Fished for an hour, caught fish for two casts. On my second cast, I landed a 33" upper teens very obese fish. On my third cast, I landed another upper teens fish. These are the two biggest fish I've caught below Ft. Loudon this year on artificial since spring. Not even another hit after that. I was chuckling to myself that there weren't any other boats there after back to back good fish. It was a nice evening, air was mid 50s, big moon out, almost full. Water temp: 60, clarity, 2 feet. Generators 1, 3, and 4 running.
About a dozen gulls at Kingston. Bait everywhere. Fish are showing up. I caught 3 small stripes 1-2 lbs. A nice sauger about 2 lbs and an itty bitty channel cat. Lots of other action though, mostly resulted in removed bait. I know it's going to be picking up quickly from here on out if we can keep some cold nights coming. Nice day too, sunny, about 68 degrees, water temp is 69 in the outflow, 60 in the channel, depending on where you go, Clarity: 3 feet. Saw stripes finally at Kingston.
Don't forget to break for wildlife, notice the hind quarters on the left side also. These were three does, and they weren't afraid of my truck.
There is bait on Cherokee. Oh my god, you can almost walk on it...but don't try. The water's 63, might be a bit chilly if the bait doesn't support your weight. I'll just go ahead and tell you that it won't, so don't try walking on it. It's real easy to catch in big cast net though. For some reason, probably lack of salt, I was having problems keeping it alive. These things get the best of us sometimes. Saw two gulls on Cherokee, the first of the season. Boated a small hybrid and a green carp (spotted bass). Headed to Norris at about 2. Norris looked promising, but wasn't. Only a couple of smalljaws going after the baits, no evidence of big striped fish. Surface was 64, clarity was 4 or more feet. Weather was spectacular, upper 60's light to no wind, clear skies. Great weather, minimal catching.
Pulled some bait on Melton Hill. Water's cool there, 52 degrees in the river. It's running, which flushed all the steam plant water out of use. Bait was pretty easy in the back of Bull Run creek. Threadfins mostly with a few gizzards. Got a couple of small blow ups, definitely stripes, but no hookups. Marked a lot of fish, not sure what they were. Was a real nice fishing day, a little overcast most of the time, temps in the mid 60's. Clarity: 3 feet.
Two days in a row with a goose egg. Tried a couple of different things today. El Rio was running full. The wind was not whispering. Steady 15-20, gusts to 35. I had all I could stand by about 2:00. You know, I didn't even look at the temp on Rio. It wasn't real cold though because I felt it. Probably mid 60's. Clarity 2 feet. Air temps are 65 right now and not a cloud in the sky. Cold snap the next couple of days will do something to the fish. Got hired at Sea Ray of Knoxville just a few minutes ago! It's a 6-4:30 job with Fridays off...good for guiding I figure! Unfortunately for my little stint of freedom/unemployment, I start Mon or Tues next week. Money is good to have though.
Had a fishless experience below Loudon tonight. Hooked up on one outside the boils and broke it off. We tried a little live and a little artificial, just wasn't happening. Was 80 again today, clear with stout winds 15 mph NW. Water was 64.2 and clarity was 2 feet.
Did something real interesting tonight. A whole new way to catch striper! I did my usual tie off to the dam trick, but instead of catching fish on my side of the boils, I caught them on the DOWNSTREAM side. Well, I only landed two like that, a 15 lb stripe and a 10 lb hybrid. Don't know if I could handle any much bigger on 14 lb test dragging them up a 7 mph current. Also caught 3 inside the boils, 6, 10, and 12 lbs. Not a bad night. On the outside, I was throwing a 1.5 oz shad head with a rattlesnake body....next time it will be my 2 oz head. That will GET DOWN! It's hard to put a hook in the fish first of all, because you never know when they are going to hit. When they do hit, if you're not ready, they're gonna spit it right out. I know I missed 3 or 4 good solid hits. Broke 2 lures off..hung 'em on mother earth. When you do hook up, all you can do is dig your heels in, crank the drag down and pray that it's not over 20 lbs. I was stupid and used 14 lb test. It was all I had people. Next time, it will be the 20 lb green stuff.
One of these days, I'm getting out the scuba gear and I'm going to hit Loudon and Melton Hill (when they aren't generating). It's the city of lead down there. I bet the earth will eventually be lopsided with all the extra added weight fishermen have left below the dams. Water temp: 64, clarity 3 feet. Air was 80 today, sunny. Left the water at 10:30, they were still running 4 gens about half assed.
Started at Kingston. Clinch was 66, bait was pretty easy. Lots of smaller threaddies and good numbers of bigger ones. Gizzard shad are bunched up....if you get one, you get a hundred or more, 5-7 inchers. Outflow was 71 degrees, but didn't see any fish, so didn't even wet a line. Did mark some good fish out in the channel upstream, but couldn't get any hits on some lively threadfins. Boat traffic began to wear my nerves pretty thin, so I headed for MH dam. Drifted some shad and had one pretty good fish break me off and had another come give the bait a real hard look. Fished the boil (left generator only), and had one good hit. The most interesting part of the night was when I was pulling the boat out and they decided to fire up another generator about a half hour early while I was fooling around in the boat. The question is two parts: 1) How fast do you think the water can come up a foot and a half and 2) Will it consume the back end of your truck if you don't do something and do it quick? The answer to 1 is: ...about 30 seconds after you notice the boat floating off the trailer. The answer to 2 is: ...probably not, but it sure scares you into thinking it could happen. By myself, as I was, it would have been a sight to behold if anyone had been there to witness it. It was a ballet of dragging the boat up on the ramp/pulling the truck forward. I had to do each maneuver twice. The first was to keep me from having to walk through water to get into my truck, the second was to pull the boat up AGAIN, after pulling it all the way up it floats off after 3-5 seconds. I could have prevented the incident by getting the boat out of the water first, THEN pumping out the bait tank and putting things away in the boat. I figured since nobody else needed the ramp, I could perform this exercise while still on the trailer in the water. OOPS. Water temp below MH: 59, clarity 4 feet, weather today was upper 70's light to no winds and sunny. Can't wait for cold weather to run the idiots off the lakes.
Tournament went okay. We didn't finish last. Buddy Jason caught our only fish on a spook up on top in 40 feet of water. I think we had the only fish taken on artificial. It weighed in at 12-10 and was the second heaviest fish (fourth on stringer weight). Striper Gal (Lisa) won the big fish pot with a 12-14 fish . We finished just out of the money. It was a little cloudy in the morning with fog on the water. Our fish came at about 9. I had one good fish boil under my spook twice, but didn't take. That would have cinched the tournament for us. It was a great morning for fishing, and a good tournament turnout with 28 fishermen signed in. Water temp: 62-63, clarity: 3-4 feet.
The big Weeners!
Got bait at Kingston for tomorrow's tourney on Cherokee. Outflow temp has dropped 10 degrees from 81 to 71 and I marked several fish, I think it's time. We picked up a couple dozen threadfins, pulled bait for about an hour, had a couple of catfish hits and headed for the house. Air was low 60s and calm, few clouds.
Started off at Melton Hill. Gizzards weren't a problem. Pulled bait for half hour, didn't see poop. Headed upstream, fished upper portion of Melton Hill, nothing. Too much stuff in the water. Stringy weeds got all over the bait. Headed to Ft Loudon. Picked up a bank fisherman and took him up to the dam. They were running two when we got there and turned on the other two at 7 PM. After watching me catch two on my shad jig, he was a believer. We ended up with 4 fish total. He got a nice 8 lb hybrid on some light tackle. Water temp: 63.9, clarity: 2 feet. Not bod, but not great. One fellow was jigging bucktails in the boils and drifting down. We saw him catch at least 5 fish.
Busted a move today. Began at Kingston...WHEW what a mess! Outflow is 81, the Clinch is 63, didn't bother with the Emory, but there's tons of bait just about everywhere. Got bunches of threadfins right in the middle of the river and tried a couple of spots. Didn't take long that they weren't there. The wind got up and I got up and left. Put in below Melton Hill. One generator, not much going on. Caught a 3 lb hyb up against the dam on a Kingston threadfin freelined. Water temp: 55. Trucked over to Los Loudous at about 6. Hit the boils with a full belly of McDonald's. Managed to pull out 7 striped fish from 1 to 10 lbs on the trusty old shad jig. Water temp: 60 or something like that, tons of 2" shad everywhere, skipjack and stripes breaking like mad. Almost too much bait...it was hard getting them to look at plastic with so much of the real stuff around. Headed in at 9:30 satisfied. Air stayed in the mid 60's wind was light towards evening and sunny. Saw stripes.
Got a load of big gizzards and headed for La Ria. Overcast skies, steady 15 mph wind gusting over 25 at times out of the SE. Air was 70, but the cooler water (55 degrees, and 6 foot clarity) made the air a good bit cooler. Had one good sized fish inhale a big gizzard, drag the board under and let go. No other action but a few nervous baits. Bait tank is fixed for good! finally... The wind made it damn near impossible to troll consistently. That's one bad thing about the valley here, the wind is awful from November until May. All summer there is almost NO wind. Might head to Kingston this week to get a pre-emptive look at the situation there. No fish today, but intent was evident.
Banged up against the dam tonight. We boated 5 fish and lost several others. There was a good bit of surface action after they shut #1 down and has #'s 3 and 4 still running. All caught on artificials. Water was 67, air mid 60's and dark. Approaching cold front. My older sister's first experience with striper. Quite a blast getting to catch fish like that with someone who doesn't fish but appreciates it.
Hit El Rio with some mooneye action. The water was up about 1.5 feet from normal and pretty clear. Temp: 70, clarity: 4 feet. Mooneyes were relatively easy to get. Caught one 20 lber and had some pretty good blow ups in one spot lobbing mooneyes. Planed a bit and had a MAJOR pissed off striper try to take a chunk out of another bait. It hit twice and disappeared. Air: 65, sunny, no wind. Very nice fishing day.
My buddy, Justin and I combined for 9 fish. Weights ranged from 1-14 lbs. We lost a few good fish as well. All on shad head jigs rigged with plastics. Generation was still running strong when we left at 10:30. Water temp: 67, air: 55. Weather was dark.
Slacked off on the journal. Fished a few times below Ft Loudon, did pretty good. Once on Cherokee with Ezell. Found fish right in the bubbles holding at 125 feet. Others had dispersed out into the lake. Surface temp: 73, clarity 3-4 feet. Once below Melton Hill off the bank with no results. Generation schedule has been pretty wacky lately. They might be done pulling the lakes down except for Norris.