Fishing Tips With Nathan Mountain

June 27, 2007

Click on the above video link to see Nathan Mountain's Sports Overtime fishing tip of the week. This week Nathan talks about "jiggin'"... an effective method to catch deep-holding bass.

(Source: TWRA)


The water level is falling with surface temperatures 86 degrees. The water has a light stain.

Bass are active during night-time hours and early morning; fish flats, drop- offs, rocky banks, or creek areas. Fish topwater with jerk baits.

Walleye are being caught on the upper areas at Point 18 on up to the Forks of the Rivers, fishing close to the bottom with night crawlers and minnows.

A few crappie caught in river and creek channel trolling 10 to 25 feet with dark color flies and small crank baits.

Fish the bluffs, rocky banks, creeks and river channel for catfish. Use night crawlers or chicken livers

Fish shady and rocky areas for bluegill.


The water elevation is 1,015.4-feet, a drop of 1-foot since last week. The lake level is predicted to drop an additional 4.8-inches over the next two days.

Water surface temperatures have been fairly stable for the past month or so. Morning surface temperatures have been about 76 degrees, the temperature rising as high as 80 to 82 degrees by late afternoon. The lake is clear in all locations.

Hot, dry weather persists. The best fishing is at the break of day, or in the hour or two before dark, and at night. Because of the drought, the lake water is clear, with the bottom visible as deep as 8 or 10 feet in some locations. Small diameter line in a low visibility coloration is recommended for daytime fishing. There has been little change in the fishing pattern in the past two or three weeks. The drawdown has resulted in baitfish schooling in mid-channel on the lower half of the lake.

STRIPED BASS have been caught in the early morning hours, mostly, in the channels around Island F, the between Points 19 and 9, and in upper Cove Creek. SMALLMOUTH BASS anglers are having the best luck at night, or at dawn along rocky banks.
LARGEMOUTH and SPOTTED BASS are hitting in the coves at dawn, with some decent topwater action early. CRAPPIE fishing is slow, limited mainly to night, under lantern or floating light, or at the break of day. WALLEYE are still slow in the daytime; better at night on snagged shad cast beyond the lantern light. After a month of limited catches coming from a variety of depths, the most common depth for locating these fish, right now, is from 20 to 25 feet.

Fair at night, slow during daylight. No change in the pattern.
20 to 25 feet deep, on the bottom, for daytime trolling.
Spinner/nightcrawler rigs (Hildebrant # 3.5 or 4 blade, brass color has worked well); Jet Lure/nightcrawler rigs trolled along the bottom and near the bank or on mid-lake humps if the depth is right.

For daylight trolling, target mud lines along the steeper rocky banks where there is timber cover on windy days, or when boat traffic is high. Cast ShadRaps, Rogues or topwater plugs to flooded sycamores and other wood structure at night, or fish under lantern light with shad or alewife. Most night catches have come from those snagging shad or alewife and casting it beyond the lantern light, letting it drift down.

5 feet in early morning, dropping deeper and tighter to cover as the day progresses.
Use medium tuffy minnows or 1-inch tube jigs or 1/32 oz. or 1/64 oz. popeye flies tightlined into the main channel brush/tree tops channel and hollows.
Lost Creek, Davis Creek, Vasper Hollow to Cove Lake Dam have been good areas. Mill Creek and Big Ridge Hollow vicinity had some nice catches even in mid-day in deep brush.

Surface to 20 feet.
Live shad or alewife driftlined or shallower on planer boards. Or tightline bait to depth where schooling shad and stripers are located.

Cove Creek, near Cove Norris, had good surface breaks at mid-day. Point 19 to Cunningham Cove had some surface action, but the fish appeared to be small. Lost Creek was slow.

1/2-ounce to 1-ounce white hair jigs or Slug-gos or Bass Assassins cast or trolled into shad schools where fish are feeding, or shad/alewife driftlined or tightlined at depth in mid-day. Night, early morning and the hour before sunset have been the best times.

Good at dusk and before 8:00 a.m.
Surface to 10 feet.
Near wood structure, shallow, whether on rocky main channels or in the hollows. Some nice catches have come from rocky banks where there are dropoffs into water 19 to 15 feet deep.
3/8 ounce pig 'n jigs or Texas-rigged ripple tail plastic worms cast to drop-offs and walked down to depths of 15 to 20 feet.
Jerk baits (Rapalas, and similar plugs), Bass Assassins, small plastic worms as well as topwater plugs continue to produce fish. In early mornings, cast topwater plugs or jerk baits such as Bass Assassins (and other similar lures) or Slider-type worms to brush, the base of flooded trees.
3/8-ounce pig 'n jigs with medium chunk trailers, and 2-inch Slider worms or 2-inch tube jigs worked well in cover on rockier, steeper banks. Some anglers are getting nice fish on plastic worms as large as 7 or 9 inches.

Fair during night hours or just before daylight; slow after sunrise.
Some caught at dusk.
10 to 20 feet on main channel rocky points and banks where there is some wood structure - treetops or brush- on a fairly steep slope especially near transition zones of flat gravel banks breaking to steeper rocky banks.
Mid-lake humps and drop-offs along the humps are giving up some fish on small jigs or hair flies.
5 to 10 feet at earliest light, on small pig'n jigs, suspending jerk baits (shad color) or spinners cast to broken rock, moderately sloped banks with wood structure (downed trees, mostly). Topwater plugs improved since last week, but only at the first break of day.
3/8 ounce brown-on-brown pig'n jigs or small brown or dark green Slider/Finesse worms slowed. 3-inch Salty Tube Jigs in the darker green colors are getting some hits on Carolina rigs where there are flats leading to deeper water, or on Texas rigs on the rocky ledges on the main channels.

Fish crickets or wax worms as deep as 25 feet, on steep, broken rocky banks where there is shade.
Popping bugs at dawn along rocky banks are getting good fish until the sun gets up. For larger fish, tightline crickets, or cast them without bobber to the shady, steep, rocky banks near downed timber.
Nightcrawlers as bait are a poor second choice.


The water surface temperature was in the low 80’s on Tuesday. The lake has a good green color to it right now. The lake level at the dam as of 10:00 p.m. Wednesday night was 1,718.18 feet above sea level.

Bass fishing continues to be fairly slow. Topwater fishing with a buzzbait and poppers seem to be the most effective early in the mornings now with the hot days. The upper end of the lake from the 421 Bridge to the Virginia line seems to be where most of the action is early mornings. Smallmouth can be found along points, rocks, and humps in 10 to 25 feet of water. Small crankbaits, spoons, jigs, grubs, and other plastics seem to be doing the best during the day. The grubs seem to be best in the slime green color while root beer bandits, and pumpkinseed worms and pig –n- jigs seem a good choice as well. Root beer jigs seem to be working the best late in the evenings and at night. A Rattlin Rouge or Bomber Long “A” jerkbait has also taken a few good bass off long shallow points or around the boat docks. The only noticeable Largemouth bass action seems to be in the Big Jacobs Creek area or where there is any woody cover around points from Painter Creek up into Virginia.

Walleye fishing as seen some success at night or early mornings . The best time early in the mornings is on cloudy days with a breeze blowing. What fish have been caught are on mid-lake humps or around the islands below the 421 ramp early in the morning to mid-day. Most anglers are trolling worm/spinner rigs and Rapalas. Fish are being found about 20-25 feet down in most places.

Crappie fishing has been fair. The best fish can be found in the creek channels and coves where brush or treetops are located. Most of these fish are being caught on live minnows in about 6-10 feet of water. Blue or chartreuse jigs and flies have been somewhat successful. The upper end of the lake is a good place to start to find good fish. Trolling a small crankbait can also help pick up the suspended crappie when fishing gets slow.

Trout fishing has slowed down with the warmer temperatures. The trout that have been taken have been mostly rainbows in the lower portion of the lake off of Rooster Tails or Berkley Power Bait. A few Brown Trout have been caught closer to the 421 Boat Ramp. Trolling in 15-25 feet of water has been the most effective around the dam and into Riddle Creek.

BOONE RESERVOIR: (6/21/07) -

The water surface temperature was 83 degrees at noon on Wednesday. The lake clarity is fairly clear now. The lake level at the dam as of 10:00 p.m. Wednesday night was 1,381.61 feet above sea level.

Bass fishing continues to be slow during the days, but a little better at night. Early in the mornings and late in the evenings are still the best times to catch good numbers of fish during the day. Night fishing has also been doing fairly well on certain nights. The largemouth bass are what most anglers are catching early in the mornings while the smallmouth seem to be hitting better at night. These largemouths are being found up shallow on flats or around any woody cover. The Watauga Flats area up to the Austin Springs Bridge continues to be a hot spot for early morning fishing. Small plastics like a four-inch worm or grub, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits have been the most effective at this time. The best night lures right now has been the black and blue pig-n-jig or spinnerbaits.

Striper action has really slowed down, but anglers have done well with the hybrids on certain days. The most success finding the big stripes have come on the Holston end with a few being picked up early in the mornings in the Deer Lick area or around the Austin Springs Bridge on the Watauga end. Trolling shad continues to be the most successful way to pick up the big fish, especially on the Holston end from Davis Dock upstream to the 11E Bridge. Red fins have taken a few on the Watauga side the last couple of weeks early or late in the day. Hybrids continue to be found in good numbers on certain days. Chicken livers seem to be the most effective way to catch good numbers of the hybrids.

Crappie fishing was a little better this week. The Holston side at Beaverdam Creek and Boones Creek on the Watauga end seems to be the only good spots right now. Most of the crappie seem to be holding suspended right now. The ones caught on the Holston end were by small 1/16 oz. jig heads with chartreuse or green grubs, and sometimes tipping the jig with a minnow fished in about 8-10 feet of water around fallen or submerged treetops. One can catch a good limit in the Boones Creek area and just down stream from Boones Creek, in the fallen treetops by the docks across the lake from Boones Creek, fishing minnows on a jighead in water from 6-10 feet deep. Trolling on either end of the lake with jigs or small crankbaits has also been somewhat effective for the suspended fish.


The water level at the dam is about 740 ft. Most of the debris has been washed downstream and the lake is very clear with a slight green tint. The temperatures are holding in the mid to upper 70’s at the surface. Recent rains have cooled the surface temperatures somewhat.

The water is still warm but, is a little cooler from the rains. This seems to have caused the fish to be more active. Fish are being caught over the entire lake, but mostly around rocky banks and points. All types of baits are working well right now including live and artificial bait.

3 to 10 feet.
The bluegill are really hitting good right now, and crickets are one of the best baits for them. Around just about any fallen timber or brush piles you can find some bluegills, also around boat houses, but you may have to fish a little deeper to find the bigger ones. The best setup for bluegills is the slip bobber, because you can quickly adjust to the right depth and stay there.

5 to 20 feet.
The bass are hitting better right now, thanks to the recent rains cooling everything down. The shaky head worm and the French fry worm in watermelon seed and baby bass colors are doing very well right now. Spinnerbaits in bright colors like white and chartreuse are also doing very good. Black and blue, or black and brown jig and pig is also a good choice right now. Rocky points and secondary points are a good place to start looking for some bigger bass to be waiting to ambush a spinnerbait or crankbait.

5 to 25 feet Smallmouth are hitting fairly well just about all the same type places you find the largemouth. Minnows are working pretty well at the steam plant in the churning water up next to the plant. Also, try the shallow flats with stumps and rocks. Don’t forget to try the shallow humps that are next to deep water. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are top choices along with small crawdad imitating jigs in crawdad colors, in the 3/8 to 1/2 oz. size.

3 to 10 feet.
The crappie seem to be slowing way down. There are still a few being caught up in Bull Run Creek and a few other creeks, but they are getting harder to catch. Try floats with minnows or little jigs tipped with minnows. Downed timber and brush still seem to be holding a few.

5 to 15 feet.
It looks like the muskys have gone on the search for cooler water. There have been hardly any sightings at the steam plant for a little while now. And, not many musky anglers around either.

4 to 10 feet.
Some nice catfish are being caught all over the lake, and just about any kind of catfish bait you want to use is working well. Cut bait is a good choice, but other baits are catching too. Nightcrawlers, garlic flavored hot dog pieces, shrimp, and shad are good choices.


The water level at the dam is about 813.0 ft. The lake is clear with a slight green tint. The rain has finally gotten here, and is helping to bring the water temperatures down a little. Most of the creeks and rivers are a little muddy from the rains. The surface temperatures have come down some and are holding in the mid-70’s.

The rain seems to have helped somewhat, and caused the fish to be more active. The bass are hitting soft plastics, and crankbaits very well. The bluegills are hitting crickets pretty good. The catfish are hitting worms, chicken livers, cut bait, live bluegill, hot dogs soaked in garlic, shrimp. The crappie have slowed way down along with the striped bass. The walleye and sauger are hitting fairly well but, mostly at night. Night fishing is in full swing right now. It is cooler and the lake is more calm after dark.

5 to 25 feet.
The crappie bite has slowed way down, but you can still catch a few here and there. You may have to fish a little deeper to find any keeper crappie. Crappie seem to like the water to be a little cooler, and are probably returning to deeper, cooler water until the surface temperatures come back to more comfortable levels, which will probably be about the time fall rolls back around. Trolling is producing some good numbers, on flies and grubs.

3 to 12 feet.
Bass have slowed down a bit but, the shaky head worm is doing very well right now. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are still doing fairly well right now. Jig and pig in crawdad colors is doing fairly well also. Plastic lizards and worms in watermelon seed and green pumpkin colors are top choices. You may have to fish a little deeper to find the bigger fish. Shady points and shady banks are a good place to start. Look for cooler water with some structure, and don’t be afraid to fish deep. Night fishing is the ticket right now.

5 to 12 feet.
Smallmouth are starting to become more active around the rocky points and also on the rocky banks, and around the submerged timber. Crankbaits seem to be the bait of choice right now for some good smallmouth. Shad raps are always a good choice for smallmouth. Jig and pig in 3/8 to 1/2 oz. size in watermelon seed color is good choice.

12 to 20 feet.
The walleye have started to bite pretty well, but mostly at night. Remember, only 1 walleye may be 24” or larger. The rest have to be less than 24” but over 15”. The submerged islands just out from the Toqua boat ramp is a good place to start looking for some nice walleye or sauger.

3 to 20 feet.
The bluegill are hitting good right now, nightcrawlers and crickets are two good baits to try for some of these scrappy little pan fish. And, just about anywhere you find some downed timber or brush, you can find some bluegill. They also seem to be drawn to shady places where the water tends to be little cooler, like boat houses and bridges.

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