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TrophyLakerTaker

East TN Lakers and Trout 2018 (part 3)

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I was planning to go to Santeetlah Lake yesterday but the wind forecast was less favorable there than Watauga, so I switched. I motored up the Watauga River till I got to a railroad bridge next to a trailer park. I decided that was far enough. What are those PVC thingies that are floating up there? They look like Water Polo goals without the nets. There were 3 or 4 of 'em.

 

I had 4 lines out by 10:30 a.m. I put out a hoochie on the downrigger running at 15 feet, a spoon behind a Mini Dipsey Diver, Mack's Flash Lite attractor with a crawler behind it, and a plug behind a board. The water at the Rat Branch that morning was 50. It was 53.5 where I started fishing up the river. I never got a strike up there. I saw bait on sonar, always deep. That was the rule all day long. I caught my first small Laker at 1:30 p.m. as I was passing under the Butler Bridge on a plug on leadcore.

 

I took the hoochie off the downrigger whilst still in the upper lake. I replaced it with a spoon and set it at 41 feet. When I got no strikes, then I went to 47 feet, and finally I went to 53 feet. I caught 2 small Lakers at that depth. I started catching fish again at 4 p.m. I caught a half-dozen small Lakers, all between 16-18". I kept a pair of 'em that looked badly injured. I lost, probably, my best chance at a big Laker about 6 p.m. A board with a leadcore line with a plug started going back. I got the rod in hand. The fish took a little line. I felt a couple of head shakes, the mark of a sizable Laker. Pop went my 10 pound leader. I'm gonna go to 12 pound test for my leaders for leadcore plugs and set the drag a click or two lighter.

 

At 7 p.m. , just after I caught my last small laker, I was pulling in the lines. I left the two leadcore lines on boards for last. That was the right move! I caught a 24" , 4.74 pound Walleye on a plug. So, my day ended on a good note. Walleye is tonight's dinner. The Walleye had been eating Threadfin Shad.....

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WATAUGA WALLEYE 12 APRIL 2018 021.JPG

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On 4/14/2018 at 9:42 AM, crafterbob said:

Great report! Nice Walleye to finish out the day

 

I've had the same thing happen at Chilhowee Lake a couple of times, right at dusk when I was about to quit, I picked up a Walleye. I've heard that some folks troll for Walleyes after dark. I should learn more about Walleye fishing. They're not so much fun to catch but they make up for that in how they taste!

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I was going to go on Saturday to either Douglas for Crappie or Watugua,  but blew the bearings and actually lost my left boat trailer tire at 6 A.M. headed to the lake.  Luckily i got it pulled off the road.  I carry a spare hub, bearings, and grease and tools, but not the xtra jack i needed and a hammer.  Got a ridge back to my house from a guy i knew to get the tools.  Got it fixed, but H Bolts that hold the axle to the springs were a bit worn, so i had to go back home.  Not fun. 

 

I had to drive down to Shebly, NC this morning to get the trailer parts from the Shorelander Distributor.  No parts stores carries or can order them. 

 

The left side hub has given me fits the last several years.  My boats is just too heavy for a single axle despite what the trailer mfg, axle and tire ratings say.  Tires look overloaded even at 50lbs. 

 

Going to Douglas to fish crappie Fri and Sat.  will hit Watugua and Holston after that.  Water seems stuck on 50F from you report.  Nice walleye.  I'd fish mid lake this time of year.  No need to go way up the river for lakers. They should be spread all over now from the dam to the upper lake.  

 

 

Edited by TrophyLakerTaker

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What boat do you have laker taker? I have a 18’ Lund Fisherman with a 150, 9.9 kicker, and loads of gear. Wish I had a double axle as stories like this make me nervous. We’re headed to Michigan for some Walleye Fishing in a couple weeks. I have new bearings and bearing buddies ready to put on as I want to avoid trouble like this on a 600 mile one way ride.

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18 hours ago, TrophyLakerTaker said:

. .... I'd fish mid lake this time of year.  No need to go way up the river for lakers. They should be spread all over now from the dam to the upper lake.  

 

 

 

I went up the Watauga River because it's the last section of the lake that I had not been to. Also, I needed some run-time on my new outboard's break-in. I thought I might find some Rainbows and Browns up there. I pulled a Dipsy Diver Mini all day long with a small spoon behind it, zero strikes. Later, I put out the next size larger Dipsey on the other side of the boat and it caught a pair of small Lakers. I'm trying to figure out where the Rainbows are in the early season. Maybe they're up the streams spawning? Browns are not spawning. Last spring I caught a Brown in the upper lake. I don't recall seeing a fish on sonar on my stroll down the river, I saw lots of bait in the deep holes.

 

 

Edited by Troutgirl

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I just finished putting 14 pound test leaders on two of my lead-core outfits. I hope to not get broken off as easily as my last trip to Watauga. I've never before seen the largest size Church Planar go backwards so very quickly. It was straight back by the time I had the rod in hand. As soon as I picked up the rod, I felt two big head shakes and the line was broken. I'll not go lighter unless I can't get strikes with the heavier line.

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I had a good trip to Douglas last Friday and Sat for Crappie. Weekend catch 33 crappie, 6 catfish and 2 whitebass, plus a 15inch black crappie. About a 5 gal pail to fillet each day. Ifinally figured out how to tell a black from a white crappie. Surprisingly, water temp on douglas was only 48.5 and ended at 52F.  thats pretty cool stil.  I brought by buddy fishing who is luckily and ace mechanic and help cut off the old u bolts and put new ones on. He also helped file and smooth the spindle a bit.

 

My boat is and 18.5 ft Lund Sport Angler with 150 Verado and Kicker.  My buddy taught me a trick when re-installing the bearing and hubs on the spindle.  After putting the putting the washer and crown nut on it, he really tightened it down on the bearings until the wheel was really tight.. He called it seating the bearings.  Then he back the crown nut off like 1/2 a turn til it spun more easy.  That might be the part i was missing...seating the bearing.  It pays to carry all the parts you need with you though.

 

I usually run 10, 12 lb fluorocarbon leaders on lead core and 15 or 20 off divers to the bait.  10 lb if its really clear. and 17 lb  or 20 lb on down riggers rods for trout.  Fish don't seem too line shy on Watagua.

 

Rainbow Trout don't see to show up on Watugua in the main lake areas until water temps hit upper 50s and low 60 for some reason.  I guess their on the banks mostly in the creak arms.  They go out deeper and mid lake after the lake warms up a bit.  Seems that way every year.      

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