There’s never been a better time for spring fishing in Tennessee, so grab your favorite rod and reel and hit the water! Here are the places you won’t want to miss.
Percy Priest Lake
Jim Duckworth says casting a 1/2-ounce white Zorro Aggravator spinnerbait with silver blades among the bushes is about the best technique for the upper end of Percy Priest. The water is usually high or flooding the shoreline in March and that’s like a dinner bell to these pre-spawn bass.
He says begin hitting the bushes on the outside of a pocket then cast to every bush until you are at the back of the pocket. Was there a pattern? If bass are hitting on the point bushes and not in the back, then spend your time working the point bushes. It shouldn’t take you long to determine where the bass are holding.
Casting a lizard on a Carolina rig on mid-lake humps and secondary points is another of his recommendations, but don’t ignore flats. Bass are looking for a place to spawn even if they aren’t quite ready.
Jim Duckworth guides for bass and crappie on Percy Priest and Center Hill. Check out his Web site at www.fishingtennessee.com, or call (615) 444-2283.
Crappie anglers in East Tennessee say that Douglas Lake is the place for springtime crappies. The spots to hit range from Swan Bridge to Taylor Bend and Nina Creek. When the lake begins to clear, crappies move into the bushes to spawn.
It’s time to hit the upper section of Ft. Loudoun Lake for smallies. Fish the mouths of Little Turkey, Little River and Sinking Creek by flipping a jig, swimming a spinnerbait and running a lizard along the gravel slopes, riprap and old road beds.
Bob Latendresse showed me a grandest time pulling in crappie from the New Johnsonville area of Kentucky Lake. The best crappie-catching day I’ve ever had was when we anchored along a bank in Birdsong Creek to reel in crappies for more than two hours. I think we had to be catching the same fish two or three times because we didn’t move from the one spot and caught a crappie with more than 90 percent of our casts. The fish hit small chartreuse jigs with a touch of black.
Bob Latendresse guides on Kentucky Lake for crappie and bass and on the Buffalo River for smallies. He can be reached at (731) 220-0582.
Reelfoot Lake is known for its bluegills. This natural lake is shallow and weedy. The water warms fast and bluegills begin to spawn by mid-month. Crickets and mealworms are never-fail baits.
Crappie in the backwaters of Lake Barkley near Cumberland City are primed for spawning, so dunk some minnows and small jigs in the creeks and among bushes.
Percy Priest Lake
Hybrids are moving into their summer pattern. Schools cruise the 16-foot depth along the main channel and major creek channels. Gene Austin has found that the rainbow trout colored Fin-S bait on a 3/8-ounce leadhead is the top bait. Hybrids show up in the same places every year – Suggs, Hamilton, Long Hunter, Stewarts, Fall and Spring Creeks and both forks of the Stones River. The lake has been heavily stocked with hybrids in past years and you should hang several reaching 12 pounds.
Gene Austin guides for hybrids, stripers, crappies and bass on Priest, and bass on Dale Hollow. His telephone number is (615) 218-4472.
Smallies near Willow Grove on Dale Hollow Lake are eager to find your minnow free-swimming along the bluffs. A 4-inch shiner on a number two gold hook and light line does all the work.
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park has many trout streams. The indigenous brook trout can be found in the higher elevations but the stocked rainbows and browns are easier to find. Little River and its prongs are the most popular areas for rainbows.
Don’t forget to share your best fishing photos with us on Camera Corner for your chance to win free gear!
MSRP: Pricing starts at $22,195.
The 186 VLO measures in at 18 feet 9 inches with an 89-inch beam. The boat is built on a fiberglass, foam-filled hull and weighs in at 1,450 pounds and can hold a payload of 1,320 pounds. Maximum room is devoted to rod and tackle storage and fishing deck. VLO comes with a cus-tom-built, single axle trailer with submersible lights, a swing jack and a swing-away tongue.