Crappies and bass are biting in spite of high, muddy water

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 The following is a weekly summary of the fishing conditions on Norris Lake as reported by creel clerks from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).

The lake level on Friday, March 11 was 1,010.73 feet and rapidly rising. The lake level has increased 10.51 feet during the past two weeks because of heavy rains over saturated ground. There is considerable floating debris in the upper reaches of the lake, and boaters need to exercise caution. 

Surface temperatures range from 48 degrees in the main channel to as high as 57 degrees in the headwaters. Muddy or significantly stained water extends from the headwaters of both river arms to Point 19 at Anderson County Park. Cove Creek is muddy from the headwaters to Point 2.

High, muddy water has hurt fishing for stripers and walleyes upriver. However, crappies and largemouth bass have become easier to target. These fish are holding tight to cover, be it rocks or wood structure, especially in the rear of the coves and in the headwaters of the large creeks where the water temperature is warmer.

Crappie fishing is good. The best action is in the headwaters of the larger creek embayments. Where there is stained water and shallow brush, crappies have been caught as shallow as 2 feet. Windy days have produced good crappie catches in the shallows along rocky points and brush.

Largemouth bass action is moderate. Crank baits fished in stained water, close to structure, are producing good catches of largemouth bass on the right days.

Fishing for smallmouth bass is slow. Crank bait fishermen are catching a few close to the shoreline in stained water. Most of the larger smallmouth bass are being caught deep on rocky points and mid-channel humps, while smaller fish are being caught along the rocky shoreline.

Spotted bass action is moderate. They’re hitting doll flies tipped with minnows or plastic grubs and fished 15 to 25 feet deep along gravel shorelines and near rock outcroppings during the daylight. Spotted bass can be found in water much more shallow at night.

Stripers are reluctant to bite now that they’re feeding on the many dying shad. Muddy, littered channels have hindered striper fishermen.

High, fast-running, muddy water has brought walleye fishing in the headwaters to a standstill. Walleyes on the lower end of the lake can be found 15 to 20 feet deep along steep, rocky banks near wood structure. Walleyes have been located in water a bit more shallow at night.