Just Caught On Boone Lake!
14 lb. Brown Trout!
We have been getting a lot of independent reports that fishing on Boone Lake has been better than ever.
We reached out to local fishing expert, Keith Bartlett, to help you catch your next trophy on Boone Lake.
Boone Lake Fishing Jewel of the Upper TVA System
By Keith Bartlett
Anglers in upper-east Tennessee are blessed with many lakes, rivers and streams that offer excellent fishing. The cool-water fisheries of South Holston and Watauga Lakes along the western slope of the Appalachian Mountains are top destinations for smallmouth bass and walleyes. Further down the TVA system, warmer Cherokee and Douglas Lakes attract some of the largest bass tournament organizations in the country. All are connected by cold tail-water fisheries and cool-water rivers that offer some of the best trout and smallmouth bass fishing in the southeast.
Hidden among the many angling destinations in this region is one of Tennessee’s most diverse fisheries and best-kept secrets, Boone Lake. Boone is known by most for extensive development, gated communities, beautifully designed homes and high recreational use. Throughout summer, the lake is filled with pleasure boaters, jet skiers and anglers, all of which create the perception the lake is a poor choice for good fishing. But by making a few adjustments, recreational anglers will find Boone Lake a rewarding angling destination. Adjust your approach and follow these simple tips to enjoy good fishing on one of East-Tennessee’s most diverse fisheries:
The key to good fishing on lakes with high recreational use like Boone is fishing them when recreational use is lowest. The period from early fall through early spring can offer good all-day fishing. Focus on days with mild weather and above average temperatures to catch bass along edges where shallow flats drop into deep channels. Places where the river channel brushes bluffs, points and shallow flats along shore will often hold many fish and are easily found by studying a topo map before going to the lake. Whether you fish jigs, weighted soft plastics, swimbaits or hard-baits, slow presentations with frequent pauses will trigger strikes form lethargic bass throughout the cool- and cold-water seasons.
From spring through late-summer, night-fishing or the few hours before dawn through sunrise offer good fishing for bass, panfish and others on Boone. The lake offers plentiful fish attracting structure including points, islands and countless docks so there are good places to fish close to every launching ramp. Use blacklights to illuminate fluorescent fishing lines at night and you can catch large and smallmouth bass with the same lures that are so productive during the day. The key to success at night is being able to see subtle line movement when wary fish strike. Small through larger plastic worms, creature baits and jigs will all attract strikes from Boone Lake bass at night. Green, brown or purple plastics will catch large and smallmouth bass with variations of the green pumpkin color a local favorite.
Boone Lake offers some of the best striped and hybrid-striped bass fishing in the south. Search for these freshwater giants where water temperature runs coolest and baitfish are most plentiful. Boone Lake’s diverse food sources include threadfin and gizzard shad as well as alewives, a deep-water baitfish similar in appearance to shad. Striped and hybrid bass continually follow concentrations of these minnows so finding plentiful baitfish is crucial to finding good fishing for them. In mid- to late-spring, shad and alewives spawn along shallow shorelines, attracting stripers and hybrids to the shallows. Search for them in places close to deep water where the wind has blown in all day and you’ll find plenty of baitfish and many times stripers or hybrids. During the heat of summer, search for stripers and hybrids in the headwaters of the lake where inflowing cold-water rivers lower the lake’s water temperature. Whether spring or fall, fish for them during low light at dawn, dusk or on overcast days. And they are active night feeders so casting to them after dark can produce exceptional fishing.
The South Holston and Watauga Rivers that feed and create Boone Lake are nationally recognized fisheries for rainbow and brown trout. From late-fall through early spring, when recreational use is lowest, trout from these rivers disperse into the headwaters of Boone and offer excellent fishing for numbers as well as trophies. Trolling or casting shad- or trout-colored minnow lures, spoons and spinners at various depths is a productive way to catch them. Find the depth where trout are holding and feeding on a given day, then experiment with lure choice and color to catch the most fish. Spend time learning how to catch them and you may catch the largest trout of your life in the headwaters of Boone Lake.
For more on fishing tips on Boone Lake and other local waters pick up a copy of Keith Bartlett’s book, The Weekend Angler’s Guide to Good Fishing or visit his Blog @