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Fishing Southern Reservoirs


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I have been dreaming about open water and it got me looking ahead. I have a chance to fish in a tournament on Lake Douglas in Tennesee in mid September. It is a reservoir on the Tennesee river that is some 43 miles long and 34,000 acres. I am somewhat reluctant to enter the event from the standpoint that I have never fished a southern reservoir. So I was just wondering if anyone has any tips or suggestions on fishing such a place. Have any of you ever fished this particular lake? Just have to get some feed back from the best bunch of people I know... the FM Bassers. Thanks in advance for the tips and suggestions.

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I grew up bass fishing in south Texas and I can tell you that fishing here and bass fishing in the south are two differant animals. I believe that a bass is a bass but finding bass in Minnesota is going to be easier than finding bass down south. First off, don't let the size of the reservoir intimated you. If you go down there with that mind set then you are in for a long day. In Mid September the fish are going to be hanging out on ledges and drop offs. Just think of it like fishing a deep weed line up here. I would bet the fish are going the be in 10 to 15 feet of water. Get a good map of the reservior and do some prefishing in the comfort of your home by looking over the map to find those drop offs. I would circle or mark several areas on the map that look promising. This will help you eliminate water and narrow down the reservior for possible areas. It will also make the reservior not so intimidating. Just remember that not all 34'000 acres are going to hold fish so try to find those key areas that are holding fish. If you can find 5 spots that look good then you will narrow down the river to a more managable size.

Also, keep in mind that the bite is going to be tough in mid September. You may only get 5 bites during the day so prepare yourself mentally that it will be tough. Have patiences and trust your instincts. We are spoiled here in Minnesota because the bass fishing is very easy. The bass down south get a ton of pressure so be ready for a slow bite.

If you can find any vegetation than you may want to fish the area hard. Keep an eye on your depthfinder to find any variations on the bottom. Southern bass fisherman like to sink trees and brush piles on points and dropoffs so keep an eye out for them on the depthfinder. A brushpile or sunken stumps can be a goldmine down south especially if they are located near a ledge or dropoff.

Good luck with the tourney and let us know how your do down there.

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Having grown up on a Tennessee reservoir, I would like to add to Dan's recommendation. The key to fishing ledges/drops, is to find a good drop around where a major creek/tributary feeds into the main river. My dad and friends fish these types of structures when it is hot outside. The "hot" season continues through mid-October down there. I would stick with a jigging spoon, silver buddy, or heavy jig if there is current. The fish will be hanging on the bottom in current. Otherwise, the jigging spoon or drop shot will help you catch those suspended fish when there is no current.

Good luck!

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Although I did not ask for the information that was provided it seems like it would also apply to Table Rock which is about the same size. Am headed there in early April but not for tournament.

Thanks for sharing your experience!

Daze Off

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I like learning new thing and this post is great... I would love to go down south some time to fish for bass. I think it would be great to learn. Why do you think its easyer to catch bass in MN, Besides the pressure the fish get down south???

Hey SluggoMaster do u shop at Gander in Maple Grove alot in the summer???

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I think another reason the fishing is better up here is because this is gravel lizard country and bass fishing has just started getting popular.

Another reason is because I think the fish have a more stable enviroment in which to spawn. In reserviors the water level can fluctuate from year to year and this can hurt spawning. Also the bass have a longer life span here as opposed to down south. Longer life span equals more chances for me to catch them.

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Then how do they get so darn big down there???

Longer growing season. The fish are actively feeding 10 months out of the year. (My Dad lives in Bama and caught 39 on a spinnerbait about 2 weeks ago)

Another reason I think the fishing is better here is that there are many more public lakes.

But the pressure thing is a huge factor. I grew up down there on a big reservoir and there's tournaments almost every weekend from March through October.

Good Info Dan and Sluggo!

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