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fishing below dams in winter?

Tennessee Fishing

fishing below dams in winter?

Postby Crosshairy » Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:12 pm

Is there anything you recommend targeting during the winter below TN river dams besides sauger? I'm specifically thinking about February and early March, which is sort of my "dead zone" for outdoor activities.

I was toying with the idea of doing a winter fishing run. I have a jon boat, or could bank fish. Just wondering if there are species you'd recommend targeting. I am a relative novice when it comes to the cold weather tactics.

Thanks for the ideas!
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Re: fishing below dams in winter?

Postby Aquaholic » Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:53 pm

White bass, bluegill, crappie, small mouth, sauger, walleye, blue,flathead,channel cats... etc can be caught year around, they don't stop eating because it's cold, they may not eat as much or as aggressively as other times of year but they still have to eat.

Percy Priest is usually on fire that time of year...
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Re: fishing below dams in winter?

Postby Crosshairy » Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:02 pm

Aquaholic wrote:White bass, bluegill, crappie, small mouth, sauger, walleye, blue,flathead,channel cats... etc can be caught year around, they don't stop eating because it's cold, they may not eat as much or as aggressively as other times of year but they still have to eat.

Percy Priest is usually on fire that time of year...


I have caught several of those species in the boils, eddies, and pools below the dam in the spring. Do the tactics change in the winter time? I was thinking of just going and drifting shiners or something a little "slower", since I'm normally fishing artificial lures.
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Re: fishing below dams in winter?

Postby Back Home » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:15 pm

Aquaholic wrote:White bass, bluegill, crappie, small mouth, sauger, walleye, blue,flathead,channel cats... etc can be caught year around, they don't stop eating because it's cold, they may not eat as much or as aggressively as other times of year but they still have to eat.

Percy Priest is usually on fire that time of year...
What would you recommend putting in your tackle box to throw down there?

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Re: fishing below dams in winter?

Postby Aquaholic » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:38 pm

I fish jigs 99% of the time, flukes, sliders, electric chicken triple ripples, crappie magnets, trout magnets... From 1/64th oz to 1/2oz

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Re: fishing below dams in winter?

Postby Back Home » Fri Dec 06, 2019 2:27 pm

awesome. Thanks for the info.
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Re: fishing below dams in winter?

Postby Crow Terminator » Sun Dec 08, 2019 7:34 pm

Awesome time to catch skipjacks and then go after blues.

I took my nephew yesterday and we only had 3 skipjacks to cut up. He caught his PB blue but the small fish took their toll on my bait. The dams are spilling water from the flood gates right now and making it tough.
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Re: fishing below dams in winter?

Postby Crosshairy » Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:03 pm

Crow Terminator wrote:Awesome time to catch skipjacks and then go after blues.

I took my nephew yesterday and we only had 3 skipjacks to cut up. He caught his PB blue but the small fish took their toll on my bait. The dams are spilling water from the flood gates right now and making it tough.


do you generally Carolina rig the cut bait, go off a 3-way swivel, or something else? I'm not really terribly experienced when dealing with catfish in the river.

Thanks!
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Re: fishing below dams in winter?

Postby Crow Terminator » Wed Dec 11, 2019 6:07 am

I'm a bank fishermen without access to a boat so I have to do things differently than I would if I were in a boat. I typically throw a 3 to 5 oz "no roll" sinker Carolina rigged with a 10/0 Mustad fine wire Demon hook. I've been in some places where the 5 oz is still not enough to hold the bait still in current. Typically I will just move spots when I run into that. I have also thrown the Santee rig but have not had much success throwing it with cut bait. Not sure why but I am a novice at catfishing with a lot still to learn.

Right now my number one problem is consistency in catching fresh bait. It seems most of my fishing time is spent chasing bait to use and in more cases than I like to admit...ends in epic failure of catching nothing and resorting to buying it at the bait shops. Some days though, it is bam bam bam...fill the bucket with skipjack. Those days for me have been few and far between. In fact, Saturday I used up the last of my stockpile from the 1 good day I had in November. And now I'll have to catch me some before I can go again...or buy some chicken breast.
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Re: fishing below dams in winter?

Postby catman529 » Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:37 pm

Man I would settle for some sauger


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Re: fishing below dams in winter?

Postby Crosshairy » Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:31 am

catman529 wrote:Man I would settle for some sauger

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I love those fish, but I've never been able to target them in the winter and don't have any electronics on my jon boat to help find them. That type of fishing is a bit tough when you can't see where the drop-offs are and such. I usually catch one or two in the spring while targeting other stuff, but I've never been on a successful "sauger" fishing trip.
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Re: fishing below dams in winter?

Postby WTM » Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:10 am

catman529 wrote:Man I would settle for some sauger


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yeah, those days are all but gone on the tennessee river system. the last ones i caught were 4 years ago and every one i know has all but quit fishing for them. they say the ohio and the cumberland still has some descent populations.

i think im going after walleye in east tenn this year since the twra are stocking a couple hundred thousand a year.
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Re: fishing below dams in winter?

Postby MickThompson » Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:37 am

WTM wrote:
catman529 wrote:Man I would settle for some sauger


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yeah, those days are all but gone on the tennessee river system. the last ones i caught were 4 years ago and every one i know has all but quit fishing for them. they say the ohio and the cumberland still has some descent populations.

i think im going after walleye in east tenn this year since the twra are stocking a couple hundred thousand a year.


Those were the days! 40-50 boats stacked up at the mouth of the Duck!
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Re: fishing below dams in winter?

Postby WTM » Sat Dec 14, 2019 12:04 pm

MickThompson wrote:
WTM wrote:
catman529 wrote:Man I would settle for some sauger


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yeah, those days are all but gone on the tennessee river system. the last ones i caught were 4 years ago and every one i know has all but quit fishing for them. they say the ohio and the cumberland still has some descent populations.

i think im going after walleye in east tenn this year since the twra are stocking a couple hundred thousand a year.


Those were the days! 40-50 boats stacked up at the mouth of the Duck!


yeah, the last ones i caught were around morgan creek just upstream and eagle island near clifton. it was strange down there, about 30 boats and every fish just about were males but at morgan creek they were females and these were just days apart. we caught zero were we traditionally caught them for almost 40 years at indian creek.

im no fishery biologist by any means, but imo, i think the length requirement is in reverse and too many big females were caught and kept during spawning runs. the rock dredging or clearer water may have played a part as well but i dont know.
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Re: fishing below dams in winter?

Postby MickThompson » Sat Dec 14, 2019 12:06 pm

Towards the end I heard lots of rumors of folks hiding short fish too. I think it was just too much pressure.
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Re: fishing below dams in winter?

Postby WTM » Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:18 pm

yeah probably and maybe the creel reduction was too little too late. maybe there will be a rebound, i had heard that some small fish were caught last year around big sandy by crappie fishermen and south of pickwick, but if we keep getting january and february floods i wont hold my breath.
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