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 Tuesday, Jan. 11 was 1,001.53 and falling.
Cold rain and snow runoff are cooling the lake as the water is drawn through the reservoir. Surface temperatures range from the 30s in the headwaters to the 40s on the lower end of the lake. On cold mornings, some of the coves on the upper half of the lake were frozen over.
With the exception of the upper river arms and backwater areas, the lake is clear.
Cold, snowy weather followed a few days of tolerable weather resulted in fairly good fishing, especially on the lower end of the lake where the water was warmer. Most fish have been caught on lures with a slow presentation at depths of less than 10 feet.
Crappie fishing is fair in the stained headwaters of the larger creek embayments. The best fishing has been in the brush on the edges of the main channel, especially near the headwaters of the larger creeks. The surface of some of these creeks may be frozen, depending on the weather. The best action is along steep banks on the main channels before the sunlight hits the brush. Small doll flies, mini tube jigs (red/white, blue/white) and 1/32 oz. hair or feather jigs tipped with minnows have been the best crappie lures for Norris fishermen.
Smallmouth bass action is fair. The best action is close to the shoreline on cloudy, breezy days. Anglers should try fishing 15 feet deep on sunny days. The best smallmouth lures for Norris are small Senko-type worms fished slowly along the bottom and float ’n fly rigs set about 10 feet deep.
Largemouth bass can be caught on Senko worms, tube jigs and small hair flies fished close to rocky shorelines and wood structure.
Striper activity is fair. The channel at Bear Hole Bend and between points 9 and 19 produced some fish, as did Black Fox Creek to Hwy. 33 Bridge and the Loyston Sea. Many gulls have been spotted at Lost Creek and Mill Creek area of Norris Lake. Gulls can be a signal of surface-feeding stripers. Live shad, alewife and jigging spoons have been effective when fished from 20 to 35 feet deep where suspended forage fish and striped bass are located. A few surface feeding fish are hitting Zara Spooks and soft jerkbaits, but the action is limited to twilight and dawn, and is intermittent at best.
Fishing for walleyes has been slow.