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Troutgirl

East Tennessee Lakers & Trout Part 2, 2017

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It seems like a good time to start a new thread about fishing Tennessee's trout lakes. That being said....I went to Watauga Lake this past Tuesday, 11 April. The Solunar Tables said it was the best day of the month to fish. I always take the Solunar Tables with a grain of salt but I like knowing the length of days and when the celestial bodies are gonna come and go. I arrived at Watauga about 8 a.m. and started trolling upstream from Rat Branch Ramp. I trolled 4 or 5 lines all day except for my lunch break and nap. I went more than half way up Roan Creek before starting back downstream and trolling back. I thought that the afternoon would be better than the morning. It was a full moon and I was sure the fish would feed at night and the afternoon would be the best time. That played out.  All but one of my strikes but one came in the afternoon.

 

The only strike I got all morning was on a Salmon hoochie I made from parts. It was running  at about 30 feet on leadcore line behind a flasher. It didn't result in a hook-up. I'm not sure when my next strike was. By afternoon I was changing my lures, one by one. The same spoon had been on the downrigger all day. I jerked the line out of the clip and low and behold there was a 16" Laker on the line. It looked very worn down as I pulled it in. I put in in the icebox for my friend who likes a small Trout she can bake whole. I cleaned the spoon of fish blood and scent and reapplied some Garlic Bloody Tuna scent. About an hour later I caught another dinky Laker about the same size on the downrigger. I let it go.

 

All morning I ran my Dipsy Diver line with the smallest Dipsy that runs about 20 feet down. I had a small spoon on it. This I hoped would attract Rainbows but no. I switched my Dipsy to the second largest one. I took the outer ring off so it would run at about 35 feet and put on a medium sized spoon. Just as I was entering the narrows, headed downstream toward the Butler Bridge, I got a strike on the Dipsy rod. It didn't feel like a big fish. It wasn't. I released a foot long Spotted Bass. I didn't get another strike till it was almost dark and I was less than a mile away from Rat Branch. I hadn't had a strike on a plug all day. I was starting to pull in lines. I pulled in the shallow plug first. As soon as I was done, the planer board on the other side got jerked back, fish! I finally had a decent fish on. The 22" inch Laker couldn't resist a Rapala Scatter Rap plug served on leadcore line.

 

I still can't find a Rainbow lure that works for me at Watauga. I ran small spoons, plugs, and for several hours pulled a nightcrawler behind Mack's 4 blade troll. The Mack's rig caught Rainbows at Santeetlah on my last trip. I'm beginning to think that the Lakers, Bass, and Walleyes eat most of the Rainbows in Watauga. I have a variety of lures that produce in other trout lakes and when I catch anything on them in Watauga, it's been small Lakers. It was a slow day but ended well when I caught a decent Laker.

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Edited by Troutgirl
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I think that the fish are spread out right now. I saw what I thought were about 6 growing baitballs on my way up the lake. I don't have much confidence in my ability to interpret my new Humminbird 698 sonar. Maybe i saw aquatic weeds some of the times? I didn't expect to pick up any Smallmouths. They should be up the rivers socializing before the spawn. The Lakers should be easier to catch once they concentrate in the lower lake and lose some of their discretion around summer baitballs. The crawlers I put out behind blades baffle me, why don't Rainbows hit them like in other trout lakes....and why don't I pick up an occasional Walleye on 'em? In Chilhowee I caught Rainbows, Walleyes, and Yellow Perch on 'em. I've never heard of Yellow Perch caught in Watauga. They seem to be in most of the other mountain lakes I've fished.

 

Up on South Holston is it possible many of the trout vacation in Virginia this time of year? I wanna try South Holston again this year when it's full. I fished it on the way down last fall and got snagged and snagged snagged! There are humps all over that lake. The channel is narrow and sometimes was hard for me to follow. I was fishing too deep for the low water! I did well on Bass but lost the only Laker I hooked near the boat. It looked small, under 20 inches...

Edited by Troutgirl

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Has anybody been by Watauga Lake today? Is it really muddy? I was looking at TVA's flow levels and Watauga is supposed to be over 1963 feet both Tuesday and Wednesday. That should completely cover the ramp at Rat Branch. I had planned to fish this week but my prospects look dim.....

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I heard it was still clear on the lower end but they also predicted that rat branch would be underwater in 3-4 days. Heck even ft loudoun was still clear on the lower end today

Edited by rusty50576

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23 minutes ago, rusty50576 said:

I heard it was still clear on the lower end but they also predicted that rat branch would be underwater in 3-4 days. Heck even ft loudoun was still clear on the lower end today

 

 

Watauga was really high when I was there 12 days ago.  The catwalk out to the floater at Rat Branch was barely above water. It must of been very close to 1959.5.- 1960 then. I'm thinking that the1963+ that TVA is predicting will cover the dock and maybe cover the lower driveway...and that maybe the fishing dock will be awash...???

 

I wanted to fish this week after a heavy rain but maybe this was just too heavy. I bet South Holston is gonna be muddy too...? Anybody see it today. The 421 ramp would work well even if the lake was a foot or two high.

 

The top end of Fort Loudoun was total chocolate milk today. I was sitting out watching it go by for a while this afternoon. There weren't many logs and no dead cows or pigs like some of these small floods.

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58 minutes ago, rusty50576 said:

Have you ever tried the tva ramp near watauga dam?

 

I used it the first time I fished Watauga back in the 1970's. I don't think that Rat Branch existed back then. Back then, after driving through downtown Elizabethton, that sign to Watauga Dam was there and there we turned.

 

I've given up on going fishing this week. I think that it's too wet to get my boat out of my sister's backyard. Another big storm is coming Thursday. There's always next week.

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Has anybody been to Watauga or South Holston lately? I'm thinking about hitting Watauga tomorrow. I've been watching South Holston on the TVA site. The water is so high, it must be up in the trees...???

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I did go today. I started fishing at 6:15 a.m. The water was 66 degrees at Rat Branch when I started. It was 70 when I got back to the ramp. The therocline still hasn't set up. I didn't get a strike till 8 a.m. when I was about two-thirds of the way up to the big island. I don't recall catching a Laker before 8 a.m. on any of my many trips. I think that Lakers like to sleep in.... :wink:  At 8 a.m. my Dipsy Diver rod pulling a purple spoon started dancing. I landed a 20" Laker.  As I was passing the top of the island, the Dipsy Rod was struck again and I landed a very plump 21" Laker.

 

I decided to set my sights on catching some Rainbows. I pulled in the downrigger spoon and put on a tiny, Super Duper spoon. I put it 150 feet behind the boat and 22 feet down. About a half-mile upstream, just as I was reaching the narrows before the Butler Bridge, the Super Duper was struck by a 14" Rainbow that found itself in my net. I kept going upstream. I put out a lead-core line with Mack's 4 blade Hot Wings type attractor. It's blades are much bigger than regular Hot Wings. This rig is a substitute for Cowbells and I had a crawler behind it. About the time I was leaving the narrows, there was a tap on the crawler. I thought I'd lost my bait but when I reeled in I had a 9" Rainbow. I threw it back.

 

It was starting to get hot. I was about ready to quit. I made a big turn and started back downstream. Then I decided to start bringing in my 5 lines. Whilst I was doing this, I caught another 21" Laker on a plug, on lead-core line. I landed and quickly released it.

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All three Lakers I caught were 3-3.5 pounds, 20-21". That's good eating size. I just had a fillet. I'll bake the Rainbow whole in a couple of days.

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Anybody been by South Holston lately? From the TVA site I can see it's over it's banks and the inflow is heavy. Is it muddy? ....or, stained at all?

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Haven't been able to post for a few weeks for some reason on this site.   Went on Friday about 10 days ago.  Fishing was good.  24 and 26 inchers both between the island and bridge.   7 lbs 26 inches

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11 minutes ago, TrophyLakerTaker said:

test

 

....roger, you are A-OK for approach and posting! :wink: You should of gotten the e-mail when the site was fixed a few days back. Those are nice fish! I've caught fish in that same area but 23" is the largest one I've managed on my 3 trips this season.

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Went to Watugua on Sat May 27th.  good bite for rainbows, smallies, lake trout bite was better in the afternoon.  We ended releasing 5 bass, kept 9 rainbows, and caught 8 lake trout threw 2 back.  nothing big on the lakers, but lakers all bit on downriggers with spoon close to the cannon ball at 57' and 67'.  fished upper and lower lakes. lower lake was better. caught 2 huge smallies, 20 incher and 21.5 inch bass on a white spoon on lead core at 40'. 

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3 hours ago, TrophyLakerTaker said:

Went to Watugua on Sat May 27th.  good bite for rainbows, smallies, lake trout bite was better in the afternoon.  We ended releasing 5 bass, kept 9 rainbows, and caught 8 lake trout threw 2 back.  nothing big on the lakers, but lakers all bit on downriggers with spoon close to the cannon ball at 57' and 67'.  fished upper and lower lakes. lower lake was better. caught 2 huge smallies, 20 incher and 21.5 inch bass on a white spoon on lead core at 40'. 

 

 

Is the thermocline setting up yet  ..? I'm going tomorrow.

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I made it up to Watauga Friday morn. My friend Alex cancelled on me but I had Rosie the fishing dog to keep me company. We arrived at Rat Branch a few minutes before 6 a.m. It took about 20 minutes to get my first line out. I didn't get a strike till nearly 9 a.m when I was about a mile downstream from the big island. I got a 21" Laker on a spoon behind the Dipsy that dives 50 feet. When I was about a half-mile upstream of the big island the Dipsy was hit again. To my surprise it was a 19" Rainbow that hit the 3.75 inch Michigan Stinger this time. I did a big loop in that wide area downstream from the Bridge and proceeded downstream. When I was passing the big island I got a strike on the downrigger spoon at 62 feet. Some guys trolling upstream were passing me as I landed another 21" Laker. They were congratulating me and said they caught a Rainbow down at the dam. I said, hey, it's not so big. Most of the Lakers I've caught this season have been 20-21 inches.

 

I went downstream about halfway to the dam and made a wide loop and started back upstream. I didn't get a strike until I was close to entering the narrows leading to the bridge. At this point the day's first jet skis had emerged. I caught a 14" rainbow on a large diving plug flat-lined behind a board. It's a plug that will dive to about 20 feet. I was surprised to catch such a small fish on this fat plug. Now, float boats were coming out in force. It was almost noon. I kept going upstream past the bridge. The pleasure boats were pouring out. I kept fishing till I emerged from the narrows and then some. As usual, I saw bait and fish above the narrows but no strikes this day, just boat wakes... I pulled in the lines and took a ride up Roan Creek and then went home.

 

Guys, where's Doe Creek? I'm just curious about it because I read so much about the big Rainbows running up it when I was a kid.

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Nice report troutgirl!  Doe creek is beside roans creek, if you go almost to the back of Roan's Creek, you turn a left before you go under the bridge, there's a bunch of standing timber in front of the Doe.

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Nice fish thanks for the pics. Looks like you found out where those watauga rainbows you were looking for hang out 

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