How I will fish Chickamauga Lake

This week’s Bassmaster Elite Series tournament is going to be another tough one – no doubt. Before practice, I didn’t think that would be the case, but after three days of practice, I think it will. I think this will be the toughest of this stretch of three Elite Series events. There was a three-day regional event here last week that only took 40 pounds to win. It’s a tough time of year, these fish are smart, and the fish have been pounded on all year. They’re just not biting consistently.

I’ve been from dam to dam during practice, looking at places I’ve caught them in the past. I have some history here, for sure. I’ve fished one Elite, two Bassmaster Opens and I’ve fished it besides those events quite a bit. I've spent a fair amount of time here, but not quite as much as you might think.

I had a lot of ideas in my head coming in and have managed to eliminate a lot of them. The thing about this fishery this time of year is it can be won anywhere on the lake with multiple techniques. I genuinely believe that. Big fish live all over this lake. It will be very interesting to see where the best fishing goes down.

Typically during the summer, it goes down on the lower end of the lake because that’s where the ledges and brush piles are. This time of year, I feel like it could be won in a creek with bait around or up the river. That’s not typically a big player here, but you saw what happened two weeks ago at Guntersville. Frank Talley won running up the Tennessee River.

It’s funny; I talked last week about how I like to get in an area and hunker down. That was my goal this week. But, unfortunately, I didn’t find that area. There are a couple of places I could do that, and there are some fish, but they’re so hard to get to bite. They’re feeding on little baitfish, and you see them coming up feeding, but they’re tough to get to bite right now. 

I’ve found a couple of ways to get bites, and those techniques are probably what I will do most of the event.

A couple of baits that I plan to use are a 3/8-ounce bladed jig with an X Zone Lures Swammer on it. I will then flip around an X Zone Adrenaline bug on a Mustad 3/8-ounce Titan X weight and 4/0 Mustad Grip Pin Max flipping hook. I’ll fish that around laydowns and docks. 

This tournament is going to be all about covering water and finding active fish. I feel like I know this place fairly well and feel like I have found the right section of the lake. Chickamauga is one of the best fisheries in my home state of Tennessee, and I’m glad to be there. 

Y’all stay tuned and see what we can learn this week about fall fishing.