Wintertime fishing in full swing; TWRA reports action ‘fair’ in late January


fishingDALE HOLLOW-After seeing the lowest water level in nearly three decades, Dale Hollow Lake has rebounded with recent rain to sit just under six feet from normal summer pool. 

With the rise in the water, an increase in the number of fishermen taking to the lake has also been seen. Recent weekends here have featured a flurry of activity from a good number of ‘arctic anglers’ in search of the elusive species of bass for which the lake is world renown–smallmouth.

Many seasoned fishermen see the colder months as the ‘prime time’ to have a shot at landing a trophy ‘bronzeback’ and they battle the elements for the chance. So far, December has been the better month of the winter, while the month of January brought slower fishing.  Late last year, double-digit reports were common, but those numbers have fallen to six to eight fish lately.

Anglers are looking forward to better days this month and have begun to set their sites on the month of March as the fish start to feed up heavy for the spring spawn. Staples of the wintertime fishing season are being used to target the fish, with the float and fly method, deep jig fishing, and blade-bait casting being three of the most popular artificial methods.  Live shiners have also been effective.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s fishing report of January 26 described fishing to be “fair” and that description matches the sentiments being reported recently around the lake. The agency reported the lake to be on the rise and the water temperature hovering in the lower 40’s, reflecting the mid-month nosedive the water temperature took during January.

It showed a few good smallmouth being taken on live bait while fishing channel points and bluffs in 20 to 40 feet of water, and also explained others were being caught using the float and fly method on channel points and banks fishing over the top of 25 to 45 feet of water. Besides smallmouth, the report showed a few crappie being caught on minnows around trees in 15 feet of water up in the rivers.

Despite the slower bite, fishermen continue to flock to the lake, especially on the weekends, and the trend should continue well into spring. The past weekend brought better reports with the bite picking up a bit and die-hard anglers are looking forward to big numbers the rest of the winter. For regular up-to-date fishing reports and other information about fishing Dale Hollow Lake, visit or

Young outdoorsmen and a winning shot

CELINA-Included in next week’s Outdoor Notebook in the print edition will be a variety of photos of outdoor accomplishments, including a few young sportsmen and a veteran who got lucky after checking in one of his deer from this past season.

There’s nothing like seeing the smiling faces of youngsters like Gus Conkin with a big smallmouth, Jon Wayne Browning and his brother with their catch of the day, and Trace Browning with a good buck. The surprise of Danny Stone after winning Jack’s big game drawing, where he checked in one of the deer he harvested this year, is also captured in this display of pictures.

If you have any photos from the outdoors you would like to see appear in this column–whether they are of your trophy buck, a big fish, or from any outdoor contests, we would love to have them. Give us a call at 243-4710, email them to us at, or drop them by the HORIZON office on the square.  We can scan them and hand them right back, or we also accept digital files.