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In your opinion, has the quality of Fishing on the Chick improved, remained steady or declined?
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   Fishing Fishing Discussion

Posted by Springmillvol
4/15/2021 10:02 AM
Over the past 5 years in terms of numbers, size, etc? Curious to see other's thoughts. I'm relatively new so don't have a reference for that far back.



Thanks
Posted by finbully
4/15/2021 10:18 AM
That's a great question. I don't have enough on the water time to make an informed opinion but it will be interseting to hear others' thoughts.
Posted by sully
4/15/2021 10:49 AM
Either its on the decline or the fish have changed where they go and what they do probably cause of pressure. I dont think its as fun to fish anymore because you are either fishing behind 2 or 3 boats or getting cut off by 2 or 3 boats. Just my 2 cents or maybe I just cant fish anymore
Posted by CHICKCREEKBOY
4/15/2021 11:39 AM
For me it has gotten slower over the years. Seven years ago I would put in at CF and fish for four hours and catch 15. Hitting my favorite grass spots and catching two or three per spot. Then there was less grass to fish and more people fishing. Instead of being the second person to fish a big area like pinkies point, I'm the 10th person fishing a few little patches. Or come back a week later and the little patch is gone. Lucky to catch one per spot. I don't get to fish a lot but can definitely see a decrease in how many I catch per trip. Need to change my tactics or lake.
Posted by CATCHMAN
4/15/2021 1:51 PM
I am president of CATCH and our results for 2021 are down from the past. We have had 2 tournaments this year with 40+ and 60+ boats and only one fish weighed in over 9. We have had 0 smallmouth or spots weighed. Don't have an answer to your question.
Posted by Springmillvol
4/15/2021 2:03 PM
Great comments so far. I've lived here a bit longer but going into my 3rd yr with a boat and it has definitely gotten a little tougher it seems. As someone mentioned above, could be partly to the fact that in just that small amount of time the crowds have picked up and you can't always fish the areas you are planning to when you leave the dock.
Posted by huntermercer.stud
4/15/2021 2:37 PM
been fishing tournaments on Lake Chickamauga since I was 9. I am 24 now and still fishing tournaments. I think it has declined in the aspect of catching fish, but the lake is still one of the most healthy lakes I have ever seen. There are crappie and bait all over the lake. The fishing pressure combined with the last two springs of up and down water levels make it tough.
Posted by WarEagleChatt
4/15/2021 5:52 PM
Short answer declined....I have lived in the area for 12 years. I am what I would consider an experienced bass fisherman(didn’t say expert). I have years of bass club tourney fishing on the Tennessee River and Coosa River lakes. When I first moved here, the wife and I could put in at CFP and go out and catch good numbers and decent size fish. That held true up to about 3-4 years ago. We do not catch the numbers anymore but do occasionally catch bigger ones. I wonder with the intro of the Florida strain, plus the immense fishing pressure, we now have met “the law of unintended consequences.” We have very finicky fish and way too many fisherman on a lake with tons of pleasure boaters.
Posted by fischnrod
4/15/2021 6:44 PM
People who live and fish Guntersville tried to tell everybody how it would be so now it is what it is About time for another funeral for lake Chickamauga

Edited by fischnrod 4/15/2021 6:45 PM
Posted by TightlineT
4/15/2021 9:21 PM
Decline for me, but I don't claim to be a good fisherman by any stretch of the imagination. I have fished this lake since about 2008. Pressure is terrible. I probably won't catch any more fish, but looking at starting to fish watts bar during busy times just in hopes of some breathing room while I practice casting.......Jim
Posted by Shadman
4/15/2021 9:40 PM
I believe the fish have changed due to fishing pressure ,like stated before you have to get in line to fish a spot my old hot spots have dried up
Posted by camaro88z
4/15/2021 11:38 PM
My answer is just like everyone else's. To me this lake is nothing like it used to be. It is alot harder. Spring used to be my best days on the lake. But summer is better to me now. But last summer I struggled. Way to much pressure. This year has already started off with so many tournaments. What is bad the ramp that I used to always use up here most of the time i can no longer use. Always a tournament going out of it. Hoping the flordia bass being up in watts takes off real soon. Maybe it will take some of the pressure off of the chick or I am going to have to get better there. I really can't have the fun on the lake that I use to. Not only because of tougher bite but all the traffic. Some of them have 0 sportsman ship. The only good thing I can see from the decline in the lake is maybe sooner or later it will not have so much pressure because of it. But we will always have giant fish here so that might not change even with poor catching results. Idk. But enough of my gripping. May your next trip be a great one and safe one. Laters
Posted by churly
4/16/2021 8:42 AM
number of fish over 5lbs has been in decline for several years. Its a cycle but I dont think all of the added pressure helps.
Posted by Tenncrapie
4/16/2021 10:57 AM
Declined and size of fish plus numbers have declined. Every boat ramp is full, Monday thru Sunday
Posted by derek81
4/16/2021 2:39 PM
Of course it has declined. Lake this size cannot sustain the pressure bigger lakes can. Don't get me wrong it is still a great fishery for those willing to spend the time to figure it out but the days of pulling up on every point and being able to catch 20lbs are gone. Look at the CBA weights over the last few years, some big winning bags but look at how fast the weights drop. Lake has been pounded to death non-stop for the last 8 years and it is showing.
Posted by FirstLight
4/16/2021 10:23 PM
^^^^exactly^^^^ ^^^^100%^^^^

Edited by FirstLight 4/16/2021 10:23 PM
Posted by elwestb
4/17/2021 4:42 PM
...what derek said!
Posted by ranger518vx
4/19/2021 2:59 PM
Definitely declined! Too much pressure 7 days a week! Pleasure boaters with 0 respect or brain capacity make it even more difficult from about May - September.
Posted by ChooChooSnakeMan
4/20/2021 12:34 PM
I started bass fishing on the Chick in 1987 so I remember the other "era" when the Chick was a hot lake. We had a classic here during that time. Grass came on strong and for a few years you could pull up to any number of humps and flats with grass on it and really have a great time. You could catch numbers and also some fair sized fish. Later in the summer jumping fish were plentiful as wolfpacks of bass herded minnows in the grass and gorged on them. Then the grass went away and so did the great fishing. Was it spraying, was it weather / rainfall / floods, whatever the reason the grass went and so did the great fishing. Then we had the introduction of Florida bass and combined with the return of the grass and all of a sudden the Chick was making national headlines, a top 10 - even top 5 bass lake. That brought the crowds and tournaments non stop. I just don't enjoy fishing the Chick like I used to. There are just too many people and I start out knowing that I won't be the first or probably even the second guy to hit a spot. Add to that the pain that running on the Chick has become with all the boat traffic. At least I can't run my boat in the speed range that it performs the best very often due to all the boat traffic, maybe you can but I'm just not comfortable with the safety nor the beating my body takes to try to run 50 to 60 mph on a weekend to cover some water on the Chick. That also makes it much less fun for me. Now I have a theory that may be totally wrong but some of you who know the lake and bass behavior much better than me please chime in. Some years back, I'm not sure when but I'm sure somebody can let us know TVA changed when the lake would be at summer pool. It used to always be up by April 15th which was good because that made for a good stable water level for a lot of species to spawn. April 15th had a good chance of hitting the crappie spawn and usually the bass spawn and always the bluegill / shellcracker spawn. Now it is a month later. I think this hurts the spawn of many species. I think the delayed raising of the lake is especially hurtful and responsible for the recent decline in shell cracker numbers on the Chick. I think that the bass are force to spawn and then have the eggs covered by too much water which causes not enough sunlight and warming. I believe delaying the raising of the lake could be maybe as big a factor as fishing pressure for the decline on the Chick. What do you think?
Posted by finbully
4/20/2021 12:45 PM
I don't have first hand knowledge of changing "full pool" timing of the Chickamauga Operating Guide, but what you say makes a lot of sense to me. It would be good to hear the philosophy behind this change and if the change has the intended results. If not, why not go back to an earlier lake rise for the benefit of the fish? Anyone from TVA on here know? TVA seeks a lot of public input, but this is an area where I don't think the public has any say. Correct me if I'm wrong, please.
Posted by Nauticman
4/20/2021 2:44 PM
ChooChoo’s post makes some good points. Looking at TVA’s operating guide for Chickamauga Lake, I was surprised to see that they had changed the timing of full pool from 4/15 to 5/1. I have no idea why they did that and if it affects the spawn negatively. Maybe a biologist could chime in.
Posted by Nauticman
4/20/2021 3:31 PM
ChooChoo’s post makes some good points. Looking at TVA’s operating guide for Chickamauga Lake, I was surprised to see that they had changed the timing of full pool from 4/15 to 5/1. I have no idea why they did that and if it affects the spawn negatively. Maybe a biologist could chime in.
Posted by Smalliefan2
4/20/2021 4:41 PM
Bass resource released it's readers poll on favorite lakes. Ist, tie, Big "G" & Lake Fork. 2nd, tie Chick and Big Sam.
One change noticeable is much of the rock in areas where the "c" rig was used are gone. Used to be able feel the rock as you reeled up, now it is smooth. The 200k cfs from a couple years ago seems to have washed the rock away.
Posted by xpress19
4/21/2021 12:43 AM
Stop posting your big fish on social media. I have met so many people across the country from Arizona to Nebraska...Fishing is definitely tougher , too many fishing guides exploiting our fishery for money...Just my opinion.
Posted by RobN
4/21/2021 11:17 AM
I am not sure if this link will work but here is an article referencing the change Choo Choo mentions: If I understand it, the TWRA was opposed to the change and stated there would be years where the spawn would be impacted.

https://www.chattanoogan.com/2004/5/19/50788/TVA-Approves-New-Water-...

Edited by RobN 4/21/2021 11:18 AM
Posted by ChooChooSnakeMan
4/21/2021 11:36 AM
RobN, thanks for posting the link to the article. I've picked these quotes from the article and these are fishery biologist who are making these statements. Looks like TVA made the change knowing it would impact our fishery. I want to be fair so if there are any TVA people who have knowledge of why it was decided to raise the lake level a whole month later than what had been standard practice for such a long time please let us know.

Quote from the article are:
"Myhr says that will have a devastating impact on game fish that spawn in April. He says their best, historic spawning areas are liable to be left high and dry by low, or fluctuating water levels.

"I think fishermen have something to look forward to they don't want to see," said Myhr. "They can look forward to missing year classes of bass and crappie and redear sunfish (shellcrackers). I think they'll all be negatively impacted by this operation."

TWRA Aquatic Biologist Kirk Miles adds, "Fish are going to be ready to spawn and there's a good chance they're not going to have the best spawning habitat available."
Posted by Allison2002
4/21/2021 5:12 PM
All these pro tournaments and out state tournaments surely dont help. Zooming through no wake zones and there excuse is I'm not from around here o well may be it will get better not. Some body is making a dollar on these out of town tournaments I wonder who not TWRA they could but o well.
Posted by Nauticman
4/21/2021 6:06 PM
Thanks to RobN for posting Richard Simms’s article. This article is 17 years old and documents TVA’ s intention to bring Chickamauga to full pool by 5/15. So, it’s been 17 years of this way of operating the lake level. The fishing has been great until lately, so, intuitively, this way of operating has not hurt the fishing. Furthermore, TVA’s operating guide dated 2021 shows the lake to be filled to full pool by 5/1 (look it up).
It’s plain to see that fishing pressure is the main reason for the decline as several posts on here have stated.
These days, if I am fishing an offshore spot, there will soon be a bass boat circling me (or even two boats) to scan the spot I am fishing and that’s during the week.
Posted by Flathead
4/21/2021 6:16 PM
Nauticman - 4/21/2021 6:06 PM

Furthermore, TVA’s operating guide dated 2021 shows the lake to be filled to full pool by 5/1 (look it up).


Just looked at operating guide on tva app. It's not showing full pull 5/1. Looking on my phone and it looks like 5/15 to me.
Posted by finbully
4/22/2021 7:20 AM
More than a single cause I suspect.

Edited by finbully 4/22/2021 7:23 AM
Posted by RobN
4/23/2021 6:58 PM
You are welcome and I agree the pressure is not good for the fishery as a whole - I interpreted the article as that certain years it might negatively impact the spawn as there are so many environmental variables that also impact the spawn and lake levels, and your right the trend over the last few years is more recent Vs the change 17 years ago. Regarding the pressure I am not sure there is a good answer as even today the lake still fishes better than most. I am thankful we have it in our local community.

i
Nauticman - 4/21/2021 6:06 PM

Thanks to RobN for posting Richard Simms’s article. This article is 17 years old and documents TVA’ s intention to bring Chickamauga to full pool by 5/15. So, it’s been 17 years of this way of operating the lake level. The fishing has been great until lately, so, intuitively, this way of operating has not hurt the fishing. Furthermore, TVA’s operating guide dated 2021 shows the lake to be filled to full pool by 5/1 (look it up).
It’s plain to see that fishing pressure is the main reason for the decline as several posts on here have stated.
These days, if I am fishing an offshore spot, there will soon be a bass boat circling me (or even two boats) to scan the spot I am fishing and that’s during the week.
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