Norris anglers are beating the heat by fishing at night or at daybreak

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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 June 16 was 1,020.54 feet and expected to remain stable. Surface temperatures are in the mid to high 80s. The lake is clear at most locations.

Record high temperatures have kept most anglers off the lake in the daytime. The best fishing is at night and at dawn.

Fishing for largemouth bass is good in the coves at daybreak. Early morning topwater action is good. Plastic worms and jerk baits, such as Flukes, are working well when fished in shallow water, near wood structure during the early morning hours. The bass are dropping to 15 feet deep by mid-morning.

Smallmouth bass have moved to deeper water and are a little harder to catch. Tube jigs and pig’n jigs are productive baits when fished along shelf rocks and gravel bars. Smallmouth bass are holding as deep as 30 feet on the points.

From now until Oct. 15, there is a 20-inch minimum length limit on smallmouth bass and a creel limit of one. The change replaces the 17-22 inch slot limit. The daily creel limit for largemouth/smallmouth bass in combination remains five per day on Norris Lake.

Fishing for spotted bass is good on the main channels and on rocky points at the mouth of coves. Crawfish-pattern crank baits and small white-skirted spinners and whacky-worm rigs have been effective when fished near wood structure along rocky banks. Spotted bass have also been known to hit plastic grubs on lead head jigs and tipped with an inch or so of nightcrawler.

Striper action is good but scattered, during the late afternoon and especially at dawn, from Loyston Sea/Bear Hole Bend to Lakeview Dock. A few stripers have been caught near Point 9. Shad and alewife are working well when tightlined into schools of bait fish on the main river and old creek channels. Some surface breaks can be seen at dawn and dusk.

Walleye fishing is fair. Nighttime action is best on the lower third of the lake when jigging Mann O’Lures in 30 to 35 feet of water. Snagged shad and alewife have also enticed a few walleyes into biting. 

Bluegills are hitting popping bugs, crickets and worms along steep, rocky shorelines. Dawn is the best time, but late afternoon can be productive along shady banks.

Although the shellcracker action has slowed, these fish are hitting a variety of baits and small lures fished very close to shoreline brush. Redworms, nightcrawlers, waxworms and crickets are effective when fished 5 to 10 feet deep.

Crappie fishing is fair. Most are being caught 10-20 feet deep in brush and downed timber close to the shoreline or along the bottom in creek channels. The lures of choice are small doll flies, mini tube jigs (red/white, blue/white) and 1/32 oz. hair or feather jigs tipped with minnows. 

Night fishing with tuffy minnows under the lights has produced a few crappies, but even that method has not been extremely productive. Brush piles along the steep banks of the main channel above Union County Dock and Point 30 have been productive.