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, July 15 was 1,019.73-feet and below full pool (1,020) for the first time since late April.
Surface temperatures range from 84 to 89 degrees, depending on time of day and location. The lake is clear at all locations, and 65-degree water can be found at 33 feet deep.
The latest water quality report, with the temperature and dissolved oxygen profile, is available at www.tnfish.org.
The best fishing is during hours of low light from early evening until daybreak.
Crappie fishing is best at night under the lights, at dawn or late afternoon in the headwaters of the larger creek embayments such as Big Ridge Hollow.
Largemouth and smallmouth bass are hitting crawfish pattern lures fished at first light on the flats and rocky areas. From June 1-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 in combination remains five per day on Norris Lake.
Spotted bass are hitting crawfish pattern crank baits and Finesse-worm rigs fished along rocky banks near wood structure. They’re also hitting plastic grubs on lead head jigs tipped with an inch of nightcrawler and fished down rocky banks.
Striper action is good but scattered. During the late afternoon hours and especially at dawn, the Powell River from points 10 to 11, and the section of lake between Loyston Sea and Bear Hole Bend have been hot spots. A few stripers have been caught near Point 9 and near Boy Scout Hollow. Shad and alewives have been effective baits when tightlined into schools of baitfish on the main river and old creek channels. A few surface breaks can be seen at dawn and dusk.
Pre-dawn or night fishing is best for walleyes on the lower third of the lake. Jigged Mann O’Lures and snagged shad or alewives have been effective walleye baits on Norris when fished in 28 to 35 feet of water.
Bluegills have hit popping bugs, crickets and worms fished along the steep, rocky shorelines. Dawn is the best time, but some late afternoon popping bug action can be had along shady banks.
Shellcracker action is moderate. The best fishing is near the bottom, less than 10-feet deep, near flooded brush and small trees or button bushes. Although the action has slowed, shellcrackers are hitting a variety of baits and small lures fished very close to shoreline brush. Redworms, nightcrawlers, waxworms, crickets, small crank baits and Beetle Spins have all been effective.