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 22 was 1,019.27 feet, which is about half a foot lower than the previous week.
Surface temperatures range from 84 to 89 degrees depending on time of day and location. The channels at Cove Creek, Big Creek and the Clinch River from Point 5 to Norris Dam are in the mid-80s. The lake is clear at all locations. Water temperatures are around 65 degrees at 33 feet deep. The latest water quality report, with the temperature and dissolved oxygen profile, is available at www.tnfish.org.
Hot surface temperatures and muggy days have kept most anglers off the lake. Afternoon and early evening catches are hard to come by, with the exception of a few decent-sized walleyes caught by fishermen trolling from Loyston to Lost Creek.
Crappie action is best at night under lights, at dawn or during the late afternoon hours in shoreline brush.
Fishing for largemouth bass is moderate. The best time of day to catch a bucketmouth is at dawn. Crawfish pattern lures are working best on the flats and rocky areas for fishermen targeting largemouth and smallmouth bass.
Smallmouth bass have been most active at night and just before dawn on rocky points that extend into the main channels and on mid-lake humps 25 feet deep.
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 bass, in combination, remains five per day on Norris Lake.
Fishing for spotted bass has been fair during the early morning hours and then slow throughout the day on crawfish pattern crank baits and Finesse-worm rigs fished along rocky banks near wood structure. Spotted bass are hitting plastic grubs on lead head jigs tipped with an inch of nightcrawler and fished along rocky banks.
Striper action is scattered from points 10 and 11 to the Loyston Sea/Bear Hole Bend to Point 9 and Boy Scout Hollow. Some surface breaks can be seen at dawn and dusk.
Shad and alewives have been effective baits when tightlined into schools of baitfish on the main river and old creek channels. Walleye fishing is moderate while trolling small, nickel-plated spinner/nightcrawler rigs (No. 2 Hildebrandt) 25 feet deep during daytime hours. Pre-dawn or night fishing with jigged Mann O’Lures and snagged shad or alewives is best on the lower third of the lake. Anchor in 25 to 30 feet of water for night fishing under lights along rocky banks.
Bluegills are hitting popping bugs, crickets and worms fished along steep, rocky shorelines. Dawn is the best time to fish, but some popping bug action can be had along shaded, rocky banks during the late afternoon hours.
Shellcracker action has been moderate, but is showing signs of slowing down. The fish have dropped to as deep as 20 feet during daylight hours. Although the action has slowed, shellcrackers are hitting a variety of baits and small lures including: redworms, nightcrawlers, waxworms, crickets, small crank baits and Beetle Spins.