Fishing for Memories and Large Fish on Norris Lake

While Norris Lake is well know for large fish, some of the best catches are the memories of our youth fishing with family. Here are some tips and suggestions for catching fish in Norris Lake as well as the most important catch of all, the memories of a lifetime.

Memories of Family Fishing on Norris Lake

Fishing on Norris Lake may be very popular with the professional anglers, but generations of local residents have  lasting memories of fishing the lake with their families. Growing  up on the shores of Norris Lake I spent many fun times fishing with my father, and most weekends found us on the lake. My best memories from my childhood were on the water “wetting a line” with dad that created a bond that has lasted a lifetime.  And today, this passion for fishing on Norris Lake is being passed along to my son. My dad, son and husband love to fish for Largemouth bass from the Ranger boat that is loaded with fishing rods, reels and tackle boxes. 

My son loves to dig for his own worms and help bait a hook. Fishing creates a lasting memory in young children and creates a bond that will last a lifetime. As you enjoy your stay in one of our Norris Lake cabin rentals, please ask us about  the best spots to catch Bluegill. We can send you to a perfect spot, but make sure you bring some bread or crackers for the ducks that will swim by. The ducks love being fed goodies, and kids love feeding them too.

If you’re not fishing from a boat on Norris Lake, you might discover that the BEST fishing is done sitting in a lawn chair along the shoreline, or on a boat dock in a quite cove with your toes in the water. It’s these special times when what you catch has little to do with catching wonderful memories. Catching a few fish is an added bonus. It’s these summer days on Norris Lake that end with a beautiful summer evenings and a  family fish fry with a side dish of hush puppies. And be confident that homemade coleslaw goes very well with the day’s fresh catch. I will always cherish those moments as a child, and can only hope my son looks back on his childhood the way I still do.

Popular Fish Species in Norris Lake 

Norris Lake has five popular fish species that attract anglers both locally and nationally. In the lake you’ll find trophy Black Bass, Striped Bass, Sunfish, Crappie and Walleye. Anyone can enjoy fishing on this beautiful lake that has miles and miles of protected shorelines and secluded coves.

Fish Habitat Enhancement

Over the years, volunteers and people from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) have worked together to improve the fish habitat in Norris Lake. The lake is well known to be one of the cleanest bodies of water in Tennessee. These volunteers have placed submerged structures around the lake to provide cover for the smaller fish and improved fishing opportunities. Today there are more than 20,000 submerged structures that attract all species of fish. Also to improve fish habitat, bald cypress and black willow trees have been planted along the draw-down areas that create additional, long lasting habitat for fish and wildlife.

Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass

Norris Lake is a popular fishing destination for anglers looking to catch both largemouth and smallmouth bass. These two bass species account for about one-third of the total angling efforts on the lake.

Your best chances at largemouth bass are with top water lures and crank baits, flukes, spinners and bass assassins. Carolina lizards work well too from April through early June on Norris Lake. For Smallmouth Bass, try fishing with silver buddies, doll flies, float and fly rigs, and large shiners. Later in the winter, smallmouth will strike along the rocky banks and gravel points that extend into the main channel. Night fishing with spinners or pig'n jigs along the steep banks are a great way to catch smallmouth. The best time of year for fishing smallmouth is November to April.

Striped Bass

Are you hoping to catch a very large fish from Norris lake? If so, you’ll want to gear-up for the very popular Striped Bass. Norris Lake has produced a state record 49.5 lb striped bass in 1978. Previous food-habit studies on the striped bass have shown this fish to prefer shad over other game species, and as of 2005, anglers are allowed one 36-inch or larger fish from November-March and two 15-inch or larger fish from April-October. 

Trolling slowly around varying depths of water can produce exciting times while fishing for stripers. Even the small stripers can weight upwards of 10 lbs, and 30 lb stripers are very common. On Norris Lake, you can find yourself in a tackle-busting struggle with some big stripers. Purchase shad bait at the marinas, or catch your own shad with a throw net.


Walleye are very abundant in Norris Reservoir and the most steady fishing for walleye occurs in the early spring during the annual spawning runs, but walleye can be caught throughout the reservoir during all seasons. 

During river runs, troll or jig with minnow-tipped doll flies, Sparkle Tails, AC Shiners or Rapalas. In late spring, cast night crawlers and other crank baits into flooded weeds. Trolling with Jet Lures tipped with night crawlers or with deep running Long-Billed Rebels (model 911) are popular by the end of May. Night fishing with jigging spoons can produce good results.

Accommodations for Fishermen and Fisherwomen on Norris Lake

Every fishing trip and fishing vacation is made even more fun when you stay in a cabin rental along the shores of Norris Lake. With a wide selection of affordable Norris Lake cabin rentals from which to choose, you're sure to enjoy both the fishing and the memories for a lifetime.