Fishing report: Bass and crappie are biting with temperature dropping – The Tennessean
To report the most up-to-date information on fishing in the Midstate, The Tennessean has asked for contributions from several avid anglers. They will report on their latest trips as well as offer tips. To add a report, contact Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 or email@example.com.
• Melvin Stewart on the Cumberland River: On Saturday I started fishing in the flats to no avail. I moved to the main river channel where the water was a couple of degrees warmer. The water temperature was 50 degrees, stained and 1 foot above summer pool. I located bass holding in 6 feet of water. I caught seven keeper bass on a square-bill crank bait. Visit MelsFishingTales.com.
• Brian Carper guide service on Percy Priest: Last week the bass and crappie continued to stay active. Bass are being caught throughout the entire lake not only in shallow depth (1-5 feet of water) but also on deeper ledges and points in 10-15 feet of water. Alabama Rigs, jigs, shaky heads and jerk baits have been productive lures. On the upper-end the creeks continue to produce with finesse worms fished on the creek channel ledge. Green pumpkin and black have been the most productive colors. Crappie are biting well up in the river around isolated wood and lay downs off the bank. Live minnows fished off the bottom and with floats are successful. The clarity throughout the lake is superb between 1.5-3 feet visibility with the temperature ranging from 48 to low 50s. There has been a plethora of aggressive hybrid down-lake as well as schooling in the main river channel. Alabama Rigs and trolling techniques have been producing for these aggressive fish. For more information check out www.briancarper.com.
• Paul Neighbours Jr. on Old Hickory and Shelby Bottoms Park: Crappie are hitting pretty good on the lake around the Drakes Creek area. Find boat docks and you’ll find them using jigs tipped with minnows and sliding floats fishing in 3-6 feet of water. The Gallatin Steam Plant action has slowed. The tilapia have moved on, but some crappie and small stripe are being caught. The stripers are still hitting Alabama Rigs, but remember they are light sensitive fish so late afternoon and early morning or even cloudy rainy days are best. Catfish are still hitting in 6-10 feet of water on minnows. Find the bait fish and they will be right under them feeding. Shelby Bottoms has been a hot spot since the TWRA stocked the trout in January. Lots of folks are catching their limits there.
• Chris Snow on Center Hill: Bass fishing is good right now. The fish can be caught shallow or deep. Crank baits, jigs, rattle traps and spinner baits fished along channel banks are producing the best results. During the month of February the walleye fishing picks up in the upper portion of the lake. For more information contact Chris at snowspinbaits.com.
• Ken Campsey on Percy Priest: I fished the middle section of the lake on Tuesday and Wednesday. The water is 49-50 degrees. I caught several bass on main lake points throwing Tennessee rigs and shake heads. I like the 5-inch Zoom watermelon red finesse worms for that rig. No big fish, but a consistent bite made for a fun morning. Ran into several crappie fishermen having success over brush in 12-15 feet of water. Minnows seemed to work best. TWRA was on the water doing creel checks. They must be good luck because as the officers approached my boat I set the hook on a nice largemouth.
• Tim Tighe on the lower half of Cheatham Lake: As of Monday afternoon Sam’s Creek is 48 degrees as is the main lake. Both are stained, but not muddy. Visibility is 1-1.5 feet near the shoreline, but not in the channel. The only thing that has changed in the last week is slightly lower water temperatures because of the recent cold front. I have been catching most of my fish on Strike King chrome with a black back Red Eye Shad and spinner baits. I’m sure that I could catch a few flipping a jig, but most of the bait fish and fish are in the channels in the creeks and the main lake. Some people may wonder how I can be sure of this and I am not seeing only what is under my boat. Very simply, I also use side and 360 imagining, which will show me the entire creek channel or a big portion of the main channel, and they are mostly in the deeper water. If you are fishing ponds or small bodies of water, this is not as important because they have limited choices. Cheatham Lake is 67 miles long with another 37 miles of river and creeks, so we have close to 100 miles of fishable water. If we do not become proficient at finding them first and just start blindly casting we will have many fruitless hours. Similar to the fall season, if I did not find shad and fish on my electronics I caught very few fish. When I did find these concentrations, I did very well. Where these concentrations are depth-wise is also critical since the fish are not as active and won’t chase as well. When you figure the correct depth range, count your bait down to the proper depth and yo-yo it right through the middle of the school for the best results. I also learned that the concentrations have moved slightly from day to day. It may have only been a short distance, but if I had not noticed this on my electronics I may have completely missed the bite. Currently the concentrations have been in the main creek channel, but this could change with the approaching warm temperatures.
• Joey Monteleone on the head waters of Percy Priest and a small pond: Surface water temperatures are stable but can move slowly because of wind and warm weather rains. Bass are staged in sharp depth changes (3-7 feet) on points, edges of flats, off-shore cover. Stationary objects are holding bigger fish along with deeper bottom contours, structure, points, creek channels and ledges. In short, fish are scattered. I caught crappie, catfish and bass. I caught bass on a basic pattern of spinners, crank baits and jigs or soft plastics. Smaller finesse jigs and 4-5 inch finesse worms are drawing strikes consistently. Try crawfish colors and neutral patterns, soft plastics, half-ounce jigs trailed by Rage Craws, or the small jigs with Rage Tail baby craws in clear water. Suspending jerk baits in lighter color patterns are catching bass and will work for the next several weeks. Catfish are biting night crawlers and hot dogs in creek channels and deeper drop-offs. Crappie are active and hitting soft plastics in shallower spots in 10 feet of water or less. Water color is clear to slightly murky. Typical of the season, the afternoon bite seems to be better. The next major moon phase is full Feb. 11.