TWRA Weekly Fishing Forecast

Dale Hollow

Forecast Contributor – Will Schibig, Region III Creel Clerk.

Reservoir Conditions– Lake elevation sits at 644’. Dale Hollow Dam is drawing on average 2,500 cfs daily. Water temperature ranges from a low of 50 degrees on the lower end, to a high of 55 degrees on the upper end. Turbid water can be found in the major river arms and varies between 4’ to 2.5’ in visibility. You can still find 12-15’ visibility from Willow Grove downstream towards the dam. Be very cautious for floating debris on the Wolf & Obey River arms. The recent cold fronts have hurt the active fish bite, pre-spawn fish have pulled out of the shallow waters.

Bass: Fishing is good. In the turbid water, the best bite is fishing chunk rock on main lake and creeks with crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and jigs in 4-10 FOW. On the lower end in clearer water, fish can still be caught suspended in creeks utilizing live-imaging sonar and a Damiki rig. Largemouth and Smallmouth are being caught in grass beds mid-lake using jigs and jerk baits.

Crappie: Fishing is great. Limits of crappie are still being caught in multiple ways reservoir wide. On the Obey & Wolf River arms, you can catch crappie on treetops in 20 FOW with jigs and minnows. On the upper end, the back ¼ of major creek arms are holding the crappie and baitfish. You can catch these fish with live-imaging sonar, fishing minnows and jigs on brush, or trolling crankbaits and jigs. Fish 10-20 FOW.

 Muskellunge: Fishing is good. Musky are being caught while trolling plugs mid-lake. Target islands, grass-beds, and points.

 Walleye: Fishing is good. The run is in full swing on the upper forks of the Obey. The main run can be found from Eastport Marina upstream to East Hwy 52 Bridge. Target deep holes from Compton boat ramp upstream with jigs or swimbaits. Strict regulations apply for the East Fork Obey River, from Compton Boat ramp upstream to the Hwy 52 bridge, only 5 walleye per day and a 16” minimum length limit (only one walleye over 20” per day.) The use of more than three rods, or a hook with more than one point is prohibited.

Douglas Lake

Forecast Contributor Brad Burkhart –  Follow on Facebook

Cold or not. Spring is here. Traps, cranks, and blades are the deal.

Here’s my early spring deal. Pick the major creeks like Muddy, Flat, McGuire…after that. Find the actual smaller creeks that feed the main creek. Start at the mouth and start winding a shallow crank bait. Any rock, or wood is key but really bait is the deal. After the warm rains these areas get slammed with bait and bass as well.

Most of these creeks or drains will have a deep side and a shallow side. Hit the deep with a crank or spinnerbait and go at the shallow with a lipless. Once you catch one, you’re liable to catch several.

Good luck. God Bless

Brad Burkhart @bradburkhartprofishing

Normandy Lake

Forecast Contributor Captain Jake Davis –  midsouthbassguide.comFollow on Facebook

TVA is starting to bring the water levels back up its 870.05 today with a forecast of 868.67 by the weekend.  Most anglers are using umbrella rigs and forward-looking live scope. Normandy has been producing some nice 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 3 to 8 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 56 to 58 degrees.  Please wear your life vest all the time while on the water, especially now that the water is below 60 degrees…

Percy Priest

Forecast Contributor Brian Carper – briancarper.comFollow on Facebook

Not sure how the bass have reacted to these cooler temperatures, but I can attest that the crappie have moved out of the shallows and locked up a bit. You can catch keepers and short fish on the upper end of the lake in four to eight feet of water, but you’ll find more crappie fishing deeper than 20ft. Standing timber on the upper end and mid-lake has been very successful! Tight lining minnows and Crappie Magnets in red and chartreuse along with green and chartreuse has been dominating in 15 to 35 ft of water. As the weather continues to stay a bit cooler the next 7 days the deeper bite should increase. I believe we’ll get a couple more weeks of winter fishing for bass and targeting quality, large mouths and small mouth in eight to 16 ft of water near the main channel.

Tims Ford

Forecast Contributor Captain Jake DavisFollow on Facebook

The weather is great and so is the fishing in Southern Middle Tennessee.  Lake temperatures are between 50 and 55.3 degrees and the lake level is jumping around some 879.70 and TVA is pulling down to 879.21 by Saturday.   Our primary focus remained along the main lake points and channel bends with laydowns.  Key was work the lures slow and fish an area thoroughly!  Sped Craw, Crankbait or Jig is good place to start. We did catch a few fish spread out on secondary points and around brush piles.

The best lures have been Crankbaits, Tightline Mussel Crawler jigs tipped with Twin Tail grubs mainly a reaction bite. Ned rigs and Texas Rigged creature baits, produced as well.  Crappie are on deep water docks, brush piles and treetops.  Stripe and rock fish are still can be found off points, on river channel bends with bucktail jigs, swimbaits and live bait.  Please wear your life vest all the time while on the water, especially now that the water is below 60 degrees… Give me a call to book your trip, Winter and Spring time fishing is the best on Tim’s…  Capt. Jake 615-613-2382 or [email protected]

 Watts Bar

Forecast Contributor – Nathan Rogers, Region III Creel Clerk.

Reservoir Conditions: The weather was clear and sunny most of the weekend. TVA is still spilling so water was turbulent below dams and current carried throughout the lake. The lake visibility is very low due to storms the previous week and high-water spilling. Water temperature is increasing throughout the lake causing fish to move to different areas than previous weeks. The water temperature is between 50.2 – 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Reservoir elevation is 737.1 feet. Discharge for Watts Bar Dam is around 60600 cfs. Discharge for Melton Hill Dam is around 15100 cfs. Fort Loudon Dam is around 40000cfs. The water visibility in the Tennessee river channel is 1.5 feet.

Bass: Overall, bass fishing has been relatively slow, but a few anglers are finding success fishing finesse techniques. Anglers are Using Rattle Traps, A-rigs, swimbaits, and live minnows on banks with brushy structure or rocks

Crappie: Fishing jigs/ Bobby Garlands and live minnows near channel banks, brush, creek inlets and under docks. Fish are typically in deeper water (30-40 feet) when fishing channel banks.

Catfish: Fishing cut bait on main river channel and creek channels.

Sauger/Walleye: Sauger/walleye on the upper end of the reservoir are still very successful fishing live minnows, jigs with twisters, and small swimbaits. The past few days the sauger fishing success plummeted though. Anglers are utilizing these baits drift fishing the main channel below Ft. Loudon Dam.

Striper: Use live bait on channel edge drop offs.

White Bass: Use small crankbaits, small swimbaits, and small jigs in current breaks on edges of main channel.

Forecast Contributor Captain Wallace SitzesFollow on Facebook

I’m seeing schools of crappie moving up and down the edges of the channel and stacking up in the mouths of coves. Early morning and right before dusk has been good in shallow structure for black crappie.  Mid to late day in deep water has been more productive for white crappie.  

When the shad are balled up tight it can be a lot easier to locate and pattern feeding bass.  When you see the shad scattered out all over the place it helps to target bottlenecks that funnel the baitfish into a tighter spot.  

Blue and channel catfish have been feeding in the coves pretty much all day long if there’s a lot of baitfish around. Using a big float helps keep your line above the stumps if you are fishing from the bank or a dock. Hard to beat fresh cut bait like shad. Flatheads and big blue cats have been hanging out in the channel usually close to deep structure.  Live bluegill or big fresh cut bait works great for those larger fish. 

Woods Reservoir

Forecast Contributor Captain Jake Davis – Follow on Facebook

 Bass and Crappie all can be found along old grass edges and along the rip rap banks.  We found our better fish while using Tightline Mussel Crawler jigs tipped with Twin Tail grubs, Tightline Swim Jigs with Driftwood Swimbaits, soft plastics, spinnerbaits and A-Rigs.  Best numbers came on a shaky head rigged finesse worm.  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 55 to 58 degrees.   Please wear your life vest all the time while on the water, especially now that the water is below 60 degrees.

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 [email protected] and provide us with your contact information.

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