Last Updated November 28, 2018
Even though the Lake is not at low levels, the crappie fishing is in dynamite mode. Green and blue jigs tipped with crappie nibbles or minnows are doing the job. This is single hand pole fishing at its best. Fish each stump and, if no bite, move to the next. The Lower Blue Basin is jam-packed with some of the Lake's biggest crappie and will continue indefinitely until spring. The areas to search are the ten to twelve foot levels and fish should be about half way down. Days with a slight ripple seem to the best. The three ramps on the south side of the lake and two on the north end are usable. Cat fishing is still pretty good but will slow as winter sets in. TWRA in years past have released thousands of red ear sunfish (shell crackers). These should have boosted the panfish population somewhat. Bass fishermen should wait until an extended warm spell occurs. A good choice for some cold weather bassin' is number of watershed lakes in the area. Don't forget the eagles that show up from now until spring. We will have a special section on Reelfoot in January that will give you updates on all the cold weather activities there.
Gibson County Lake
Lake is at pool and easy launching is possible, just be careful and use the center of the ramp. Bass fishing is slow and deep. A few bass can be caught shallow on Rattletraps during warming trends. Deep diving crank baits in chartreuse or shad colors are best. We have had verified reports of some over twelve pounds caught in winter on a deep diving crank bait or large minnows fished in the deepest waters. Be patient and look for channel bends and humps; a monster could be around. A warming trend may bring them up to the points and logjams. Some crappie action has been observed. Crappie over the two-pound mark, have been caught in recent years and the numbers have been impressive. Another good bet is fishing on the bottom with red worms for some of those giant shell crackers for which this lake is noted. Catfish can still be caught but patience is required, as the bite has slowed considerably Store is closed until mid March.
Beech Lake Marine- (731 968 8492) Crappie will be the main target this month with no size limit. Locals prefer to troll minnows down the ledges that have brush piles on them. There are literally hundreds of these hides put there over the years and are fairly easy to find. Bass fishing will be hit or miss. A good warming trend will bring them up from the ledges onto points and humps. Deep running crank baits and jig/craw combos will be the lures of choice. Once again, the "Day on the Lake" in the latest Bassmaster magazine is, without a doubt, Beech Lake,
The Tennessee River was very low for a good part of November making for good fishing. Some of the white cat fishermen mopped up, however. Hopefully, the conditions will be right for white bass and sauger by the time this issue gets to you. The whites will be running the riprap areas. Most anything white will get them. Jigs, crank baits, and spinners will all be effective. You might be lucky enough to tangle with a striper or two, as well. The sauger will be gathering at the creek mouths for their spawn. The old one-ounce jig and trailer is hard to beat. You can tip the jig with a minnow or similar soft plastic for some great action for those tasty smaller cousins of the walleye. Crappie will be holding in the tops and mats right next to deep water. A bass bite can be expected as the shad gather at the creek mouths prior to the cold snap that may result in a shad kill. Crank baits that resemble shad will be your best bet.
(731 738 2960) The big river has been in and out of the chute for several weeks, but was holding around 24 feet on the Memphis gauge at press time. In winters when the Mississippi stays out for a good period of time, crappie fishing has been worth the trip. Just be aware of the waterfowl hunters and Asian carp that may be present. The smaller lakes that are high such as Heathwright Pocket and Crutcher are also good after the river falls. Nearby Champion Lake is closed until mid March. Some folks shift their attention to Fort Pillow State Park Lake for crappie and bass. It is open year round and has a fine concrete ramp but it, too is high.
Our good friend Billy Doyle (901 497 1577) has good winter seasons on the Wolf despite muddy water. He has, in the past, reported catching more big bass than he ever had in late summer. He still does guide trips so give him a call. This will go on all winter as long as the water stays fishable. The Hatchie was on a dingy rise at press time and still rising. It is as high as has been seen in recent years. Fishing in the Refuge oxbows should pick up as soon as the water falls and restocks these lakes. These will be open all winter. Oneal Lake, Woody, Kelso, and the Hillville lakes are closed until mid March. The Hatchie could be good for crappie and bass as long as the conditions allow. Beware of ramp conditions in Haywood County. The Hwy.70 ramp has a treacherous drop that has meant the demise of several trailer axles. The Hwy. 76 ramp has a mud bar that reaches way into the channel. Large four wheel drive vehicles can manage it. The bridge construction is complete.
Herb Parsons Lake
Crappie and yellow bass will be primary targets in December. Both species will be schooled up and easy to catch when you find them. A good LCR is paramount in locating the schools. Some folks will take advantage of warming trends to go for bass and catfish. Bass fishermen will do well to wait until mid-day after the water has had time to warm. The best time will be from ten o'clock 'til dark. Use minnow style baits and fish points and shallows next to deep water. Lake is low. Store is closed until mid March. Be sure to check the limits and remove all small bass and yellow bass within the limits.
Glenn Springs Lake
This is a fine winter lake for bass and catfish. Bass fishermen should concentrate on points and ledges near deep water with black/blue jig and craw combos. Due to the many springs around the lake, some fish may be holding in waters nearby that are a degree or two warmer. Small crawdad crank baits worked over the fallen logs and timber in these shallow areas can be effective. Cat fishermen will be advised to fish on the bottom in the deepest waters with turkey livers or cut shad. Some crappie will be catchable in the trees out around the channels. Minnows or dark jigs are good choices. Bream and shell crackers can be caught from the piers by fishing red worms on the bottom. Lake is clear and at pool. Store is closed until mid March.
Boat rentals are closed until March. Permits are still required. Lake is clear and very low. We suggest trolling for crappie or fishing from the pier for bream. Bass fishing will be slow except during warming trends. Even then, going late in the day is advised. Fish the areas most exposed to the sun and the riprap on the dam.
Store is closed until mid March. Bass fishing will be slow unless a warming trend occurs. Watch for schooling minnows that still may be attracting bass. As long as the mild weather hangs on, this is where bass can be caught. Cast shad-like lures past the schools for the best effect. Crappie will be schooled around the logs and will move vertically with the weather. Your best bet is to target leaning logs and fish different depths until you locate them. Cat fishermen should target the mouths of coves and channel ledges. Some folks will be fishing for bream and shell crackers off the piers and riprap. TWRA will be stocking trout in the cove near the store in early month.. A Tennessee trout stamp is required for fishing for these.
Carroll County 1,000 Acre Lake
This lake had some spotty action on bass and crappie last winter. Crappie trollers were still having moderate success trolling them ledges along the north shore lines. Bass fishermen were scoring with small diving crankbaits at the four to six foot depths. This large lake still has an abundance of submergent grass but most is dying off. Your best bet is to fish the small creek intersections in the sheltered coves. Other good places are the old roadbeds and the riprap dam. Use the honor box as the store is closed until late spring. Check our MSHFN website for updates.
The low water in November made for some fairy good fishing. Normally, bass will be moving to the rocky points and islands near deep water. A warming trend may again send them shallow so be prepared. Depending on their location, lures should be selected accordingly. Top waters have been doing well around shad schools. The last few years, some bass remained shallow all winter. Crappie will be holding in the 12 to 20 foot or so depths and slow trolling will be the technique to use. Locating fish along the channels and ledges with an LCR is necessary. Boat control is the key to getting a good catch and holding your baits still is a good idea, as the cold will drastically slow down the bite. Don't forget the New Johnsonville Steam Plant where warm water will attract all species during the winter months. Ky. Lake has been holding around 354 for many days. Be extremely careful when running. Asian carp are susceptible to very cold water and maybe a harsh winter will help eliminate many of them.
Good smallmouth fishing has been the word since the temperatures fell. Several have been caught by drifting large minnow along the rock walls and ledges. Large mouth have been feeding on the shad schools and were being caught on rattle lures. The crappie bite in Yellow Creek should be prime as it was this time last year. Below the dam.-This is the time to get out your sauger gear as they will soon be stacking up below the dam and the creek mouths for the annual spawning run. They must have running water to be successful. The other hot species are smallmouth bass and white bass. Both will be holding right off the current in fairly shallow waters all along the riprap areas. Drifting yellow tail minnows or casting small crawdad colored crankbaits for the smallies and white jigs or small, white cranks for the whites.
Your best bet for crappie in winter is Horseshoe Lake near Hughes. It now has larger public ramp. Fish the brush piles around the docks or possibly the dead pad stems in the shallows during the warmer days. Cat fishing in winter has been pretty good the past few years out in the main channel. The 10 to 12 foot depths seem to be best and turkey livers were the bait to use. The Black River near Powhatan is another good choice as long as it is not flooded. The walleye run has begun where the Spring River empties into the Black. Mallard Lake near Manila is another good choice for both crappie and bass. Fish the north end around the logjams. All the Crowley's Ridge Lakes should be in fair shape as they have also been affected by the drought. Big Lake is closed until mid March for waterfowl. Storm Creek and Bear Creek Lakes are excellent choices for winter fishing due to their southerly locations and many sheltered coves.
Our source for Old Hickory, Joey Mallicoat, told us, "The lake level is currently 444.40 and the water temps are in the low 50's. The fishing has been incredibly tough. There was a large BFL tournament here a couple of weeks ago and it took some of the lowest weights ive seen all year to win. This time of year I like to target shallow flats in the creeks with a lipless crankbait and a squarebill. The bass really like to push the bait fish up on them this time of year to feed up before old man winter truly arrives. Alabama rigs on creek channel points have also been a player as long as the water clarity permits it. The rock fish are eating very good right now, so if they bass arent cooperating, go throw an Alabama rig on creek channel banks. I normally like to target bluff banks where the channel butts right up next to it. Remember to always pay attention while boating. With the excessive rain we've had the amount of debris in the river has increased tremendously."
Our source for Percy Priest, Joey Mallicoat, told us, "The water level is (when this forecast was written) currently 486.27 and the water level is in the low 50's. The bass bite has been hit or miss lately. It has taken much longer to draw the lake down to winter pool this year as we have experienced a wet fall. The fluctuating water level has made the fish harder to pattern. I have been using suspending jerkbaits targeting points close to deep water. With the cold weather coming the fish will start migrating out to their winter dwellings so any place that has deep water near by chances are the fish will be close. I have also had good luck on an Alabama rig. Mostly covering water until I find the bait and typically that is when I will get my bites. The crappie have been biting well. Brush piles in 10-12 foot of water have been most productive. Live bait and jigs have been the best. The numbers haven't been extremely high, but the quality has been tremendous. The hybrid are still being caught roaming around chasing bait on Alabama rigs. Remember as the lake draws down to be cautious of where you're running.