Checking in from Lake Chickamauga

After a relaxing break at home for the past couple of weeks, I’m back on the road again—this time down at Lake Chickamauga, Tenn.
The fifth FLW Tour derby of the season starts tomorrow (June 11) so I’ve been getting ready for that the past couple of days.
It is in full summer mode now down here. And though it’s not as hot as it was at Lake Eufaula a couple of weeks ago, it’s still very hot for a Canadian guy, with temperatures above 30 degrees C every day and high humidity.
After a couple days of practice. I wish I could say the fishing was as hot as the weather. I had a pretty good tournament here two years ago and left with a 26th-place finish, but it’s been a lot different for me this time around.
I’ve yet to catch a fish off of a place where I caught them the last time I fished here.
Lake Chickamauga is part of the Tennessee River, along with other famous bass fisheries like Lake Guntersville, Pickwick Lake, and Kentucky Lake. As far as bass fishing goes in the U.S., the area around this river system is the heartland for it.
Chickamauga is not known for the numbers of fish that some of the other lakes have, but in recent years it’s become known as a hotspot to catch giant fish in the winter.
Just this past March, the Tennessee state record largemouth was caught—weighing more than 14 pounds!
I’ve been catching seven or eight fish a day over the past couple of days, but the problem is most of them have just been single, random fish. I’ve not been able to find any schools or places where I feel I can go back and catch another one.
With one day of practice left, I’m trying to formulate some sort of game plan to find a solid pattern or area that can carry me through the tournament.
I was very excited to get back here, especially after having a good tournament a few weeks back at Lake Eufaula, but the fish have not been showing up in the places that I expected them to so far.
The hard part of fishing these lakes that you don’t have a lot of time on is that you don’t know those little out-of-the-way spots that always have a fish or two on them, or just the nature of the fish in each specific lake.
On Lake of the Woods or Rainy Lake, I have a pretty good idea what the bass are going to do and how I should be fishing under any type of conditions that we might see throughout the season—simply from having had a lot of time on the water.
One thing I do know is that you can’t win the tournament during practice, so it’s all about catching them on Thursday when it counts. Making good decisions on tournament day is important no matter where you’re fishing and hopefully I’ll have a couple of good calls up my sleeve.
I’m confident in my fishing ability if I can get around some fish, so I’ll just continue to work hard and things should work out just fine.
You can bet there will be some heavy limits and big fish caught tomorrow when the tournament starts. You can follow online at