Fishing report for week of July 15th

Water levels in the NewJohnsonville area have been 358.8ft, with TVA  predicting a slight fall to 358.0ft by next weekend.  Water temps have been around the 90 degree mark, with flow rates averaging 50,000cfs this week.  The increased flow rates are TVA’s attempt to drop the lake levels back toward winter pool levels by mid-September.  TVA normally starts the draw-down the week after the 4th of July weekend and reaches winter pool levels (354ft).  With the Mississippi river levels near record levels, we might see TVA hold some of our water back to help elevate some of the flooding on the rivers downstream. 

The good flows have been great for fishing, with better flow, fish become more predictable as well as improving water quality.  When water temps exceed 90 degrees, and flow slows or stops for a few days, the lake can ‘stratify’ , causing poor water conditions in the lake system.  The strong flow rates help keep the lake ‘mixed’ and keep the lake from separating into different temperature levels. Warm water cannot hold as much oxygen as cool water, and often this time of year the cool bottom layers of a lake have very low oxygen levels (due to decomposition of dead stuff), and the lake can ‘turn over’ where the bottom layers of a lake can mix with the upper layers and create low oxygen levels.  One sign of ‘lake turnover’ is a brown, or coffee colored water.

Bass fishing has picked back up, with most heavy stringers coming from the ‘ledges’ by fishermen throwing large crankbaits and creature baits.

Crappie fishermen have been absent of late, due to the heat and increase of boaters out on the lake for the holiday.  Crappie can still be taken by fishermen targeting deeper haunts, looking for schools of fish in the 20ft depts range out close the the main river.

Catfishermen are doing much better this last week, with most quality size fish coming off the main river along the drops, in 35-50ft of water on cut bait.  I’ve seen some good fish taken on cut asian carp, which seem to work well in the hot water.