Norris Lake is also renowned for its fishing, boasting over 56 species of fish. Fishing for stripers, walleye, bass and crappie are a tradition for the dedicated sportsman and novice alike. The TWRA and volunteers from the public sector, have worked to improve fish habitat in Norris for many years. More than 21,000 structures have been placed in the lake since 1992. A wide variety of fish attractors have been used in an attempt to concentrate fish for anglers. These include brush piles which are used by many game fish, and stake beds which are primarily for concentrating crappie. These attractors work well, but must continually be refurbished. Bald cypress and black willow trees have been planted in drawdown areas to create additional, long lasting habitat .Shoreline seeding of grasses during the winter drawdown has the potential of creating spawning habitat and cover for young fish. Inconsistent water levels, however, have rendered any shoreline seeding projects impractical. Spawning benches have been constructed to provide habitat for smallmouth bass.
Rules and Regulations for Fishing Area
Limits are set by the TWRA. http://tnfish.org/ 423-522-2443
Hints and Tips for Fishing this Area
Spotted bass - Small white spinners, plastic grubs on leadhead jigs, doll flies, and crawfish crankbaits are excellent.
Largemouth bass - Crankbaits, top water lures, Flukes, Bass Assassins, spinners, and Carolina-rigged lizards all work during April, May, and early June.
Smallmouth bass - Good lures for Norris smallmouth are Silver Buddies, 1/4 oz (or smaller) doll flies, doll flies tipped with minnows, float-and-fly rigs, and large shiners. On windy days in late winter, cast small crankbaits to wind-swept, rocky banks. Early spring smallmouth spawn on gravel points which reach out into the main channels. Spinners or pig’n jigs fished at night on steep, boulder-strewn banks catch good smallmouth year-‘round.
Crappie - Quality angling is best in the back of major embayments such as Big Sycamore Creek, Davis Creek and Big Creek. Upper river sections above Point 15 (Powell R.) and Point 31 (Clinch R.) are also good. Fish brush piles or downed trees in the winter, early spring or late fall months. Small minnows, plastic grubs, flies tipped with minnows, and small crankbaits work best.
Walleye - During river runs, troll or jig with minnow-tipped doll flies, Sparkle Tails, AC Shiners, Rapalas, or Shad Raps. In late spring, night anglers cast crankbaits into flooded weeds. Trolling with Jet Lures tipped with night crawlers, spinner-and-night crawler rigs, or with deep running Long-Billed Rebels and Model 911 RedFins is popular by the end of May on the lower end. Night fishing with jigging spoons, alewife or shad accounts for good catches in the summer.
Trout: - The cool of the Clinch River below Norris Dam offers excellent brown and rainbow trout fishing
Best Access and Parking Areas
There are multiple commercial marinas around the lake as well as public boat launches at Big Ridge State Park, Palmer Junction Road , Loyston Point, Mill Creek, Fall Creek, Hunting Creek, Dodson Creek, Leadmine, Buffalo/ Dark Hollow, Little Barren Creek There are no launch fees at the public sites.
Shoreline fishing is available at Big Ridge State Park, Chuck Swan WMA, and below the dam.
ADA Accessibility Notes
The commercial marina launch sites are handicap accessible.