank baits in river channel.

Chickamauga - 5-22-24

Forecast Contributor – Billy Wheat, Follow on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/riprapfishingadventures and www.riprapfishing.net

Chickamauga is 683 full! The water temperature is 75-82. The shell beds are loaded on the shallow ones 8-12 the big worm and 5xd are great. The deeper ones the 6xd to 10xd are great you just have to get to them. The 3/4 ounce scrounger head with a fluke style bait is great. Keep a Top water on cause these bass will blow up at any time. Watch for big gizzards in areas and don’t be afraid to throw a 6-8 inch Swim bait.

Your electronics are critical so have them tuned up before you go out. Don’t forget the FFS and minnow baits. The old trusty jig is a must the 3/4 ounce football jig is a big fish bait. The bluffs are great to glide especially if there’s current. Back bays and creek swings with wood are great with the big worm. Bream beds are great to target with Senkos and Frogs.

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

@bradburkhartprofishing

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 5-23-24

By Steve McCadams, Professional Guide/Outdoor Writer (stevemc@charter.net)

CATFISH BITE IMPROVES AS CURRENT INCREASES…BLUEGILL BITE OKAY/POST-SPAWN CRAPPIE SHOWING UP AS BASS MOVE OFF BANKS

Severe thunderstorms dropped a lot of rain this week around the Kentucky/Tennessee border region of Kentucky Lake, sending fisherman and recreational boaters back to shore in search of shelter several days. It has been a topsy-turvy weather pattern as of late but some anglers are still riding it out and finding fish.

Lake levels this week have stayed around the normal summer pool level of 359 but watch for some fluctuation as the reservoir may see some rising levels in the aftermath of repeated storms. Surface temperatures are in the 73 to 75 degree range. Dingy water color has entered the picture in some areas due to runoff.

The catfish bite has shown a surge in activity the last week or two with additional current out along the main Tennessee River channel. That increased flow as TVA has pushed a lot of water through the system stimulated the bite and anglers responded quickly. Nice stringers have been taken the last two weeks out on the channel areas as anglers used mostly nightcrawlers for bait and worked the 30 to 40 foot depth range. With moving water comes more bait fish activity so that has been the kicker. Some catfish are still lingering around shallow shorelines as bluegill fishermen are tying into one now and then while fishing bream beds.

Bluegill have been biting pretty good and some bedding phases were still underway but the bite seem to diminish a bit this past week compared to the previous week. Still plenty out there to be caught but it’s not unusual to see them begin to leave some bedding areas as late May rolls around.

TWRA Kentucky Lake creel clerk Michael Parker called me earlier this week reporting sightings of early  mayfly hatches up the Big Sandy. Normally the big hatches don’t show up until the second week or so of June. Not many shellcracker have been taken lately as their peak spawning has already occurred back in April and early May. Still a few hanging around but scattered.

Post spawn crappie have been hitting for some anglers who target mid-range depths of 9 to 15 feet. Some fish were reported taken even deeper. They scatter somewhat but can still be taken by accomplished anglers finding structure in mid-range areas and willing to make a lot of stops.

Bass fishermen are not only finding a few fish lingering along shoreline habitat but some have backed off the banks and now favoring the secondary humps and sloping ledges in main lake sectors. Tossing a crank bait has been popular as anglers attempt to cover a lot of water in their quest to locate main lake fish. Texas rigged craws and worms have worked too as have Carolina rigs and swim baits.

At the same time the ledge bite improves there will also be increased activity along river island rims and shoreline treetops where schools of pin minnows will soon begin to show up. The massive hatch of shad fry schools really lure bass to buck bushes, weed beds and treelaps where tossing spinner baits and Texas rigged worms will produce. Find the bait fish schools and you’ll find some bass activity.

Although spring is still the official season Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene slowly begins to transcend toward summer patterns as surface temps rise.

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 Chatter bait 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 top water action on buzz baits, jerk baits, and top water plugs. Crank baits 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.  Crank baits, Texas Rigs or Tightline Jigs have been our go to.  We found several really nice bass using Crank baits at the end of points in 4 to 10 feet of water.

Walleye can be caught trolling crank baits 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 msbassguide@comcast.net

Percy Priest – 5-23-24

Forecast Contributor Brian Carper - briancarper.com - Follow on Facebook

The last few days on Percy Priest have been very interesting for crappie. While we were catching healthy amounts of slabs mid and down lake several days ago.....the bite diminished some. We had a couple days with 20 to 30 keepers and then it was tough to get 8-10 the following days. At that time the lake was up several feet with a lot of current in the main channel. Since then the lake has dropped almost to summer pool and they've nearly closed the dam. While the mid and down like bite suffered, we found healthy amounts of quality crappie on the stake beds on the upper end of the lake.

Casting 1/16 ounce Crappie Magnet jigs in red/chartreuse and mermaid we boated a dozen keepers one day. The interesting part is the poles that were in the most current(near the channel) where the most productive for us. Typically the fish get out of the current where they can sit still. With the dam nearly closed now the brush piles throughout the lake in 10 to 20ft should be more productive. Tight lining minnows or casting jigs will be your ticket. The water clarity has been normal with 1 - 1.5ft and ranging between 74 and 79°.

For more information or Book your trip today at www.briancarper.com

Pickwick - 4-16-24

Forecast Contributor Tyler Finley – Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tyler.finley.750

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 https://www.mtnsportsltd.com/fly-fishing.htm

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 msbassguide@comcast.net

Watts Bar - 5-22-24

Forecast Contributor – Billy Wheat, Follow on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/riprapfishingadventures and www.riprapfishing.net

Watts Bar elevation is 740. The water temperature is 75-80. Fire those electronics up 12-25 feet get the big plugs and deep Swimbaits out! When you find them put the FFS on them and have fun the offshore bite is on ! Look for these fish just off the main channel where large bays and deep creek channels meet the the main points.

Don’t forget the spinning rods with your favorite minnow bait have two rigged from 3/16 to 3/8 with a 3-4 minnow style bait. For those of you that like the big worm bite the deeper banks 10-20 feet will be the bite on the wood. For the shallow bite the wacky worm and walking baits including a frog will work great around the bream beds. For the flippers find those docks in 3-12 a white jig and a bluegill colored jig 3/8 to 1/2 ounce will get you bit.

Watts Bar 8-23-24

Forecast Contributor Captain Wallace SitzesFollow on Facebook

Multiple species are going on and off the beds right now. We've had no water flow and the water still hasn't reached full pool yet.  Until the water gets higher and stays consistent the crappie, bass, bluegill, shellcracker and numerous species of catfish will be going on and off the beds.  The constant changes in depth isn't natural and it really confuses the fish.  It also forces them to spawn fast and all at once so they might lay or hatch eggs, but have to leave their beds over night or during a hot day or just when the weather changes from cloudy to sunny. 

At the same time the swarms of small bait fish are moving in so they just gorge on them early morning, late in the afternoon or just whatever time TVA decides to pump some water for a little bit.  If you put your time in you will find and catch just about whatever species you are targeting, but don't expect to just go slaughter fish.  

The crappie bite has been really good on the good days and really bad on the bad days even if the weather and water conditions don't change. You just have to put your time in and find them. Usually the most productive spots are the ones that no one else is fishing.  Most of my bigger crappie lately have been on large live baits 3 - 4" or jigs tipped with minnows.  Don't expect to just sit in one spot all day and catch a lot of fish.  You have to cover some water. 

Catfish, striper and white bass are gorging on shad,  but they will be sporadic.  They will be a lot more predictable once the water starts flowing. 

Wilbur Tailwater - 5-22-24

Forecast Contributor – Richard Markland, Region 4 Fisheries Technician

Tailwater Conditions- Tailwaters elevation 1585.75. Avg discharge is 240 cfs. 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 msbassguide@comcast.net

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