A Basic Guide For The Some Of The Best Fishing On Center Hill Lake.
For more info on what fish are currently being caught and the lures/bait used visit the US Army Corps of Engineers web site or by phone (931) 858-4366 or (615) 548-8581.
BREAM or Brim, bluegill, sunfish, pan fish
... boy, talking about opening up a can of worms. What is a bream? Is it a childhood memory of fantastic, world record setting, fish catching times with your Grandpa and dad down at the "secret" fishing hole on a late summer evening?
Bream's food source are minnows, crustaceans, insects, worms, or basically anything that moves in the water, including your toes. Because of their competitive eating habits, this is what makes them so easy (challenging) to catch.
Bream run in school's and tend to stay near their food source - kinda' like some of my friends. Bream can usually be found in one to ten feet of water, or up to 35 feet deep, depending on the time of day and weather. June through August are excellent times to go for that record catch - just make sure you take along your special fishing buddies - that's when the fish are biting the best!
The Walleye see in low-light conditions which is when they are most actively feeding. So, knowing this; night fishing - dusk to dawn, deep or murky waters, cloudy and overcast days, or choppy waters are the best fishing conditions for Walleye.
The best time for catching Walleye on Center Hill Lake is usually March through May or anytime you need a good excuse to get away from the "boss". Since the Walleye feed on fish, crayfish, minnows, and more, it is best to use live minnows or lures that mimic their food source.
Walleyes can range in size depending on how heavily fished. The average adult grows to about 30 inches in length, and weighs up to about 15 pounds, females grow larger than males and both live for 20+ years. The oldest recorded Walleye age was 29 years with the largest recorded size being 42 inches in length with a weight of 25 pounds.
SMALLMOUTH BASS or bronzeback, brown bass, brownie, smallie, and bronze bass
Smallmouth prefer clear water in rocky areas, around stumps, and also the sandy bottoms. They prefer the cooler, fresh water of both still and moving waters and are intolerant of polluted waters.
The Smallmouth eat insects, crayfish, and smaller fish. The methods used in catching the Smallmouth include spinning and bait casting gear, as well as fly fishing. Lures used include, crank baits, hair jigs, jerk baits, spinner baits and all types of soft plastic lures. When casting with a fly rod, use a dry or wet fly, nymphs, streamers, or lures that mimic other water creatures like crawfish or leeches. Live bait may include nightcrawlers, minnows, crayfish and other. They are a very popular game fish in part due to their top water fighting ability.
The best time on Center Hill Lake for catching Smallmouth during the daytime is towards the end of March through May, also November and December. For Night fishing, during the summer under a full or partial full moon or use lights. Female Smallmouth are larger than male and can weigh from three to six pounds while the male comes in at around two pounds. Of course, they both can come in larger deepending on their local habitat, food source, and the person telling the story.
CRAPPIE or croppie, papermouths, specks, strawberry bass and others
This fish tends to be less active during the day and will stay around submerged objects, like logs, large rocks, sunken treasure ships, or weed beds. Crappie feed at dawn and dusk by moving into open water or toward the open banks.
Crappie feed on smaller species and the young of larger fish, they also feed on insects, crayfish, and other crustaceans. Baits and lures include, plastic jigs with lead jig heads, crank baits or live minnows. The use of dumping live bait or "chum" into the water to attract the fish is another popular method. One thing to note: Crappie will not swim downward to catch their prey, only in an upward direction will they feed, or at least that's what the old timers claim!
There are three main types of Crappie found in Center Hill Lake, White, Black, and Black Nose, the Black Nose tends to weigh up to two pounds while the White can weigh up to five pounds. The best time for catching crappie is March through May, and during November.
CATFISH including channel catfish and flathead -
Catfish are bottom feeders and will generally eat anything that will fit in their mouth and they hunt by smell. So, anything with a strong odor can be used as bait - fish, fowl, chubs, and other things held secret by the avid fishermen. Both Channel and Flathead prefer murky water with a slight current, where Channel catfish like a sandy or rock bottom, Flathead prefer a rock bottom.
Channel Catfish can be caught anytime of the year except in extreme cold water temperatures. They prefer small fish and crawfish, and in the warmer months can be found feeding in mossy areas.
Night fishing is great for catching Flathead in the warmer months (yet another excuse to be out with the boys). They can be found in the cover of submerged logs, under rock cropping's or other large submerged objects.
The Tennessee state record for Flathead is 85 pounds and 15ounces. The largest Channel cat caught in Tennessee was 41 pounds.
WHITE BASS or Stripe
This fish tends to move in schools in clear water and eats insect larvae, crustaceans, and other fish. Live bait such as minnows and worms work well but the White Bass are visual feeders, so if they are frightened, chances are they won't bite. For this reason, night fishing and using lights works best. White Bass are active feeders during spawn season and can be caught in large numbers during April and May. They prefer moving water for spawning during the day but will spawn in windswept lake shores.
They range in size from one and four pounds, but have been recorded up to 6 pounds and average 10 to 16 inches in length .
*Please check with the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency for state rules and laws regarding Paddlefish.
For more information on obtaining a fishing license, statewide creel and size limits, along with other great information, please refer to the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency's interactive on-line 2011 Tennessee Fishing Guide.