by Joel Wheelon
As we enter in to February on the Tennessee River, it usually means the big fish will be moving on warm sunny days. However, fishing on average has been fair to slow due to cold temps but as the water clears between the rains/snow, we have had small windows of success. Currently the water temps have been ranging in the upper 30 to low 40’s in creeks and pockets with some small pockets froze over just weeks ago. At times, it’s hard to find clearer water on the TN river system but when you do it can be more productive. I always try and steer clear of cold muddy water. The main channel areas have been the most productive, focusing on steep bluff’s, deep points and ledges. In small windows you can still catch fish fairly shallow with slow moving baits such as small crank baits (Shad Raps), jigs, Silver Buddy’s, and jerk baits.
Every year is a little different, but when the water gets extremely cold, I find that adjusting my retrieve to a slow, stop-n-go retrieve or pause (5 to 30-seconds) type of technique. This technique works really well throughout the early spring months until the fish get into their pre-spawn patterns and a little more aggression as water temps warm. On average the best bite has been working the deeper areas on the mid to lower end of Tellico and the lower end of Loudon. The productive baits of choice have been the Silver Buddy, Float-n-fly, jerk bait (8 to 12-feet deep), jigs, and cranking. Occasionally, on days the water has had time to clear, you can have success on the upper ends of both lakes.
To book a trip on any lake here in East TN, please visit us on the web at www.tnfishingguide.com. Regardless if you are a tournament fisherman or just out for fun, I wish everyone good times and success in 2014. Come out and fish with us on Loudon/Tellico this year, the “TOAD” tournament series will be the best thing going. Good luck!!!
For some of the best winter time smallmouth/largemouth trips give us a call or check us out on the web at www.tnfishingguide.com or East Tennessee Guide Service. We currently offer winter trips on all our local lakes: Ft. Loudon/Tellico, Douglas, Cherokee, Norris, and Watts Bar.