Boone and Watauga fishing reports will be discontinued while the creel clerk completes military assignments.
CHEROKEE RESERVOIR: The creel clerk that alternates between Cherokee and Douglas has retired. It has not been determined when that position will be filled. At this time there are no reports available.
DOUGLAS RESERVOIR: The creel clerk that alternates between Cherokee and Douglas has retired. It has not been determined when that position will be filled. At this time there are no reports available.
FORT LOUDOUN RESERVOIR: 10/22/09
The predicted water level above the dam is about 812.50 ft. above sea level, which is down about a tenth over last week. Surface temperatures are dropping and are now ranging from the high 60’s to the low to mid 70’s. The water has taken on a very dingy almost muddy look, and there seems to be an over abundance of sticks and even some huge logs floating just about everywhere. It looks as though most of the debris in the lake has washed out from the banks because of the high water from last week.
Everybody is catching fish right now, from the catfish anglers to the pan fishers. The water temperatures are just about perfect for any kind of fishing you want to do. The crappies are still biting very well. The boathouses are the place to find them. Boathouses are very good structure for crappies and you’ll also find some nice bass under them too. Small minnow imitating lures are doing really well. Live minnows are very hard to beat when it comes to some very nice keeper crappies. The cooler water is contributing to some nice stringers of bass, with some nice ones being caught in the 3-5 pound range. Spinnerbaits and topwater baits are doing very well, in white and also chartreuse colors. The primary points are starting to hold more bass, and the jig and pig is a good bait choice, along with brushhogs and even big tubes. The best color choices are dark colors like black and brown or black and blue and also watermelon seed. Crankbaits are catching a few nice bass and also the shaky head worm in watermelon seed color. The catfish are still biting very well and jug fishing for big cats is a good method. Striped bass are still chasing shad in a lot of places in the reservoir, and they are breaking water while chasing those shad, so anytime you see those breaking fish, throw some kind of minnow imitator anywhere close to them and you will almost certainly hook something. Bluegills are still biting well over most of the reservoir and should continue for a couple more months. Rock bluffs and submerged structure are good places to start looking for these scrappy panfish.
The crappies have moved back up under the boathouses and are biting tremendously well. I talked to one angler on Sunday morning who had caught 7 keepers within 45 minutes. And they all came from under the same boathouse, on small minnow imitators on small jigheads. Just about any boathouse you try is holding crappies, but some more than others. The float and fly or the float and grub tipped with a minnow are the good choices for some good keeper crappies. Rocky banks with submerged timber are beginning to hold some good keeper crappie also. Tight lining a minnow with a splitshot around 1/16oz. is a good choice too. Live minnows are top choice for the bigger ones. Turkey Creek and Sinking Creek are still holding a few.
LARGEMOUTH, SMALLMOUTH AND SPOTTED BASS
The spinnerbait in white or chartreuse color is catching some nice bass just about everywhere on the lake. Crankbaits are still doing fair, but the jig-n-pig in crawfish color or just about any dark color is doing better for the bigger ones. The topwater bite is catching some very nice bass and it seems to be working throughout the day and not just in the morning. Just about any kind of structure is starting to hold some very nice bass. The Pop’r and similar lures are doing very well. The bass seem to be working there way back towards primary points, and also still holding on submerged humps and submerged islands. Deep diving crankbaits and Carolina rigged brushhawgs in green pumpkin or watermelon are two good baits to try.
The catfish are everywhere and cut bait or live shad is the bait of choice, or you can take a throw net and catch a bunch of 2-3inch shad, hook 3or4 of those shad on a 5/0 hook with a 1oz. sinker and throw it out next to the river channel dropoff in 20 to 50 feet of water and catch some nice blue cats or channel cats. If you can catch some skipjack herring, you can hook them through the back behind the dorsal fin and drop them down to about 30-40 feet and catch some nice bass.
Shallow diving and medium diving jerkbaits like Redfins and Rapalas are doing o.k. The best producer right now seems to be the Silver Buddy or something similar, along with any kind of jigging spoons. Drop these chrome colored lures next to dropoffs where the channel cuts through or where the water level goes from 6-12 ft. down to 30-40 ft. Bounce them along the bottom with 3-5 foot lifts of the rod tip and let it fall, but be aware because sometimes the big stripes hit it on the way down as it flutters. The coves around Yarberry and dropoffs around the Concord area are good places to look for some nice rockfish. The canal between Fort Loudoun and Tellico Lake sometimes holds some nice big Striped Bass (Rockfish).
NORRIS RESERVOIR: 10/22/09
The water elevation is 1,009.2-feet, which is 1.2-inches higher than it was last week. The water level is expected to fall 7.2-inches over the next two days.
Cold weather has cooled the surface temperature to 65 degrees in the early morning hours on the lower half of the lake. Afternoon readings are only as high as 69 degrees. However, water feeding both river arms is much cooler. At Point 33 on the Clinch River arm, the afternoon water temperature was only 50 degrees. The lake water is clear in almost all locations, the exception being the extreme upper reaches of the river arms. Between Points 32 and 33, the water was stained and cold.
CRAPPIE and BLUEGILL anglers have seen marked improvement since last week’s report. Brush piles at the 20-foot depth proved to be productive locations, with quality crappie and bluegill, and the occasional shellcracker being caught. LARGEMOUTH and SPOTTED BASS fishing was good at 15 to 20-feet, especially for those using minnows. SMALLMOUTH BASS hit well on the submerged humps and points, near the bottom at 20 to 25-feet deep, but those caught had trouble making the minimum size limit. Pig’n jigs worked well. STRIPED BASS: The Norris Dam to Point 5 vicinity continues to produce fish, but some upstream movement has been seen, with catches increasing near Stardust, Pilot Island and as far upstream as 33 Bridge. Night fishing was best, from the surface to 40-feet for suspended fish. WALLEYE catches were slow. CATFISH were slow.
Surface early a.m. to 50 feet at mid-day.
Live shad, alewife or shiners. Six-inch rubber jerkbaits, 1-ounce doll flies with rubber trailers, trolled or tightlined to as deep as 40-feet. Very shallow at dawn; some seen in scattered surface breaks at dawn, on calm mornings. During the daylight, 35 to 50-feet in the channels except in surface concentrations of baitfish where surface breaks are occasionally seen in the mid to late afternoon hours. Live shad/alewife tight lined to 35 or 50-feet in schools of baitfish, or slowly trolled with downriggers. In the early morning breaks, use small jerkbaits, swim baits, or shiners. The vicinity of Points 1 and 2 were good last week, especially at night. Some stripers have moved up the lake, with activity or catches between Points 9 and 19, Pilot Island, Bear Hole Bend, and from the upper end of Island F to 33 Bridge.
LARGEMOUTH & SPOTTED BASS
Shallow at the shoreline and to 20-feet.
Spinner catches are improving on rocky banks. Otherwise, smaller lures worked best, whether crawfish-pattern crankbaits or soft plastic worms/lizards. Very shallow next to the bank, and as deep as 20-feet, tight to brush in the hollows and near wood structure on the main channel rocky banks and in the creek hollows on shallower sloping rocks. ½-oz spinners, Colorado blades mainly, and small crawfish colored crankbaits are working close to shoreline cover, along banks with large rocks. 6-inch plastic worms and lizards, Baby Brush Hogs, Otters, 3/8-ounce rubber skirted jigs, and Tiny Beavers are doing best when fished with a slow presentation. Green pumpkin, watermelon, red bug, and June bug colors continue to work well. 6-inch green-pumpkin and redbug plastic worms are taking some nice fish on Carolina rigs, or fished with small splitshot, from “right on the bank” and down to 15 to 20 feet, or on Texas rigs on steeper, main channel banks. Concentrate on the rear of the hollows near wood, and off rocky points.
The pattern holds: Mid-lake humps at 15 to 25-feet in late afternoon. 10 to 15-feet on points when the water is being drawn and there’s a cloudy sky, otherwise as deep as 25-feet on the points. Target main channel, clay-bank drop-offs near points at those depths, and where the current can be felt when the lake is being drawn. Mid-lake humps at 20 to 25 feet where baitfish can be seen, bottom-jigged with Pixie spoons or small Hopkins-type spoons, as well as ¼ ounce black-on-black hair jigs are producing some smallmouth. 3/8-1/2-ounce rubber skirted jigs with small rubber trailers, in watermelon or pumpkin shades. June bug, Red bug, green pumpkin or equivalent color slider worms (or equivalent in 4-inch size) on Shaky Head jigs, on the long points as deep as 25 feet. For live bait fishermen: Large shiners fished with a split shot, but no float, allowing the bait to drift deep along main channel rocks. Some days have seen smallmouth actively feeding on the surface, especially when it’s calm and tiny baitfish are schooling near the surface. Many smallmouth from 15 to 1 inches were caught over the past week, at 15 to 25 feet, near the bottom.
Moderate and improving in the main channel brush and submerged timber. 20-feet deep in brush, close to the bottom on clear days. Shallower in early morning or in stained water. Tightline or drift lures into deep, main channel brush on the bottom and into shoreline brush on steep banks. On high barometer days, slowly troll or drift tube jigs or hair jigs tipped with minnows along the bottom, near brush. Drop popeye flies or small tube jigs into the submerged tree tops or deep brush. Use medium tuffy minnows or 1-inch tube jigs or 1/32 oz or 1/64 oz popeye flies tightlined into the brush.
35 to 40-feet deep, on the bottom.
They’ve been slow to hit, but the quality has been excellent, with fish exceeding 20-inches being caught. Best bet: Night fishing with shad or Mann O’Lures jigged on the bottom at 35 to 39-feet. Trolling with spinner/nightcrawler rigs or plugs such as Thundersticks and 911 RedFins has produced some fish, but it has been slow. Trolling with nightcrawlers and spinners in bright orange or copper, #6 Hildebrandt blades with a line of orange beads are working in the clear water sections for those trolling during the daytime. The Loyston Sea section has seen the most walleye caught, but Poor Land, Rabbit Island and Cove Creek are about as good.
5 to 25-feet deep. But larger ones are hitting tightlined crickets as deep as 30-feet on main channel banks. Crickets, waxworms, BeetleSpins, Rooster Tail spinners, popping bugs, along steep, shady, rocky banks, or in deep brush, near the bottom. Many good sized bluegills have been caught by those tightlining crickets into deep brush and fishing a foot or two off the bottom, in or very near the brush at 20-feet deep.
MELTON HILL RESERVOIR: 10/22/09
The predicted water level above the dam is right around 794 ft. above sea level and fluctuating slightly. The surface temperatures have started to fall back a little and are holding right around the 70 degree mark. Cooler nights will cause slightly cooler surface temperatures in the early morning. There does seem to be some debris floating around and the water is clear, with a slight stained color to it.
All is pretty much the same as last week, except that since last week we’ve had some very cool nights and the first 2or3 frosts of the fall season. And, one good thing about this time of year is that a large portion of the anglers who are usually out on the lake fishing are in the woods hunting. And with those anglers off the lake along with the wake boarders and the skiers, the traffic on the lake is reduced by a large number. So, the entire lake is quieter and more peaceful. The falling water temperatures are triggering fall feeding instincts, and all species of fish are starting to bite a lot better, especially the ones that like cooler water, such as the crappies and the striped bass along with the muskies and the smallmouth bass. The fall bite is always good, and it is also a beautiful time to be on the lake, especially when the fall colors are at their fullest. There is already some color beginning to show, but over the next couple of weeks we should be getting close to the peak of the fall foliage. This time of year also makes for some beautiful pictures, so bring your camera. There have been lots of musky sightings from Bull Run Creek all the way down to the Melton Hill Dam. A good number of the ones being spotted are juvenile fish, but there have also been some huge fish spotted by some of the musky anglers. The little shad minnows are working the surface over the entire reservoir, and that means the predator fish like the black bass and the striped bass plus the white bass and all other minnow eating fish will be following the giant schools of baitfish. The striped bass are starting to break more and more over the entire reservoir. The musky bite is starting to pick up and should continue to improve as the water temperature begins to cool. Some nice muskies have been spotted as far down as the ski area around Reactor Bend. Jigs and brush hogs and crankbaits are still doing fairly well for bass. The jig and brushhawg combination is still catching some good keeper bass. The bass seem to be concentrated on the banks with rocks and submerged timber and also around islands with deep water ledges close by. A good place to start is on any rocky banks or submerged timber especially with current flowing past close to deeper water. The crappies have slowed down a little over most of the lake.
LARGEMOUTH AND SPOTTED BASS
5 to 20 feet
The bass seem to moving back up and concentrating close to the rocky banks especially the banks with some kind of trees or submerged timber near deeper water, especially if you can find a bank that has rocks and fallen trees close together. Watch for fish to be breaking the surface, and throw a minnow imitator into the area where the fish are breaking, and do a quick retrieve to catch some of the breaking fish chasing shad minnows. Submerged tree tops are producing some fair size bass around the mouths of the creeks, but structure seems to be the key. Rocky banks and points along with ledges that dropoff into deeper water seem to be holding some fair sized ones too. Green pumpkin brush hawgs and baby brush hawgs are always a good choice. Instead of rigging a brushhawg Texas style, try rigging it with a jig in the 3/8 to 1/2 ounce size. Spinnerbaits in white and chartreuse are working fairly well. Deep diving crankbaits and Carolina rigged lizards are good deep water baits.
5 to 25 feet
Smallmouths are still hitting those green pumpkin brushhawgs. These bass are mainly on the rocky banks and points over most of the lake. Don’t forget to try the shallow humps and the stump fields around Carbide Park and across from the mouth of Bull Run Creek. Crankbaits and chatterbaits are top choices along with small crawdad imitating jigs in the 3/8 to 1/2 oz. size. The float and fly is always a good choice for smallmouth, and it works for crappie too. Lizards are picking up few here and there, mostly around the boathouses.
4 to 10 feet
There are still a few crappies being caught up in the Bull Run Creek area, but they seem to have moved on back out to deeper water and more toward the main channel. Any boat houses close to deeper water is a good place to start looking. Try chartreuse grubs tipped with a minnow. Try about 4-10 ft. deep with a float, but you may have to go as deep as 25ft.for the bigger fish.
7 to 20 feet
Watch for the breaking stripers and throw a minnow imitator into or around the school, you can pick up some very nice striped bass and sometimes a largemouth or two will be in the bunch. Sometimes you have to crank up the boat and run over to the place where the fish are breaking and start casting about 25-30 yards before you get to the breaking fish. 10 to 12 inch skipjack herring is another good bait for huge stripers. These big fish are all over the lake, but sharp drop offs into deep pools is a good place to start looking for the bigger ones. Swim baits that imitate shad sometimes fool these big predators. Trolling live Skipjack Herring always seems to work the best.
3 to 10 feet
The musky bite has begun! They are as far down as Reactor Bend back in the ski area and in Jackass Cove. Some monster fish have been spotted in both areas. There has also been a good number of juvenile fish spotted, which means the musky fishery seems to be doing well. A couple of good lures to try are the Jointed Believer, and the Shallow Invader, which are both proven Musky catchers, along with the Bulldawg and the Jointed Rapala. Pitch either of these lures up close to the bank and try a jerk and reel type retrieve. Remember, there is a 44 inch minimum limit on these fish. Which means that, a Musky has to be at least 44 inches to be harvested and anything less than 44 inches must be released unharmed.
Wildlife Information Specialist
TWRA Region IV
Boone and Watauga fishing reports will be discontinued while the creel clerk completes military assignments.