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Last Updated September 28, 2018

Tennessee

Hatchie/ Wolf Rivers

If we don't get some rain, which will make navigation a little easier, a normal October will soon be on. You can expect clear, tannic stained water due to the decaying of fallen leaves. This is the Hatchie and the Wolf at their most beautiful as they wind through the colorful streamside forests. The fallen leaves will tend to gather in eddies, which is also where the bass and crappie will be, making for a challenging situation. Vertical jigging is about the only choice for lure presentation. Dark colored jig and trailer for bass and light colored jigs for crappie are recommended. Some prefer a chartreuse tail, black- bodied tube for crappie. The first frost in late month will trigger a more aggressive crappie bite. Runs that are mostly leaf free can be fished with a crankbait, spinner bait, or even a buzzbait for bass. Expect low water and tricky navigation. Construction on the Highway 76 bridge is complete and the bridge is open. Launching there might still be sketchy. See our Hatchie Fest section for more tips.

Cold Creek

Cold Creek Grocery (731 738 2960) - The Creek had a most successful bream season and some are still biting. Most folks turn their attention to crappie and bass now that cooler weather has arrived. Crappie fishermen usually hand pole the stumps that are becoming visible due to low water. Some still stick to spider rigging the deeper ledges off the west shore. Bass fishermen should target the shad schools around logs and shoreline cover with white spinner baits, buzz baits, and crank baits. Black and blue jigs can also be effective in these areas. Water is very low and will remain so unless there is a dramatic rise of the Missisippi.. Be careful crossing the rock bar near the creek mouth. Be warned that thousands of silver and big head carp will be jumping and one just might land in your boat.

Reelfoot

October is always one of the top months on the "Quake Lake". Cooling occurs quickly in the shallow areas leading to feeding frenzies by all species. Largemouth will be busting minnows all over. Pad fields, moss beds, duckweed patches, and shorelines with those downed limbs from a previous winters' ice storms will be great places to try. Just watch for surface activity and use your best judgment. Small crank baits, spinner baits, top waters, or swim baits in white or shad colors can be effective. The "Washout" is always a good choice in October but care is advised at the ramp as it has a sudden drop off. Crappie will be up in the water column over the deep basins and will readily bite medium minnows or light colored jigs and have already begun. Yellow bass will be on a tear, so get your light tackle ready for these diminutive little demons. Lake is clear and very low. Anglers must use extreme caution to avoid being stuck on underwater stumps..

Gibson County Lake

731 855 2990 - Late Summer rains have helped keep up the lake level some but caution is still advised at the ramp. TWRA did place some gravel at the end of the ramp to facilitate launching and the pier is very handy. October should see a significant improvement in the bass bite as cooler nights will move them up and shallow. Top waters, jerk baits, and swim baits will take their share when fished over the grass beds and timber. Schools of big bass have been known to surface in mid lake as they chase shad so have a jerk bait or Rattletrap ready. Several good-sized crappie are usually caught in late September and should improve as the season wears on. Fish the brush tops and log jams with medium minnows. Catfish will also be good during midday and livers or night crawlers will be advised. Bream and shell crackers will be slowing down.

Glenn Springs

901 835 5253 - For a rewarding day trip, whether the fish bite or not, try this TWRA lake. The shoreline foliage is some of the prettiest around and provides a relaxing atmosphere. A 10-9 largemouth was weighed in a few years back. Watch for schooling bass over the main channels and at the edges of the grass beds. Slow falling baits such as Senkos in shad colors or frogs fished at the edges can be dynamite. Even in the fall, a cloudy day is still the best due to the water clarity. Bright days will send them deeper and a watermelon red tube would be a good choice for this. This is one of the few lakes where we have actually seen bedding bass in October. A warm spell before the full moon in late month could provide a monster if water temperatures stay suitable. Crappie should begin to show up as they move shallow following the baitfish. Try deep trees and then move to the brush in the middle of the coves. Catfishing will still be good for a while but will gradually slow as the cooler waters prevail toward the month's end. Grass has been a real problem for navigation this year. In places it is so thick, it will bog own your trolling motor.

Herb Parsons Lake

901 861 5087 - The water level is normal for this time of year which is relatively low. Rising waters usually send all fish shallow. The upper end away from the dam will be stained if heavy rains come but don't let that deter you from trying it. The runoff from above also will contain baitfish and crawdads. You can't beat a big-bladed spinner bait in chartreuse for this condition when it occurs on any lake. Crappie will be schooling around the shallow humps in the vicinity of the southwest corner near the dam. Depth will depend on the day. An overcast day will put them shallower than a bright day. Catch all the yellow bass you can and the largemouth limit is 10 with a slot. Catfishing will be good early in the month but will slow as waters cool.

Shelby Forest

These two small lakes offer some good bank fishing in the fall. Smaller Piersol requires a small boat launched from the shore, as there is no ramp. At twenty- five acres, it can easily be figured out in a couple of hours. Poplar Tree is around one hundred acres but is still easy to analyze. As a rule in all small lakes start shallow and go deep until you find the desired depths. You won't have to go very deep as the cooler water is in the top layer. Start on points or riprap areas for all species then work around the points toward the shallows. Look for movement as you go. You will probably see swirls made by feeding fish as they attack baitfish or insects. Both lakes are trolling motor only and permits are required. Both are clear and at pool.

Lake Graham

731 422 0950 - Now is the time to be on his TWRA lake that opened in 1982. The introduction of threadfin shad has made a huge difference in the bass population. The forage base has produced bigger and healthier bass that will be feeding heavily this month. Watch for large schools as they bust through the shad schools. In recent years, there have been several 10 pound plus and two 12 pounders officially weighed in. As the month progresses, the bite will move to later in the day as the waters cool. The best time early in the month will be early or on cloudy days due to water clarity. Top waters, spinner baits, or small white crank baits are good for the schoolers. Crappie will be biting better as well. Target logs that slant instead of those that are standing vertical. Crappie will be move along the length of the leaning logs until they find the optimum depth. Start shallow and go deeper until they are located. Use medium minnows or light colored jigs with a bit of chartreuse on the tail. Bream and shell crackers will be active in late month and may bed again on the full moon. Catfish will also be active until cold weather sets in. Lake is clear in the main body.

Carroll County 1,000 Acre Recreational Lake

What a year we have had here so far. Several large bass over ten pounds have been caught both from boat and bank. This year, a new lake record of 14 pounds 2 ounces was boated by a teenager during practice for the BASS Junior High National Tournament. Thousands of smaller bass were caught and kept or released to grow and fight again. Large bluegill became a mainstay for anglers wanting some fun and good eating. These will be biting all year, if you can locate them. Warm days will send them shallow and cold weather will send them to the depths nearby. Many large crappie ( two pound class) showed up the last three fall seasons and expectations are that this year will be even better. Trollers will be able to spot the schools over open water with their sophisticated electronics. Then, its just a matter of finding the right color lure to get 'em. Good sized catfish have also been landed and this will slow as waters cool. The lake is at pool and navigation is easy. Most of the grass that plagued the lake in past seasons has gone due to the introduction of good numbers of White Amur carp.

Pickwick

Our source for Pickwick Lake, Gary Harlan, told us, "The last three days I fished, you couldn't have asked for any nicer weather than we had. TVA has had the floodgates open, dropping the lakes above us in anticipation of hurricane Florence. The bass are biting and the Smallmouth have started showing up. The fish seem to be grouping up by size. One day we'll catch good ones (3lb+) and the next day it's 1-2lb fish. They are not easy to find because of them grouping up but when you find them it seems you can catch a bunch of them. Once the water cools off a bit the fishing should be awesome.
I have been mentioning the abundance of shad in just about every report I've sent in recently. So just in case you missed the other reports I'll bring it up again. If we could find a market to sell 1"-2" Shad we could pay off the National debt. The bass both Largemouth and Smallmouth have started to school and are beginning to chase the shad. To put it short the topwater bite is heating up. While one bite is picking up the others have slowed down. The bass both Large and Smallmouth (Spots n Meanmouths too) are on the move and roaming around chasing the shad. We had a school come up in over 20' of water last week. Use small Poppers (KVD Splash-It) or walking baits (Sexy Dawg Jr & Senior)to catch these bass. There is also lots of grass topped out right now. Use poppers, buzz-baits and texas rigged plastics around the edges of the grass. Look for irregular features along the grass line and concentrate your efforts there. A Texas rigged Super Finesse Worm, Cutter worm or Game Hawg from Strike King, have been my baits of choice this week around the grass. Use a 1/0-3/0 offset Mustad Ultrapoint hook and a 1/8-3-16 oz Tungsten weight. Any natural color seems to work (watermelons, green pumpkins), use a worm with some flake in it if the sun is out. There are still a few fish out on the ledges, they are just harder to find and are getting finicky about what they want to eat. I have not heard any reports on Crappie I am sure they are gorging on the minnows as well. Catfishing has been good Most are fishing in or just off of the main river channel shad or shad guts are catching the most. Good old redworms or night crawlers will work too.
Good Luck, please be safe and courteous to other boaters…" Gary Harlan w/ Roger Stegall professional Guide Service, LLC. www.fishpickwick.com.

Perryville

Perryville Marina - 731 847 2444 - Assuming October will be normal and dry, here's what to expect. Crappie will be holding in the shallow stake beds and tops next to deeper channels. Bass will also be in these areas as well as at the creek mouths. Falling water will pull them from the shallows. If a swift rise does occur, as is predicted, they will go shallow again. Riprap shorelines and rock walls will also hold lots of Kentuckies and white bass. Catfishing will be good until late month. A few sauger will be showing up late in the month as they will be preparing for their annual run. The River should be at winter pool with fog early in the day so caution is advised for both conditions. The Annual Carl Perkins Benefit Tournament is scheduled for October 12th and 13th. There will be lots of boat traffic those days so be advised.

Beech Lakes

Beech Lake Marine - 731 968 8492 - All the area lakes will be in good shape for fall fishing. Usually Beech is low this month due to evaporation and local water needs. Grass beds will be the places to target, as bass will use these as feeding stations. Shallow fishing will be the key to success as you fish the edges with surface lures, shallow divers, and plastics. Watch for large schools to appear at any time. Have a Rattletrap or suspending jerk bait ready for this. Large schools of crappie will also be forming as they, too will be after the shad minnows. The 10-inch limit was lifted a few years ago and there are thousands of crappie to be caught. Trolling medium minnows or small crank baits are good ways to fill a cooler. Some folks continue to catch bream and catfish along riprap early ion the month. Permits are required on the BRWDA and Natchez Trace lakes.

Kentucky Lake

Fishermen can expect winter drawdown conditions and shallow waters all along the main channels and bays. For bass, concentrate on the backs of bays, secondary points, island points, and humps right off the main channel. Look for the tops and small channels in grass beds that have appeared as a result of the drawdown. Fish weedless top waters and Senko type lures in these areas. Watch for "nervous" minnows as they flee the predators. Don't overlook riprap areas along shorelines and roadbeds as well. Crappie will be traveling the ledges on the larger creeks and bays. The depths they are holding will be changing as waters cool and shad schools travel. A good depth to start will be 10 feet. From here you can adjust in either direction to find them. Troll medium minnows or small crank baits. Watch for surface schooling as rockfish are also feeding up for the winter and they do put up quite a fight.

Pickwick Lake

With most of the pleasure craft gone for the season, now is the perfect time to enjoy Pickwick Lake. For the biggest bass, fish the short coves next to deep water. Target grass patches with top waters and shaky heads, depending on conditions. A cloudy day can mean great top water action in early month. As waters cool, a bright day may bring success, as the upper layer will mean warmer water for shad and bass that follow. You might also follow the channels back to the backs of the larger coves, as the shad will also draw bass with them. Grass beds will be topped out on flats and behind islands where top water action will bring good numbers and some big bass, also. Crappie fishermen should be pulling crank baits along the creek channels and deeper humps in Yellow Creek. This area has been excellent for the past few seasons for this species. For your best advice below the dam and the lower Lake area call Clagett Talley @731 607 5266. For the latest in the Iuka Mississippi area, call Gary Harlan (901 413 2650). Both of these gentlemen offer expert guide services on the lake. See the special section in last month's edition for more tips.

Northeast Arkansas

Excellent fall fishing for bass and crappie will be in store as most waters are clear. Lakes such as Horseshoe, Big Lake, Bear Creek, and Storm Creek have lower levels due to dry weather conditions. All these larger lakes should be in prime shape or bass, crappie, bream, and catfish. The oxbows along the Mississippi have benefitted from the fresh water of early summer but are also low. Normally they would be in a stagnant state, but rainfall has added oxygen and runoff nutrients, which stimulates the bite. As waters cool, fish will be feeding heavily in preparation for colder weather. As a rule, start shallow and go deeper until you find 'em this time of year. Another good place for October is Lake Ashbaugh, near Pocahontas but be ready to hand haul your johnboat to the water as it is low. The haul will be worth the effort.

Dale Hollow

The water temps are cooling to high 70s to low 80s .The bite has got better as the water has cooled off.Jig Fishin 15 to 25 ft for some nice smallmouth .The top Water bite is good early morning or late afternoon and cloudy days on points and over grass beds.Largemouth and Smallmouth same pattern.Frog baits and poppers.Good with these baits.You can reach me by going to www.bobbygentry.com give me a call anytime .Feel free to look up my Facebook page.Bobby Gentry Dale Hollow Lake Guide Service.

Old Hickory

Our source for Old Hickory, Joey Mallicoat, told us, "The water level is currently 444.45 and the water temperature ranges from the mid 70's to low 80's. The bass bite has been rather slow. I have managed to catch a few fish in the creeks on shad imitating baits. I have been turning and burning something like a squarebill or a spinnerbait. The quality has been rather poor. Some fish are still being caught flipping the log jams on the river channel. With the cooler weather coming the bite should pick up. I'll be looking for bait fish to be pushed up on the flats in the creeks and the bass to be chomping. I like to use a 1/4 ounce blue and chrome lipless crankbait to target the flats. It is very easy to cover water with this technique. The crappie are being caught on channel laydowns on jigs as well as trolling bandit 200's around brush. Be sure to pay attention while navigating the lake as there is more debris than normal."

Percy Priest

Our source for Percy Priest, Joey Mallicoat, told us, "The water level is currently 490.15 with the water temperature in the high 70's. The top water bite has finally started to heat up with the bait being schooled up and bass chasing them. I have had 40 fish days and all of them have been on walking style top water baits. My favorite this time of year is the Strike King Sexy Dawg. My favorite color is Bone. The key to catching fish right now is finding the bait. If you can manage to do that the bass will not be far behind. I really rely on my electronics this time of year. My bigger bites have come on crawfish imitations such as jigs or a soft plastic rigged on a wobble head. I like to use a 3/4 ounce as it helps me keep contact with the bottom. The crappie are being caught throughout the lake trolling bandit 200's as well as drifting live bait around channel drops. The hybrid are still being caught in the jumps on top water first thing in the mornings and last hour of daylight. With the winter draw down on the way always pay attention to where you are running."

 

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