Weekly Norris Lake Water and Fishing Report

NORRIS FISHING REPORT by Paul Shaw 8 May 2013 WATER CONDITIONS The water elevation on May 8th was 1022.16-feet, which is 5.5-inches higher than it was last Wednesday. The water level is predicted to rise 3-inches by midnight, Friday, May 10th. The inflow is 9,263 cfs. Norris dam has water spilling until further notice. The […]

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NORRIS FISHING REPORT

by Paul Shaw

8 May 2013

WATER CONDITIONS

The water elevation on May 8th was 1022.16-feet, which is 5.5-inches higher than it was last Wednesday. The water level is predicted to rise 3-inches by midnight, Friday, May 10th. The inflow is 9,263 cfs. Norris dam has water spilling until further notice. The reservoir water temperature remains cooler than average for the season. Morning surface temperatures are in the low 60’s lake wide. Morning temperatures in the channels of the Powell and Clinch arms have been 61 degrees, but rising to as high as 67 degrees in the afternoon. On sunny afternoon, the surface has warmed as high as 70 degrees in some locations. The channel color is clear with visibilities as high as 10-feet.

Moon phase: waning crescent.

To view photos and Google maps of all access areas on the reservoir, go to http://www.tnfish.org/ReservoirLakeMapsTennessee_TWRA/
TennesseeReservoirBoatRampsMarinasLakeMaps_TWRA.htm or http://tinyurl.com/chm2ts9.

For the Norris lake elevation, inflow rates, and generation times, go to http://www.tva.gov/lakes/noh_r.htm.

 

SUMMARY

No change since last week, except for the lake elevation being a little higher, putting water farther into shoreline vegetation. But the water temperature remains cooler than usual. Anglers venturing out late on sunny afternoons are finding more fish in the shallow vegetation after the water has warmed. Main channel fish are remaining deeper than those in warmer water found in coves. Clear water has them deep, or tight to vegetation and other woody structure in those areas. Crappie, shellcrackers, and largemouth bass are nesting among the flooded brush and small trees.

BLUEGILL and REDEAR (SHELLCRACKER): Bluegill good. Shellcracker very good. Bluegill are hitting crickets and mealworms at 25 to 35-feet close to the bottom in the coves. Shellcracker are 4 to 10-feet deep close to flooded brush and small trees, holding close to the bottom.

CRAPPIE: Good in lower end creek hollows and good far upstream in the river headwaters, tight to cover in spawning areas, 5 to 10-feet.

LARGEMOUTH BASS: Moderate, improving.

In the coves and rear of creeks. Shallow and close to the shore near brush, especially in large coves. Some are starting to nest, and are in the coves on sloping, sand and gravel shorelines, near cover.

SMALLMOUTH BASS: Moderate.

Some have spawned, but others are still pre-spawn. On the broken rock, moderately sloped banks in the mornings, moving to more gently sloped points by midday, but still on chunk rock and near gravel. Transition zones from boulders to white gravel points, as well as shelves on clay/gravel banks have been good. Transition zones on points have been the best if not far from spawning areas on points. As deep as 20-feet.

*REGULATION CHANGE FOR SMALLMOUTH BASS: The regulation changed on October 16th. It now allows five smallmouth with a minimum length limit of 18-inches. This regulation remains in effect until June 1st.

SPOTTED BASS: Good in the hollows. Slow on main channels. On rocky shorelines and in flooded timber in the larger creek hollows. Small, crawfish pattern crankbaits and pig’n jigs along the shorelines where there are big boulders and plenty of gravel to boulder transition zones.

STRIPED BASS: Fair. (*See regulation change, below, effective Nov. 1st.) Surface to 20-feet deep in the channels. Many have moved back downstream from their spring run to the headwaters. They’re scattered. Where there are baitfish in the creeks, striped bass have been caught from the surface to less than 10-feet deep, on drifted shiners or small shad and alewife.

*REGULATION REMINDER FOR STRIPED BASS: April 1 – October 31, 2 per day, 15-inch minimum length limit.

WALLEYE Fair. Lower end walleye are on the broken rock banks at less than 15-feet deep, near big, old timber, and on red clay/gravel shorelines. Night fishing along the flooded timber is improving.

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SPECIES DETAILS

 

BLUEGILL/REDEAR

Bluegill: Good. Shellcracker: very good.

Shellcracker have been schooling in the flooded brush and small timber, holding close to the bottom in water which is 5 to 10-feet deep. They’re schooling in anticipation of the spawn. Good catches of large shellcracker have been coming in from Mill Creek to Lost Creek, Poor Land Creek, and the islands near Hickory Star. But shellcracker are also being caught at almost any location on the lower half of the reservoir.

25 to 35-feet deep for bluegill, on the bottom, in coves and along broken rock, steep banks. Crickets or mealworms have been best for bluegill.

For bluegill and shellcracker, use redworms, meal worms, crickets, or small minnows fished with no float, but tightlined or cast to shady, rocky banks and dragged slowly across the bottom. Crickets are the best bait.

CRAPPIE

Good in the rear of larger creeks on the lower end and above Point 17 on the Powell and above Point 30 on the Clinch. Good in Sycamore, Davis, and Doaks creeks.

3 to 10-feet, tight to brush and wood structure. Spawning crappie are moving into the brushy areas in the larger creek hollows and are shallow.

Good lures: Tuffy minnows, small doll flies, mini tube jigs (red/white, blue/white) and 1/32 ounce hair or feather jigs tipped with minnows, Trout Magnets, or Slider grubs in a variety of colors.

LARGEMOUTH & SPOTTED BASS

Moderate, best in the coves, tight into flooded vegetation. Spotted bass catches are better on the Powell side than on the Clinch.

Close to the shoreline in large coves, and along broken rock shorelines near wood structure, from the surface to 20-feet. Shallower, sand and gravel shorelines in the coves, warmed by the afternoon sun, has attracted many largemouth and baitfish. Spinners, soft jerk baits, buzz baits, and shallow running plugs have caught fish in these areas. They’re deeper on the main channels, where the water is cooler and very clear.

200 and 300 series Bandit crankbaits and Norman Little N crankbaits fished parallel to the rocks in stained sections, and soft jerk baits are catching the most, close to the shoreline wood structure. Flukes, Sliders, and other plastic lures which are able to be worked in flooded shoreline brush and timber are working best. Spawning largemouth are taking lures reluctantly, knocking plugs or moving soft plastic lures away from the nests, very often requiring repeated casts to the same area. Good hits are coming from post-spawn bass.

SMALLMOUTH BASS

Moderate. Best on the days with the worst weather when sunlight penetration is less.

They’re scattered in depth, from the shallows in flooded brush to points at 25-feet. The water is very clear, with 10-feet or more of visibility. Light, low-vis line is needed.

The smallmouth spawn is partially underway. Actively spawning smallmouth have been reluctant to hit. Smaller, male smallmouth are on the gravel points and in the shoreline vegetation, as shallow as 3 to 10-feet on many days.

Most of the smallmouth caught in the shallows have been smaller fish. Larger smallmouth have hit either as deep as 20-feet, or very tight to shoreline cover after the sunlight hits the clear water.

Soft jerk baits and small plastic lures (Gitzits, Centipedes, Slider worms, etc.) have taken some tight to the banks in the flooded brush and floating wood. Those fish have not been in the rear of the coves, but closer to the mouths of coves, on secondary points, and in the pockets off the main channels. Medium running crankbaits (Bandits, Normans), soft jerk baits, and the smaller shaky head (3/32 oz) jigs rigged with the smaller worms, some “whacky style,” have worked well. Slower presentations are working in the colder water at greater depths. Leadhead jigs tipped with 3 or 4-inch smoke grubs fished with a steady, slow retrieve, just off the bottom on clay/gravel shorelines, always works well at this time of year.

Other lures which have produced: crawfish imitation colors, 3/8 oz hair jig with trailer; or popeye jigs (1/16th to 1/8th oz), tipped with a tuffy minnow. Dark green (cedar tree green) or gray colors have worked well for the small hair jigs tipped with minnows.

*REGULATION CHANGE FOR SMALLMOUTH BASS: The regulation changed on October 16th. It now allows five smallmouth with a minimum length limit of 18-inches. This regulation remains in effect until June 1st.

 

STRIPED BASS

Fair.

These fish are returning from their spring movement upstream. Look for them in the main channels on the middle and upper half of the reservoir.

Depth: In the creek hollows and headwaters where there are many baitfish, striped bass have taken shiners or alewife or gizzard shad drifted far behind the boat at a shallow depth. Those using 3-inch, soft jerk baits have caught striped bass in the same areas.

Surface to 10-feet in the creeks where baitfish are present, but to 20-feet in the channels and across long points and over deep humps in the main channels of the river arms or large creek embayments. Look for feeding gulls which indicate the location of baitfish schools and troll or tightline alewife or shad in those locations.

Troll ½ to 1 oz bucktail jigs, umbrella rigs with trailers in pearl or chartreuse, or live bait (gizzard shad, shiners, or alewife) tightlined to the depth of the forage fish schools in mid-channel especially across the points and humps.

On the lower half of the reservoir, try Lost Creek and from Crooked Creek (behind Island F) up to 33 Bridge. The islands near Hickory Star have produced some catches. Breaking fish have been seen in the morning hours, scattered here’n there across the reservoir, but in the channels.

Point 11 to Point 12 catches have been fair. Some have been reported caught near Point 5.

There is a new, statewide hook regulation in effect. Read it here: http://www.eregulations.com/tennessee/fishing/statewide-limits-regulations/

*REGULATION REMINDER FOR STRIPED BASS: April 1 – October 31, 2 per day, 15-inch minimum length limit.

WALLEYE

Slow.

Shallow in brushy, flooded timber at night. The darker moon phase will help night fishermen using lights.

Lower end walleye are holding close to broken rock shorelines of moderate slope, near old timber, less than 15 feet deep in the hours before noon.

They’re hitting topwater or shallow running plugs at dusk and just after dark where baitfish have moved into the shallows. That action is hit’n miss, at best, but those fish caught have been of good size.

Alewife activity along the shorelines has been limited, but some are being heard popping the surface after dark, and some anglers report catching some walleye along the shoreline at night, on Thundersticks, Long Bill Rebels, and Spooks.

 

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