Dave Washburn says fishing is fairly good when the wind will let you get out on the lake.
Hi, I’m Dave Washburn, with the FLW Weekly Fishing Report. Depending on what you’re targeting, fishing is fairly good when the wind will let you get out on the lake. Bass, bluegill and shellcracker are the headliners, but you’ve got to cover water and make a lot of casts to do well.
The recent weather isn’t helping. It’s as if we had April in march, and now we’re having march in April. A month ago the water temperatures were racing upward and making for a well-defined bass spawn, but it’s been drifting down by several degrees this month. Cool water temperatures, combined with a stable or even slightly falling lake level, haven’t really produced a dependable bite. If you’re after bass, the best tactic now is to make as many casts as you can back in the coves where bass usually gang up to spawn.
Though the spawn is pretty much over now, there are a lot of fish still cruising the breaklines and shallow ledges adjacent to the spawning flats… and they’re hungry. Reaction baits such as medium-running crankbaits in shad patterns, or lipless crankbaits, are the best producers. If the wind allows, try shakey heads with small plastic worms and fish them in and around shoreline cover or along secondary points. Carolina- or Texas-rigged soft-plastic worms or creature baits in various sizes also are producing, as long as the wind is manageable enough to let you fish them. Again, zero in on the areas in the back of major bays and coves.
If you’re after crappie, fish the brush piles and stake beds in about 8 to 12 feet of water. They’re still are a few crappie in shallower water, but the best bet is targeting the fish out along the secondary ledges and creeks in deeper water. They’re taking 1/16- or 1/8-ounce tube jigs, swimming-tail jigs, and minnows.
There have been a lot of reports of big bluegill and redear being caught, though they’re coming from deeper water – say 4 to 6 feet – on the secondary drops out from their traditional spawning flats. If you’re not on a bed of fish and just looking for bites, try a drop-shot rig and bait it with a piece of red worm or crawler. Then cast it out and drag it slowly back to the boat or the bank. Most guys have been catching a mixed bag or bluegill and redear and they’re zeroing in on areas where the bottom is sandy or a sand-gravel mix.
Catfish aren’t very active now, most likely because the lake is still about 3 feet low and showing no signs of coming up substantially. If the Tennessee River valley starts getting the rain it should normally be getting at this time of the year, the water will come up and the fishing will get consistently better. As it is right now, however, its catch as catch can.
That’s it for now. This is Dave Washburn for FLW, wishing you good weather and great fishing.
Dave Washburn is Director of Administrative Operations at FLW Outdoors.