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Fishfanatic

Cherokee Lake striper newbie

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Love this lake but not able to spend much time on it to learn where the striper are. Where are they mile marker wise during the different seasons? I know they are at the dam July-September but not sure any other times of the year. Not looking for anyones honey hole just a general idea of where to look for them. Also do they just roam around following baitfish or do they hang around ledges, humps, points? Are alewives the preferred live bait or gizzard shad? Do they cruise the main river and creek channels? What is their favorite structure to be on most days? Any help would be very appreciated.

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My first suggestion is to start a daily log of each fishing trip because the striped bass migration repeats annually with minor changes. History of the striped bass migration in Tennessee has become much more common knowledge since the beginning of the stocking programs back in the mid 60’s. There was no Striped Bass Clubs, no TV shows, no guides, no internet, no or poor fish finders, no books or articles on fresh water striped bass. Other change continues to develop that make the striped bass fishery different than 25 years ago like the change in seasonal draw downs, warm water discharge, & flow requirements by TVA, the introduction of alewife, the presence of huge flocks of gulls that were not migrating through in past winters, and the abundance of anglers now on the water trying to catch these big game fish. The striped bass will continue to seek the same conditions and knowing them will make finding them easier. The juvenile striped bass (less than 20 inches, or 4 pounds) will have different requirements so the conditions we talk about are for larger adults. Here is some of the more important requirement to target striped bass in any river or body of water.

 1. WATER TEMPERATURE has a fairly wide range. The middle of the range is 57 degrees and the comfort range is plus or minus 15 degrees. Water temperature out of the comfort range the bite becomes slower and can kill the adults starting on the high end at + 15 degrees.

 2. SPAWN SEASON is driven by length of day, and water temperature that starts as early as mid April and can last until June. The spawn takes place mostly at night when the water temperature reaches 62 to 66 degrees. The pre spawn staging takes place where there is lots of water inflow like natural rivers or multiple large creeks flowing into the same large cove. As the water temperature climbs above 70 degrees the striped bass having completed the spawn begin to seek cool water refuge.

 3. FORAGE FISH is important for all game fish, but can fall to 3rd in the reasons stripers are at that location at that time.

 4. DISSOLVED OXYGEN or the lack of it in the late summer large reservoirs is another migration driver for the striped bass.

This sample will work on all rivers, & large reservoirs to target striped bass. The winter pattern for the striper starts around November as they follow the largest easiest to target forage fish schools out of the coves and rivers back downstream to mid and lower lake. Watch for warm water discharge influence. The forage fish seek the warmest water available and the striped bass gather into large schools to feed often pushing the bait to the surface where the gulls also feed.  As the spring spawn approaches the striped bass move back upstream to stage just downstream of the major rivers and in the large coves with lots of inflowing water and bait is always abundant there also. After the spawn the water temperature starts to become an issue and the striped bass looks for a refuge in cooler water comfort range moving gradually downstream. In the late summer large schools of striped bass are often stressed by being trapped in small areas where lack of dissolved oxygen and high water temperature is nearly out of their comfort range. This is when the catch and release mortality is at its highest. By late September the cooler nights and lake turnover has started to release the stripers

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Thank you very much sir. Kind of you to share some of your expertise on striper fishing to novice anglers like myself. Just trying to get better at it as I’ve got just 33 months till retirement and plan on being on the lake many days. My kids and I love it on Cherokee. Have had decent success catching smallmouth but really we are there for the striper and hybrid but our luck just isn’t that good with them. Partly because I limit myself to strictly the lower end from Mossy creek to marker 6. Outboard is old and I just don’t want to have it go out while I’m up the lake. Looking for a newer boat next spring with a much bigger fuel tank capacity so heading up lake won’t be an issue. Saw another post where you talked about using your side scan pretty much all the time. I’ve got side scan and need to start doing that also.

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No trailer but hope to have a walkaround boat(used) by May or June. They come with BIG fuel tanks or trailering it would be an option also. Any good suggestions on where to put it in somewhere mid lake? I agree with you about the invaluable information he gave me.

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And there are those that would say the introduction of this non native species is what has caused this reservoir to have a shadow of the potential it used to have for crappie, LM, SM bass etc. 

 

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1 hour ago, FishFinger said:

And there are those that would say the introduction of this non native species is what has caused this reservoir to have a shadow of the potential it used to have for crappie, LM, SM bass etc. 

 

Did you have dinner with @dada this evening??? Hahaha. If you watched the elite series event this winter or looked at what the time brought in, you would be kidding yourself to say anything negative about the smallmouth population. They weighed in like 350-500 smallmouth each day 

Edited by rusty50576

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10 hours ago, Fishfanatic said:

No trailer but hope to have a walkaround boat(used) by May or June. They come with BIG fuel tanks or trailering it would be an option also. Any good suggestions on where to put it in somewhere mid lake? I agree with you about the invaluable information he gave me.

Grainger county park And panther creek state park are the ones I like, I would consider them somewhat lower lake though. 25e bridge is kind of in the middle of the lake where the river portion starts widening into a lake. I guess German creek is between those two areas 

Edited by rusty50576

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NOPE! Didn't say a thing about smallmouth, RUSTY. I don't like the taste of smallmouth bass & neither does Those critters!   dada  10-17-18   1:59 PM

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21 hours ago, rusty50576 said:

Did you have dinner with @dada this evening??? Hahaha. If you watched the elite series event this winter or looked at what the time brought in, you would be kidding yourself to say anything negative about the smallmouth population. They weighed in like 350-500 smallmouth each day 

Yeah, I had dinner with dada, he’s the one that told me to post that (fingers crossed) we had striper, never throw them back since that’s not allowed, or is it? just trying to stir the pot in a friendly way and get some action going here....no bites....just like crappie fishing on Cherokee....because of all the big white fish that cause a no fishing zone down by the dam at certain times of the year...was PETA the cause of that???

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