Saturday, April 16, 2011

FLW Tour on Lake Chickamauga: What's Happening?

Lake Chichamauga: A Lake in Flux.
By Luigi De Rose
Water is dropping!
(Photo: Rob Newell FLW)

Lake Chichamauga located near Chattanooga Tennessee is part of the fames TVA system. This reservoir is  immediately downstream from Watts Bar Lake and immediately upstream from Nickajack Lake. Being part of the Tennessee river system, spring time usually means high water. Not this year, the lake is several feet below normal pool and much of the shoreline cover is high and dry. The lake’s numerous boat houses and docks are not as valuable as they usually are due to the very low water.
Lake Chichamauga has had many years of turmoil due to fisheries departments spraying the milfoil grass. This destroyed acres of habitat. The last few years, the fishing has improved greatly compared to the fishing in the late 1980s.

What’s Working
FLW Pros have been catching numerous  bass but the size is not large. Scan the standings and the weights are very close. There is only a four pound difference between 8th place and 41st  so finding one big bass here can make a whole tournament.

Top anglers have had good success fishing any remaining shoreline wood or grass. Japanese sensation, Shinichi Fukae, stated that he saw the water in his primary area recede. After the strong rain on Friday, he noticed the water starting to rise. His fishing got much better and he was able to produce a near 20 pound stringer.  He is currently in second but only 3 ounces off the lead.
Tom Monsoor, in forth, has caught the majority of his fish swimming a jig along  the inside grass line. If the water continues to drop, many bass should relocate to these adjacent grass lines.

Any brush in the water has bass. Note how much the water dropped. 
(Photo: Rob Newell FLW)
What to Expect
Surprisingly, many tops have targeted spawning bass. Either sight fishing for visible bass or fishing around bedding areas.  If the water drops even more this might be a loosing pattern and if the water rises with the rain, it might be too stained to see them. Sight fishing is definitely a dicey game but if the bass are there the risk is worth it.
Anglers who find the last remaining shallow cover might have a chance to survive. Fishing pressure might ruin the best areas but the fishermen who have done their homework might know of secluded areas with biting fish. 

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