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Largemouth bass are still best bet for Norris anglers

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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 Monday, Feb. 14 was 1,000.21 feet and stable. Surface temperatures are in the 40s and warming up. Slightly stained water can be found only in the upper reaches of the creek embayments and the upper river channels. The prolonged period of cold water caused a recent die-off of threadfin shad, which was apparent at Sycamore Creek during the middle of last week. Seagulls could be seen accumulating by the hundreds across some parts of the upper half of the lake where threadfin were struggling.

Crappie fishing has been slow, but is best in the headwaters of the larger creek embayments. Most crappies have been caught 15 to 20 feet deep in brush piles on small doll flies, mini tube jigs (red/white, blue/white) and 1/32 oz. hair or feather jigs tipped with minnows.

Fishing for largemouth bass has been moderate. Bass are hitting in the warmer water of the shallows in hollows and creeks. The best bass baits have been 5-inch Senko or Finesse-type worms fished with a small weight (Texas rig or weightless Whacky rig); 4-inch smoke grubs (Twisters) fished with slow, steady retrieve; half-ounce rubber-skirted jigs and 4-inch tube jigs lightly weighted.

Smallmouth bass action has been fair. You can find them on points close to the shoreline on cloudy, breezy days, and suspending far from the shoreline 15 to 20 feet deep on days when the barometer is high. Finesse or Senko worms, small lizards, tube jigs and quarter-ounce hair or feather jigs tipped with medium tuffy minnows have all been effective smallmouth baits when fished along the bottom off moderately sloped rocky banks.

Striper activity is moderate. The better catches were on the lower five miles of the lake, in the channel between Norris Dam and Point 9. The best striper baits have been live shad or alewife and jigging spoons.

Walleye fishing is slow but improving in the river channels above points 31 and 16. Drift or cast, and slowly retrieve feathered doll flies or plastic grub-jigs across the bottom of the channel where the depth is no more than 25 feet. The water in these sections of the lake has been cold – in the high 30s – so the action is slow.