Home › Tag Archives › river

There’s Still Hope! Crappie Bite Is On

HFG-IMG_6439.2015-03-16_042331

Well I’ve managed to get out twice for crappie this year. In recent years it just seems like the crappie have gone bananas in our waters and after a fairly weak run at the bounty last year, I’ve hunkered down to fill the freezer better this year. My first outing three weeks ago was perfect. The temps had crept up into the low seventies and as soon as I saw that everyone else was consistently catching good fish I went after them. It was a solo Sunday evening trip and I had little trouble filling my limit, culling only four fish. I could tell that even though the bite was good and the fish were keepers, we were barely in range with water temps. I fished jigs until dark and switched to live bait when the sun went down.

HFG-Photo-Mar-22,-1-42-23-AM

Of course the very next weekend I set out for a repeat performance, only this time I brought another angler to back me up. Temps dipped during the week and while I was a little worried about it, I had to go. We fished hard from 5pm until after 1am culling dozens of fish and keeping only nine. The water temps were just down too much and the bite was very lethargic. The good sign was that there were way more fish on the finder than the week before.
This last weekend temps dipped way down below average, so I left it to the pros. Fortunately the low temps were short lived and I’m seeing great posts of crappie catches this week, already. So hopefully we can make another good strong run or two before they start spooling down post-spawn.
My guide buddy Richard Simms has absolutely been hammering crappie for a few weeks now and serves as a pretty good indicator of bite activity this week. Granted he does it for a living and all-importantly gets out on weekdays, you can see in his and others successes that it’s another strong year for crappie in Tennnessee Valley.

Shallow Water Mud Slingin’

The morning was a bust. Saw two skunks, two beavers and an otter, but barely a duck anywhere near my setup. Before heading back to the truck I wanted to inspect a beaver dam that I’ve been watching all year. Low water has kept me away from it and just enough water to skate back to it was the case on this day. The motor worked for it, but I was able to get in close to two sides of the dam despite random hard clay bottom in spots. Here’s a few clips of the digging, clawing and scratching required to simply get a look at this dam. I cut out the extended mud blasting efforts to save time, but trust me there were a few moments of slow progress or even hopping out of the boat to get turned around.

 

May River Fishing

After a couple weeks off of crappie spawning we decided to run the Tennessee river in the tail race below Chickamauga Dam. Good rainfall had the flow around 25,000 and the weather was sunny and calm otherwise. We really didn’t set the river on fire but I managed to hook a couple of beautiful smallies and one cranky catfish before the daylight ran out. Nothing special other than a great evening on the water.

Chickamauga Lake Crappie Fishing Report

We’re still basically going twice a week these days. The fishing has been consistent, not great but consistent for a couple of weeks now. I took my kayak bass fishing buddy out last night for his first crappie run of the year. It was miserably slow from afternoon until about 10pm or later. I knew the dam was drawing very little water until midnight and just assumed it would be a bad trip altogether. We ended up picking up enough short fish to keep us interested until some keepers came along. Between 11pm and midnight someone let the dogs out and we nearly ran out of minnows in a firestorm of biting crappie. We walked away with 17 keepers and were almost shocked at how much the fishing picked up that last hour.

To be fair, our average catch was closer to 10″ than 14″ but we had a blast trying to keep minnows on hooks.

Surprise!

Aaron and two of the nicer keepers he was catching

Chickamauga Lake Crappie Fishing Report

This weekend was too busy for me to get any fishing done. Ironically, frying fish on Saturday night prevented me from catching fish to eat. As the weekend wound down on Sunday, I made my way to crappie spot and met my neighbor on his way home from the golf course. Our medium shiners were extra large and possibly contributed to the lack of fishing action. I’d picked up some fluorescent submersible lights on Saturday as well as a replacement globe for a donated Coleman lantern. So a full lighting package was employed soon after sunset. We’ve decided that fishing for crappie at night without them is a significant disadvantage. We didn’t catch near as many fish as we did a few days before, but almost every fish caught was a keeper. Larger bait catches larger fish. It would seem like a no brainer, but we look for a balance between catching a bunch of fish and the more boring version like Sunday’s trip that ended up yielding 9 keepers between 8pm and 11pm. We’re still finding plenty of fish with eggs, so we can only assume to be on the first half of the spawn cycle.

Chickamauga Lake Crappie Fishing Report

The third outing for crappie was as promising a trip as we’ve had. After three days of warmer weather we knew the water temperatures would be up. In fact, it was nearly eighty degrees today. Knowing the temps would be back down tomorrow we decided that today was the best day of this week to go sample the staged crappie in our sweet spot. Continue reading »

Crappie Scouting on Chickamauga Lake

Got the call mid-morning on Sunday that we were going on a Sunday afternoon crappie search. The weather had trended a little warmer since our mid-week run, but had again tanked for Sunday. The water temps had risen from 45 to 48 degrees, but the air temps were 43 and sinking. Continue reading »

Squeezing In the Last Few Kayak Fishing Trips

After a good day on the water with Richard Simms last Sunday, we decided it was worth our while to hit the river in the kayaks this afternoon (a week later). Two things we didn’t look at, the weather or the flow. The flow ended up being pretty legit, but the rains did come. Fortunately, the heavy rains fell while temps hovered in the low 60s so it was tolerable if not heavy at times. Continue reading »

Jig Fishing Lands Monster Catfish on Tennessee River

We’ve been taking  shots at the schooling white bass for a couple of weeks. The other night my buddy went after them and his friend hooked up with this fatty on a grub! Fishing with grubs and jigs for white bass and shad is a great way to get in some fishing both late and early in the fishing season while fish are aggressively feeding on schools of bait.