Cordell Hull: Fishing is fair. Water temperature is 75 degrees. Lake is stable. A few bass are being caught while fishing topwater baits around grass near Gainesboro. Crappie fishing is fair while fishing with minnows around laydown trees in 10 feet of water. A few walleye are being caught while trolling the channels near Gainesboro in 25 feet of water.
Chickamauga: The lake surface temperature is in the low 80's. Sept. 17 lake elevation was 681.6 feet.
This is the level expected for the season. The current trend is down. The fall draw began on September 1st and this will accelerate on October 1st
according to TVA data. Bass anglers being found on the lake mostly are struggling to find fish. Many out of towners are trying to locate fish for upcoming competition events. Those fish being caught seem to require less effort on the lower end of the lake. Bait chasers are being caught by those using topwater lures. The better pattern seems to be points, drops, or large river flats with or without grass. Jigs, plastic worms and deep diving crankbaits are being used by most anglers. Those that target crappie are having no problem catching fish around docks and in deep secondary areas around bait fish. Jigs, minnows and crankbaits are being used for bait. Black crappie are being caught around docks and a high number of white crappie are being caught in the calm open water locations. Striped bass are being caught in the tailwaters when the conditions are favorable. Shad, jigs, and topwater lures are being used by many anglers for striper bait. White bass are being caught on spinner-type lures and topwater lures to catch white bass. Bluegill are being caught around river rocky areas while using worms or crickets. Some upper river drifters are catching bluegill in the main channel. Catfish are being caught from dam to dam by those drifting in the main channel. Many baits can be used to catch catfish. Meaty creations or cutbait from various sources can be used for positive results. Some type of pungent odor will enhance the results. Some of the most successful catfish anglers season their baits.
Dale Hollow: Fishing is fair. Water temperature is 80 degrees. Lake is falling. Several largemouth are being caught while using umbrella rigs and swimbaits in the rivers on the flats. Several fish are being caught while fishing squarebill crankbaits around laydown wood in 2-to-5 feet of water. A few walleye are being caught while jigging spoons in 32 feet of water.
Nickajack: The surface water temperature is in the low 80's. The lake elevation on September 17th was 632.6 feet. This elevation was at the lower end of normal. The elevation seems to be running at the low end more than at the high end of normal. The status of Raccoon Mountain may be a factor. The normal elevation range is narrow when compared to Chickamauga or Watts Bar. Riverpark area anglers are catching many bluegill from the bank and while drifting. Worms or crickets are typical offerings that normally end in positive results. A few shellcrackers are mixed in with the bluegill. A few striped bass are being caught in the tailwaters. Most are being caught while using live bait. Black bass are being caught on crankbaits, topwater lures, jigs, spoons and shad. Some trophy size smallmouth have been caught. Still water crappie are being caught underneath the railroad bridge. Most being caught are under the legal limit required by law. These crappie are being caught while using jigs. Catfish are being caught by those river drifters from dam to dam. Meaty baits from various sources can be used for positive results during times when conditions are favorable. Lake area anglers are catching bass around grass beds while using mostly topwater lures and plastic worms. Results from most trips are becoming more positive than those in the recent past, but don't use up all of your sick leave.
Watts Bar: The lake temperature on the surface is around 80 degrees. Sept. 17 lake elevation was 740.4 feet. This elevation is in the range expected according to TVA data. November 1st is the projected date where the drawdown for winter should begin. Crappie anglers are catching dock related black crappie. These docks are located in secondary locations where the water is typically deeper than 8 feet deep and a drop under the dock is a bonus. Deeper secondary water blowdowns and brushpiles are being targeted for white crappie. Minnows and jigs are equal opportunity enticers. Some folks use jigs until they seem to catch all the fish and then they use minnows to catch another fish or two. Stripers are being caught at all tailwater locations on various offerings that include jigs, spoons, topwater lures and live bait. Like most things in life the greater effort will produce the greater results. That being said, the greater effort bait is skipjack and yellowtails. Bass anglers are catching several fish at times. Summer patterns seem to be producing more bites than other patterns. The river and large bay drops, points, humps and shell beds are the target areas for those chasing bass. Jigs, plastic worms, and deep crankbaits will complete an arsenal capable of catching any willing summer bass. Some schooling bass are being caught near baitfish and this activity will increase with the progression into fall. River drifters armed with meaty baits are catching mainly blue catfish. White bass are being caught in the tailwaters and in the mid lake area along humps while using spinner-type lures.