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East TN Lakers and Trout 2018 (part 3)

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On ‎5‎/‎2‎/‎2018 at 11:19 AM, Troutgirl said:

Muskyman, I have 2 or 3 plugs that look like copycats of those plugs. They have metal lips and the same shape. I think that they're Storm brand...? I have not tried one yet.

 

They're probably Storm Hot N Tots, I used to troll with them on Watauga, they're great fish catchers.

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16 hours ago, holstonangler said:

 

They're probably Storm Hot N Tots, I used to troll with them on Watauga, they're great fish catchers.

 

Yeah, that sounds right. I have a purple one that I wanna try first. It's in a small box of stuff I wanna try first or soon. I think that the other one is green....? Purple goes first at Watauga. I've had a lot of strikes on plugs with purple or blue backs. It's funny, when I've fished plugs with green on 'em, if I got a strike with 'em, it was a Smallmouth. Maybe it's coincidence, maybe not...? 

 

I have yet another new plug to try. I got a second Michigan Stinger Trip Lip this week. This one has a purple back and light sides with a few trout-like spots. I'm gonna put it on a lead-core line and put out less line than I would with most plugs. Moving forward, I'm gonna fish more plugs on the downrigger. Spoons seem to work better behind Dipsy Divers for me. The plugs on the downrigger experiment that I've been running is going well. All of my biggest fish at Watauga have come on plugs. Having one more out seems the thing to do. Dipsy spoons on both sides of the boat seems like enough spoons unless the plug experiment goes sour.

 

On my first trip to Watauga this season something huge made my large Church TX-44 Planar Board zoom backwards. Whatever it was had a taste for a size 9 (cm),  3.5" Rapala Scatter Rap Tail Dancer in Purpledescent. I felt two big head shakes before my 10 pound leader snapped like thread. The new Michigan Stinger I got has a very similar color pattern with a few more spots...it's a half-inch longer. I hope it's a big fish plug too. The Rapala caught my two biggest Lakers. I'm gonna fish it on 14 pound test leader and put the drag as soft as I dare. People have warned me about Lakers snapping lines. As soon as I had the rod in hand, I felt two big head shakes, game over. That was too easy!

 

Here's the plugs I've been on about....top, Michigan Stinger, next down, Scatter Tail Dancer, next, size 11 (cm) 4 3/8" Deep Tail Dancer that I have not fished yet, and the bottom one is a Scatter Rap Shad Blueback Herring size 7 (cm) 2.75" ....which has caught quite a few Lakers and some Rainbows....I wish it came in size 9 or even 11. They only make 5 and 7 in it. I found a 5" Blueback Herring in my biggest Laker. Bleak and Helsinki Shad have similar color patterns and might work as well....???

 

 

PURPLE PLUGS 003.JPG

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I went to Santeetlah Tuesday this week. I trolled up 6 Trout, 5 Browns and a Rainbow. That's the opposite of my past trips when I caught mostly Rainbows....these pictures are my first and second attempt at photographing the largest Brown. It was small fry day, the largest one, pictured, was 14.5" .

SANTEETLAH BROWNS  8 May 2018 005.JPG

SANTEETLAH BROWNS  8 May 2018 006.JPG

Edited by Troutgirl

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The Garmin tech team was out there mapping the lake this weekend, so detailed maps of the lake should be out in the next few months.

 

The water is still a little stained with the algae bloom and fish have moved a lot deeper perhaps with the high pressure system, I marked a few fish below the 100' mark, ended up catching and releasing one laker around the 28-30" range at around 60-70 feet

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On 5/10/2018 at 1:37 PM, Troutgirl said:

I went to Santeetlah Tuesday this week.

 

 

Do you take 129 pullin a boat? I wanna check out calderwood at some point and fontana, but was unsure about taking a boat up through there.

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1 hour ago, SpareTime said:

 

Do you take 129 pullin a boat? I wanna check out calderwood at some point and fontana, but was unsure about taking a boat up through there.

 

I sure do. It's hard work pulling a boat on that road. I've done it hundreds of times. I feel like I've been lifting weights afterwards. Whipping back and forth is so much fun! It's a workout. It's much more pleasant going than coming back when I'm leaving in the early a.m. hours. This recent trip was a pleasant go. I crossed the Foothills Parkway without seeing another vehicle. Then, I only saw 3 vehicles on U'S' 129 on the way to Cheoah Point Ramp on Santeetlah. That's fewer than usual. Returning in the daylight hours is much harder. It's not only cycles these days, now the sports cars have found their way there.

 

Don't skip Santeetlah. It's only 8 miles farther south beyond Calderwood. It has a good Walleye population. I caught a 6.5 pound Wally there last summer.

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I went to Chilhowee Lake yesterday. The Trout fishing there is a pale shadow of what it was before the 2015 draw-down for dam repairs. It's going to take years to get back to where it was. I caught 5 Rainbows and the 2 biggest were about 11 inches.The small ones were all about 8 inches. The worst part about it was 4 of the 5 Trout were fatally hooked.I might not fish Chilhowee again this year.It's gonna take some time to get back to it's former glory. I may try Tellico's top end. That must be where all the big Rainbows went when the gates were wide open. I did catch 3 plump Yellow Perch and a Walleye.

CHILHOWEE LAKE 14 MAY 2018 TROUT PERCH WALLEYE 021.JPG

CHILHOWEE LAKE 14 MAY 2018 TROUT PERCH WALLEYE 019.JPG

 

CHILHOWEE LAKE 14 MAY 2018 TROUT PERCH WALLEYE 018.JPG

Edited by Troutgirl
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Yea, all that water up there looks really good to me. I went to school at WCU and had a job one summer surveying sections of road for the NC DOT in macon, swain, clay, graham, cherokee, and parts of jackson, haywood, and transylvania counties. I saw A LOT of water I still want to fish. I spent a lot of time wading the Tuckasegee river and surrounding creeks. Never did much lake fishing due to being a broke college student. I could always afford to ride 3 minutes with my micro spinner and a couple rooster tails in the cap. I always wondered what tasty fillets were swimming around in all those lakes while doing that DOT job. Campsites in the smokies on the banks of fontana for a few nights with a boat is a goal of mine ever since. First things first, i gotta get my boat going. I'm new to the real boat thing. I had a jon boat and a trolling motor growing up, but i'm now learning how much i hate old 2stroke motors. SOON...i'll get my feet wet in the upper end of tellico and chilhowee. I heard there were trout up there from neighbors. Now I'm here an hope to learn a lot from experienced anglers such as you. 

 

Really nice perch! I caught a lot of those when i was young, but nothing like that. I hear they are good eatin. Is that a good eatin size walleye? I've never caught one, and look forward to going after them as well.

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There's bigger Perch than that one in Chilhowee. The females get bigger, they're way plumper. That one is almost certainly male. I've caught a couple of 16 inch females that went 1.75 pounds. I saw a picture of an 18" Perch from Chilhowee. I didn't measure the 3 I caught Monday but I think they were all about 13" and male.Chilhowee is a terrific Perch Lake. There's so many bait fish that there's plenty to go around and they really grow. The next lake upstream, Calderwood, also has Perch but they won't grow well in there. There's not enough bait fish to go around. I've never caught a quality Perch in Calderwood. One time I caught a 14" one there that looked like a giant Rapala Perch plug. It couldn't have weighed more than a half-pound. It was a long, tube shaped Perch. It looked so wrong! A 14" Chilhowee Perch is gonna weigh 1.25 pounds minimum. A female is gonna weigh a bit more.

 

The Walleye is just barely legal size. It was 17" and they must be 16" in Chilhowee to keep. I just had a Walleye fillet for lunch, ummm, good!

 

I'm not gonna fish Chilhowee much, if at all, the rest of this season. Chilhowee's Rainbows hit Kokanee Hoochies really well. I think that they hit them better with about an inch of crawler on the front hook. The Perch like the same. Smallmouth will hit the hoochies too. I fish 'em on lead-core line and try to put 'em down into the 20-25 foot range. I believe that the fish take them to be emerging nymphs.

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Has anybody been by Watauga today? Is it a muddy mess? TVA's site says the flow into the lake today is 15,033 CFPS ! They have Watauga hitting an elevation of 1967 by Monday. That's about 8 feet above full pool. I reckon that the fishing dock at Rat Branch would be entirely under water....? The ramp's dock should be entirely underwater if that plays out. I've been to Watauga when it's been at 1962 feet a few times. This sounds like it's gonna be a mess.

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TVA has lowered it's estimate of tomorrow's high water to elevation 1965. That's 3 feet higher than I've ever experienced. If anybody uses Rat Branch Ramp, I'm sure they'll be using the graveled area between the ramp and the fishing dock....if you can even see the fishing dock!

 

There must of been a heck of a lot of rain across the state line in the vicinity of Grandfather Mountain.

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Has anybody been by South Holston? It doesn't have as much water rushing into it. It's above average flow but nothing near what is coming into Watauga. Is it muddy or a bit tinted. I'm looking for someplace to fish later in the week.

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I was on Watauga evening before the rain hit Saturday to do some walleye fishing, water was almost up past the handrails on the pier at rat branch. Ended up with two bass and a flathead before the rain.

Edited by holstonangler
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1 hour ago, holstonangler said:

I was on Watauga evening before the rain hit Saturday to do some walleye fishing, water was almost up past the handrails on the pier at rat branch. Ended up with two bass and a flathead before the rain.

 

I was just looking at TVA's flow pages just now. Watauga is gonna be about 1963.5 elevation by late today which ought to have water up on the fishing pier. They've started sluicing since the last time I looked. Watauga has two generators but one must be broken. Watauga has sluiced quite a bit over the past couple of years. I suspect that Watauga will fall to something near Full Pool, 1959, by late week.

 

I might even try it come late week or finally go back to South Holston for a second go. South Holston has been sluicing, not generating, for at least a year now. Both of these dams are about the same age. The turbines are so very old and South Holston only has one generator. TVA might have to have custom parts made to fix or restore them...??? South Holston has been out so long that maybe it's being modified for a new and better generator? Cheoah Dam got new generators, two, in the last decade. It took about 2 years to do it. It's generators dated back to 1919 when the dam was built.

 

I'd like to fish Watauga before the water clears up completely. Sometimes you can can get more strikes when the lake is a wee-bit tinted. I might go to South Holston instead....I've got a couple of days to think about it.

 

.

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TVA posted it will be installing the new generator on South Holston this fall.  I'd say South Holston will have better water conditions this weekend, Watauga has a lot of floating logs and debris from all the rain and high water. I'd say both lakes are a little stained from the algae blooms.

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Thanks! I'm wanting to go tomorrow or Friday. I'm considering Soho, Watauga, and staying closer to home by going to the top end of Tellico to see if I can find the 'Bows that fled Chilhowee during the dam repair.

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10 hours ago, Troutgirl said:

going to the top end of Tellico to see if I can find the 'Bows that fled Chilhowee during the dam repair.

 

Inquiring minds want to know how you do, if you go.

 

I was hoping to get my boat out for some test runs this weekend, but insurance is dragging their feet on getting my truck fixed. Probably not the safest thing to tow a boat with a mangled hitch. Maybe i can find a friend with a truck who wants to go fishing.  Fingers crossed!

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22 hours ago, Troutgirl said:

Thanks! I'm wanting to go tomorrow or Friday. I'm considering Soho, Watauga, and staying closer to home by going to the top end of Tellico to see if I can find the 'Bows that fled Chilhowee during the dam repair.

Theres still some nice rainbows on upper tellico. They don't stock as many as they used to but they still stock

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On 5/23/2018 at 10:39 PM, SpareTime said:

 

Inquiring minds want to know how you do, if you go.

 

I was hoping to get my boat out for some test runs this weekend, but insurance is dragging their feet on getting my truck fixed. Probably not the safest thing to tow a boat with a mangled hitch. Maybe i can find a friend with a truck who wants to go fishing.  Fingers crossed!

 

I went to South Holston. I'll likely try Tellico at some point. I'm still formulating a strategy for Tellico. The question is where would the trout go, how far downstream. I probably should start downstream of the 411 Bridge and troll up. It's altogether possible that trout have gone even as far downstream as Tellico Dam. When Tellico was first filled up, trout were stocked at Tellico Dam. The Knoxville News-Sentinel had fishing reports back then. One said Rainbow fishing was good at the dam. Some friends and I went to Tellico Dam to night fish for trout. We caught about a half-dozen skinny, anemic looking 'Bows in short order. We pulled up stakes and drove to Chilhowee and finished our night of fishing there where we could catch trout bigger than 10-11".

 

 

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Once I can finally get back on the water, my plan is to try everything I can upstream of the 411 bridge. I have no clue how trout act in a lake, so it'll be a lot of trial and error on my part. I've got a friend that's got a little jon boat, so we are gonna try some different approaches with that little thing to. Try and go where mine won't...maybe...we'll see.

 

How'd ya do at SoHo?

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I got to South Holston at the break of dawn. I got out in deep water and dropped down my Fish Hawk TD thermometer. I meant to get the temps down to 100 feet but my line wasn't straight enough. I got the temps, in 5 foot intervals down to 80 feet. At 80 feet down it was 49.5 degrees. The surface water was 76 in the morn and a couple of degrees higher by quitting time.

 

The solunar tables suggested that fish would have a major feeding period from about 9:30-11:30 a.m. I got my first strike at about 9 a.m. All of my worthwhile strikes were on spoons behind Dipsy Divers, I had a size zero on one side and a size 1 on the other side. Both of 'em produced. I caught all Rainbows except for some tiny stockers that somehow hooked themselves. I flicked off two tiny Browns that attacked spoons nearly half their size, go home, grow up fools! When I quit fishing and pulled up the downrigger, a tiny Laker managed to hook itself on a Michigan Stinger Scorpion spoon. Who know how long it was riding...? I'm surprised I didn't get a strike from a grownup Laker on the baby Laker. I feel bad that it was fatally hooked.

 

I ended up keeping a half-dozen Rainbows. I threw a couple back and lost a few at the net. All the 'Bows were 13-16". I never hooked anything big. I had a leadcore plug out all day long, no strikes. I changed plugs occasionally, no dice. I started the downrigger spoon at 55 feet and gradually increased the depth to 72 feet. The midget Laker was on my line at 72 feet. I started and finished above the 421 Bridge. I looked at lake maps and I think that when I quit that I was about a half-mile downstream from Virginia. I didn't see any signs. Maybe I would of had I gotten closer?

 

I have not figured out where the channel goes in the lower lake, I know where the shallow spots are on the west side. I don't know where they are on the east side. I'm suspecting that the channels swings from side to side a couple of times, all the way across the width...? Then, I think, goes to the east side and goes to the dam. I'll need more trips to figure it out, or a map that shows the channel....

 

 

SOUTH HOLSON RAINBOWS 24 MAY 2018 003.JPG

SOUTH HOLSON RAINBOWS 24 MAY 2018 004.JPG

SOUTH HOLSON RAINBOWS 24 MAY 2018 006.JPG

SOUTH HOLSON RAINBOWS 24 MAY 2018 013.JPG

SOUTH HOLSON RAINBOWS 24 MAY 2018 015.JPG

SOUTH HOLSON RAINBOWS 24 MAY 2018 016.JPG

SOUTH HOLSON RAINBOWS 24 MAY 2018 021.JPG

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27 minutes ago, SpareTime said:

Once I can finally get back on the water, my plan is to try everything I can upstream of the 411 bridge. I have no clue how trout act in a lake, so it'll be a lot of trial and error on my part. I've got a friend that's got a little jon boat, so we are gonna try some different approaches with that little thing to. Try and go where mine won't...maybe...we'll see......

 

The Rainbows didn't have to sit deep in Chilhowee. They roamed around 10-15 deep looking for minnows. In Tellico they might be well downstream and sitting 20-50 feet deep? ....following the bait. They probably move upstream as the weather warms....??? I'd try trolling some little Countdown Rapalas in the deeper parts and small, shallow running plugs that run 4-8 feet when it gets shallower. I would not be surprised if there's 'Bows downstream of the 411 Bridge sitting deep and if any of Chilhowee's Lakers survived, they're in deep water well downstream...??? During the drought and the draw-down, Chilhowee's release water hit record highs. It was nearly too warm for Rainbows and definitely lethal for Lakers, unless they found cold water, at depth, well downstream.

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Nice!!! That would have been a good day in my book!

 

I was looking at the stocking report stuff, and couldn't find any numbers. In NC they would tell the # of each type of fish released. Do they provide that info in TN anywhere? I was also wondering why, in tellico for example, they only release rainbows. Why no browns? I could maybe understand no brookies. more fragile from my understanding. When i was in college, they had some study on trout going in the basement of the  natural science building. My cousin came up one weekend over the summer (for a campus tour and fishing) and while showing him around campus, we talked to a professor that let us go in and look around and talked with us for about an hour. He had pretty well concluded that in nearly all cases, brookies were least durable, then rainbows, then browns being the most hearty. changing PH up and down, temp up and down and seeing which ones died out first was how they were testing. In saying all that, wouldn't browns be a good choice for tellico? Also as you've questioned before, why no brookies in Chilhowee? Seems like they would be well suited in both cases. Just wondering what you and others may think/know about this?

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