July Forecast for Murphy Area Lakes

By Aaron Kephart

Summer is here, and luckily the bite has been as hot as the weather. With that in mind, here is what should be happening on our local lakes this month. As always, the fish have been in transition, but by the time you read this, the fish should be firmly in their summer patterns. The remnants of the herring spawn are over, and most bait is deep now, which dictates most of your predators (besides largemouth) will almost all be exclusively deep as well by the time this is published. Fish are also very main channel oriented this time of year, so that assists in the search for them.

Stripers and hybrids have already begun heading towards deeper water, and we have been finding some big schools. The early morning downline bite is key right now, as is familiarity with your electronics. We are still catching a few fish on free lines and planers early, but most of the action will come on baits running 20 to 40 feet down. This bite will continue well into fall, and it is some of my favorite fishing. There is nothing quite like hooking up 6 fish at a time once you get into one of these mega schools. A key tip this time of year is to get your baits down into the cooler, deeper water as quickly as possible. If you leave them near the surface for an extended amount of time the hotter, less oxygenated water there will shock them, and stripers and hybrids have very little interest in a lethargic or dead bait this time of year.

Bass fishing is also on the upswing. The fish have recovered from the rigors of the spawn and have started to put on more weight. Their metabolism dictates they must eat more in warmer water, so they are on the feed, particularly early in the morning. Again, the first couple of hours in the morning are crucial. I actually expect the bass bite to improve even more, particularly for big smallmouth, as we get into the hot weather months, simply because the TVA will start drawing down local lakes around the 4th of July, and this translates to an increase in current. Current is always your friend when it comes to bass and TVA lakes in hot weather. Speaking of current, the brown trout are activated by it as well, and summer has traditionally been when we have caught most of our largest fish of the year.

The crappie night bite has ranged from good to outstanding. Most nights are providing a good average, and some nights are providing big limits. We are also catching a few random walleye under the lights as well. You can also expect to tie into a few channel catfish on these trips, and occasionally you will hook up with a truly large flathead. This bite should hold strong well into early fall, and it is a very relaxing and enjoyable way to beat the heat and avoid the early morning wake up while still putting a bunch of fish in the boat. This is an especially good trip for youngsters.

While a lot of anglers dislike summer fishing because of the heat and increased boat traffic, it is actually one of my favorite times of the year to fish simply because the fish get a bit more predictable and reliable. If you would like to spend a morning chasing stripers, hybrids, smallmouth, largemouth, or spots, or would prefer night fishing under the lights for crappie, please give me a call at 865-466-1345. I look forward to hearing from you!

Aaron Kephart is the Owner of Mountain Lakes Guide Service. To book a guided trip on one of the Murphy area mountain lakes, contact him by phone or by email at mtnlakesguide@outlook.com Check out his website at http://www.mtnlakesguideservice.com and catch him on facebook@mountainlakesguideservice.