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Troutgirl

East Tennessee Lakers & Trout Part 2, 2017

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15 hours ago, holstonangler said:

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.

 

Thanks! Both times I've been up Roan Creek, I stopped about a half-mile from the bridge. I couldn't see the smaller creek from there. Do any Rainbows or Browns run into either creek to spawn these days? The Browns would go in the fall. The Rainbows would probably go in the late winter or early spring, or both....???

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14 hours ago, rusty50576 said:

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

 

Maybe I'm finding the right depth for 'em. They seem to be hitting at 20-30 feet lately. The bigger Rainbow seems like a fluke. It hit a big Laker spoon at 50 feet. I was switching out lines and lures to go to Rainbow depth just before quitting. The waves ran me off...

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Fished SOHO yesterday starting about 7am. 15 rainbows around 16" all between 20-30 ft. Two very small lakers at 50-60ft and 1 huge 18" crappie at 30ft (thought for sure it was a bass until i picked it up). Spoons and crankbaits at around 2mph in deep water near dam.

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5 hours ago, 10xd said:

Fished SOHO yesterday starting about 7am. 15 rainbows around 16" all between 20-30 ft. Two very small lakers at 50-60ft and 1 huge 18" crappie at 30ft (thought for sure it was a bass until i picked it up). Spoons and crankbaits at around 2mph in deep water near dam.

 

That's an encouraging report. I've only fished SoHo once. I'm gonna try it again in the coming weeks. Is the water back down to typical levels? What, no photos....the forum needs raw, naked, fish porn.... :wink:

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Have a friend who has been wearing the lakers out on South Holston.  No clue how deep or what he is using.  Bunch of fish in the 5-10 pound range.

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On 6/9/2017 at 8:54 AM, TNKen said:

Have a friend who has been wearing the lakers out on South Holston.  No clue how deep or what he is using.  Bunch of fish in the 5-10 pound range.

 

If he's not trolling plugs and spoons....well, he could be jigging something or he could be trolling minnows behind cowbells. I can't imagine anything else that would be effective other than dynamite or scuba diving and shooting them... :wink: 

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I went to Watauga yesterday morn. I started fishing about 7:30 a.m. I only had 3 strikes before noon. I wasn't all that surprised about that since the moon was full. I expected that the afternoon would be better. About 9 a.m. I hooked a 19" Laker on a plug via lead-core. About an hour later, near the big island, I caught a 14" Rainbow on a Dipsy Diver spoon. It was a big spoon for such a modest sized fish. That strike was at 50 feet or thereabouts. Shortly thereafter, I caught another 19" Laker on the downrigger spoon at 68 feet and let it go so I could try for a bigger one. Then things went quiet. I stopped for lunch and the dog took me for a walk.

 

I stayed on the lower lake except at the very end when I went up past the bridge, which is where I quit at 3:30 p.m. Between 1 p.m. and quit time I caught 3 Lakers on spoons. Two of 'em were 19" and one that couldn't have been  much more than a foot long. The downrigger was set at 68-71 feet. One of 'em came on the Dipsy spoon at 50 feet. Just below the bridge I caught another 19" Laker on a plug. It tangled itself in the line. It was in no condition to release. I put it on ice.....and somewhere along the way I hooked a Rainbow in the belly or fin with a little plug. It fell off just as I was about to net it.

 

The surface was about 71 in the morn and 74 when I quit. It was a nice day to fish. The temperature topped out in the mid-70's. I caught fish but everything was so small....

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I have caught a few lakers around 5-6lbs  in last few weeks. Hooked what I am sure was a laker yesterday and after 2-3 mins it broke off. Felt like a monster shredded 20lb test so I know they are good ones in there.

Water still high above normal but fishing still good. I use 421 bridge ramp and water level just means truck tires in water and wet feet to unload.No big issues. Get there early and leave about noon it gets busy after lunch and you get beat to death by waves.

Copper spoons have been my goto pick catching 75% of fish on that color. All the lakers on copper. 

Sorry about pictures , I usually just measure and toss or release in water if they are average size. Lazy about pics but Ill get a few.next time. Built a new trolling rack setup and need to show it off . lol

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If I try South Holston next time out, I'll try some copper spoons. I had a copper spoon on the downrigger for several hours Friday at Watauga. It wasn't plain copper. It had some colors around the edges. It didn't catch anything and I changed it. The purple, Kevorkian, Michigan Stinger spoons I've caught quite a few fish with have a copper back. I've caught Lakers on some truly silly looking spoons....purple and white with a purple stripe diagonally across it, White and silver with a green Christmas tree looking thingie down it's length, and so on.

 

On the World Fishing Network they have folks who do little shorts during shows. One Great Lakes captain said, "people always ask me what color spoons work best.....I always respond whatever color last worked."  The more I fish for Lakers, the more that statement seems to ring true. Look at the orange and green spoon in TrophyLakerTaker's pictures up the page. To me it looks silly and I caught fish on a similar, silly looking, pattern with purple, white, and a little pink on my last two trips. To the fish, maybe it looks like a seven-layer cake, dessert, or a filet-o-fish sandwich.....????  :undecided:  I have a Michigan Stinger in Watermelon that's been languishing in my tackle box for a couple of years since it's unsuccessful debut 3 years ago. It has a copper back. I'll try it again at South Holston. I think I have copper with yellow and orange spots and several other copper or copper back spoons to try.

 

The 20 pound test thing, wow! I'd be afraid of limiting my strikes by using such a heavy leader. Wow! If it was a Laker, that's some heavy line to break. When I've had really big fish break my line it's usually in the first 30 seconds. I always have thought I have a real good chance at a big fish if I had it on after 30 seconds. I lost an enormous fish at Santeetlah Lake back in the 70's that broke my line after 30 minutes. I was trolling a Musky spinner with lots of bucktail on it. Carolina had stocked Northern Pike and that seemed like a lure in my box that I could troll and have a chance at one, I thought. After my line broke, my thought was I just broke off a huge Northern. I never saw the fish. Several times I pulled fish up some and it got mad and went back down. A while later, it struck me, Pike don't get large enough to pull like this fish did. It must of been a Catfish, a really big one.

 

I've heard multiple folks on fishing shows say when they hooked a huge Laker they thought at first they were snagged but then the snag moved. They were all on about fish that were 30-50+ pounds. I think a Laker could reach 30 pounds and maybe more in Tennessee Lakes...? I think a fish that size would have to survive 25 fishing seasons or thereabouts. There was a bit in the newspaper 3 years ago about TWRA netting Lakers in Watauga Lake to see how they were doing. They found 6 Lakers that were 19 years old and one that was twenty. They didn't say but I figured all those fish were over 20 pounds...???

 

I'm using 8 and 10 pound test flouro leaders. I hope I don't snap my first really big fish off!

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thanks for the posts. soho sounds like its hot.  went by myself sat morn watagua.  daylight til noon.  pic of rainbow and lake trout limit. late morn bite was better.  3.5 and 4 inch silver green or silver orange 50 and 60 ft down caught the most and 4 lakers.  have to hit soho soon, but raibow bite this spring on watugua is the best ive seen in a decade.

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thanks for the posts. soho sounds like its hot.  went by myself sat morn watagua.  daylight til noon.  pic of rainbow and lake trout limit just before i fillet them. late morn bite was better.  3.5 and 4 inch silver green or silver orange 50 and 60 ft down caught the most and 4 lakers. 

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I run two poles on same downrigger and like to use heavy setup on bottom rig for snags. I have a few sweet spots  where I drag the ball across bottom. Not sure of the science but works for a fish sometime when Im getting skunked. (Gets attention maybe they think its a fish feeding...idk) I use Ande's pink line and I have noticed line size made very little difference for me. I fish Big Tumbling Creek and was told to use 2lb-4lb or no hits, after catching a few I switched to a bass rod with 12lb with same lure setup to try saving gear from snags, catch the same amount of fish with both (at least seems so). I did just pickup some Seagar to test some different setups Ill post results. I agree line/leader size should matter but not quite sold on it yet.

Thanks for lure suggestions, Ill look for those to try.

Edited by 10xd
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I've seen 'em bump the mud bottom with downrigger balls on purpose on two different Great Lakes fishing show to attract Lakers. It works there but I don't know many lakes well enough to even think about doing it around here. I think that I could do it at Chilhowee, when they refill it, which is now happening. However, I don't use downriggers at Chilhowee. It's shallow and even at the hottest point of the year, the warm water on top is at most 8 feet in the lower lake. Plugs that run 3-8 feet work well at Chilhowee. I know where the mud is in Chilhowee after the draw-downs to repair the dam.....it's everywhere, it's everywhere! There are a few obstacles to hit though....

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Chilhowee Dam Repairs, 2 Feb.  2016 009.JPG

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I have a theory, which Chilhowee Lake helped define for me, that in shallow lakes you need to use lighter line. Deep lakes absorb light as down and down it goes. In Chilhowee, the light bounces off the bottom and aids the fish's sight. A friend of mine, who is now deceased, wouldn't fish Chilhowee with anything but 4 pound test. He got more strikes than everybody else. I netted a 8-14 Smallmouth for him at Chilhowee back around the turn of the century. It took 35 minutes of me keeping the boat in the middle of the lake and him wearing down the brute. This was before Flouro line came along. Whenever I start fishing Chilhowee again, I'll use 6 and 8 pound Flouro, it's thin enough to do the job.

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8 hours ago, Troutgirl said:

I have a theory, which Chilhowee Lake helped define for me, that in shallow lakes you need to use lighter line. Deep lakes absorb light as down and down it goes. In Chilhowee, the light bounces off the bottom and aids the fish's sight. A friend of mine, who is now deceased, wouldn't fish Chilhowee with anything but 4 pound test. He got more strikes than everybody else. I netted a 8-14 Smallmouth for him at Chilhowee back around the turn of the century. It took 35 minutes of me keeping the boat in the middle of the lake and him wearing down the brute. This was before Flouro line came along. Whenever I start fishing Chilhowee again, I'll use 6 and 8 pound Flouro, it's thin enough to do the job.

^+1. Chilhowee bass won't come within 15 ft of your lure if you have thick line. 10 lb clear mono was the biggest I could ever get away with.  I guess that is why everyone fishes at night up there 

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On 6/12/2017 at 10:26 AM, rusty50576 said:

^+1. Chilhowee bass won't come within 15 ft of your lure if you have thick line. 10 lb clear mono was the biggest I could ever get away with.  I guess that is why everyone fishes at night up there 

 

Before Flouro, fishing Chilhowee with 10 pound Mono was akin to fishing with rope! Chilhowee was the best topwater, Laker spot around. A Bass fisherman I chatted with up there summer of '15 told me he caught a pair of 4 pound Lakers on a Zara Spook, at night.

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2 hours ago, Troutgirl said:

 

Before Flouro, fishing Chilhowee with 10 pound Mono was akin to fishing with rope! Chilhowee was the best topwater, Laker spot around. A Bass fisherman I chatted with up there summer of '15 told me he caught a pair of 4 pound Lakers on a Zara Spook, at night.

I use 6 lb clear mono there most of the time but I can't flip a jig into a tree with that, just asking for heartbreak 

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A few thoughts on lakers on the bottom and lures colors and line while day dreaming about fishing.

 

Bigger Lakers I believe sleep or rest on the bottom or ledges/banks often when they are not actively feeding.  They may be swimming on the surface or just below when they are super active looking for a meal.  I took a pic of a lake trout in the U.P. of Mich last summer in a deep natural spring laying on the bottom half cover in sand moitionless.  (When you don't see trout at all on the graph this maybe whats happeing).  Smaller trout were still swimming around.  Bumping or buzzing the bottom makes sense to stir them up when they are lethargic if they are tight to the bottom.  its risky in TVA lakes because you will lose gear for sure and few cannoballs sooner or later with all the rock and trees, foundations of old house, but it works often enough to be effective.  Its less risky to tick divers (my prefferred tactic if fishing is slow) on the bank or bottoms  since they will trip quickly if you snag and you usually get your stuff back. use heavier line of course.  If the fish are active you really don't need to take this risk though to catch fish. I hate losing my favorite spoons!

 

Lure color and line:  I used to go ultra-light all the time. Now I'm more lazy and don't like the risk of breaking off a huge fish.  Best strategy is use the heaviest line you can and still get bites.  Downriggers don't matter as much since you fish them so deep. Some lures actually fish better on heavier line.  I caught most of my lakers over 10 lbs on 17-25# line, but were down 65-105 ft or more on Watugua.  same deal on SoHo.  I also have some light rigs with 10# or 8# fluro leaders, that do good on rainbows and bass in clear water.   

 

Lure color is one of the final refinements when your trolling.  You need to get everything else about right for lure color to factor in.  I start with glow, UV colors, bright greens oranges at dawn and dusk, flourescents or darks pattern mid morn and when its bright out middle of the day in dingy or clear water its hard to beat metallic silver and copper because it creates a lot of flash that fish really like and see from far off.  Sometime it makes all the difference, but sometimes not at all.  I can't change all the colors, but I experiment with color and size of spoon til something clicks if its slow going.  One bait will usually outfish all the other on a given day. The next time it will be something else.

 

Preppng for Lake Michigan Kings and Cohos in about 2 weeks.  Adding a 200' fast sinking braided steel sinking line set-up for kings and will try for deep summer lakers later this summer.

 

An awesome fishing store on line is Anglers Avenue in Cheybogan Wisc for trout and salmon enthusiast.  They have all the best stuff for sure and great video clips for laker, trout, steelhead tactics from full time fishing guides.  Its dangerous if your a tackle fanatic!  Keep the post coming.     

laker at big springs.jpg

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Thanks for the insights Mr. Taker! I was watching Great Lakes Fisherman's Digest day before yesterday and they were bouncing their downrigger ball and mentioned doing the same with their Dipsy Divers.

 

Orange is one color spoon I can't recall trying. I will.....

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Never heard of a trout tourney...that may be fun. 

Thanks everyone for the post. Learning more each time Im out. Not had the chance last couple days but plan to try things out again soon

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Holstonangler sent me a PM last night. It's around every Father's Day at Fish Springs Dock, 7 a.m. till 7 p.m.  He said $25 to enter. He didn't say what the prizes are. Competing with the pleasure flotilla sounds miserable to me....unless I won! I can imagine how messy the lake could be by 11 a.m. and forward.

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Fish Springs' webpage has an announcement for yesterday's contest but if they post the winners, they have not done so yet. I hope somebody reading this was a winner!

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