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  • Writer's pictureSteven Paul

Melton Hill Muskie Fishing Report 2021

Updated: Jan 3, 2022

Tennessee Musky Fishing Report 2021

Melton Hill Fishing Report 2021

Bi-weekly Melton Hill Musky fishing report.

Steven Paul with his friends, Joe Bucher, Pete Maina and Russ & Jake Smith.

This was the speaker line up for the 2021 Musky Shop Bash in Wisconsin.

Melton Hill Lake : Oak Ridge Tennessee

Center Hill, Great Fall Lake, Rock Island, Parksville Lake Musky Fishing.

Tennessee Muskie Fishing Guide Steven Paul

Melton Hill Musky Fishing

January 1st-15th 2021

January 2021 is off to a fine start with weather ranging from mild to frigid, knowing what to wear each day on the water has been the biggest struggle.

Tennessee Musky Fishing has been dialed in on musky locations as the water levels and temps have remained stable for the most part. Melton Hill and Center Hill musky fishing has been solid as muskies are using predictable locations and responding to methodical winter presentaions.

Water Temps are ranging from 44*-49*

Top Casting Presentations Tennessee Musky Fishing January 2021

Whale Tail Magnum : White

Bondy Magnum : Zug Island Special

Joe Bucher Depth raider Suspending Purple Tiger

Top Trolling :

Spit Fire Big Norm : KY Crush

Legend Plow : Black

Headlock : Black Rice

Tennessee musky fishing in the winter is a methodical process, anglers need to have their seasonal patterning locked down. Winter musky fishing is a game of fishing less spots but fishing them at maximum effectiveness. Success is based on a combination of proper presentation, patterning and patience. Putting a trophy Tennessee musky in the net its imperative to have all three.

January 15th - 31st

Mid and late January 2021 musky fishing conditions are as wild as they get. Day time temps are ranging from the low 20's with a crazy pike of nearly 65 degrees on one particular day. Finding Tennessee musky is the easy part knowing what to wear on the water and how much of it seems to be the most difficult part of the day. Water temps are low even for this time of year but these cooler temps have put muskies in classic winter patterns which makes selecting target areas exponentially easier than years with major variance.

Water Temps 39-44

Top Casting Presentations Tennessee Musky Fishing January 2021

Llungen 50 Cal Walleye 2.0 :

This magnum crank-bait from Llungen seems to have the perfect dive curve to trace the tight contours of steep breaks and shorelines. It's large profile grabs attention from negative and neutral muskies.

Chaos Monster Mega Medusa :

This thing is big and moves an enormous amount of water, while it does generate strikes it is an excellent search bait for upper forty and fifty inch fish during winter months. Throw it till they show and come back with a "down sized" presentation. But keep in mind just about every musky bait on the market is "down sized" compared to the Monster Mega Medusa.

Top Trolling

Joe Bucher Depth Raider 8" Color Sucker

8" Jake Color Fire Tiger

Spit Fire Musky Baits Big Norm Color Brain Damage

Tennessee Musky Fishing Report 2021

Melton Hill Musky Fishing Report

February 2021

February Tennessee Musky Fishing Report 2021

February is off to a cold start but the musky fishing is hot. Cold water temps in the region have some fish moving in slow motion but when confronted with the proper presentations Southern muskies get fired up.

Water temps have been in the low 40's so slowing down retrieves has been imperative to connecting with active fish. The weather patterns have been all over the map with days ranging from frigid to some mild days mixed in.

52 x28 February Tennessee Musky caught on a Spit Fire Big Norm DC Destroyer Pattern

Top Casting Presentstions

Joe Bucher Depth Raider : Sucker Pattern

Spit Fire : Big Norm DC Destroyer

Spit Fire : Kamikaze Dirty Chart

Lake X Toad : Tape Face

Top Trolling Baits :

Cisco Kid : Perch

10" Jake : Fire Tiger

Baby Depth Raider : Cracker Jack Tiger

Casting is a main consideration in the early mourning hours but when things begin to flatten out trolling the mid-day becomes a serious consideration. Big cranks and and small cranks seem to be the ticket with mid sized musky presentations being particularly fruitless. Reading the Tennessee conditions is often a moving target. Anglers need to accurately read the current conditions in conjunction with weather and forage movements.

Tennessee Musky Fishing Report

March Musky Fishing Report 2021

With colder that usual temperatures Tennessee muskies have been in a pre-spawn holding patterning. While some muskies have been found in shallow zones larger fish are still on the deeper breaks. Knowing when to go shallow and when to be targeting deeper zones is the key to connecting with actively feeding muskies. Speed control is essential during this time frame, the right reel and rod combo also are helpful for proper presentations.

While casting is the top method for this time frame some small trolling runs have been productive. Reaction strikes from structure tight muskies is the target when making accurate passes. Short lines and tight boat control can't be stressed enough. Muskies are finicky during this period and rarely fall for anything less that perfection.

Top March Casting Presentations:

Spit Fire Big Norm : White

Spit Fire Triple Barrel Buckshot : Lime

Joe Bucher Shallow Raider : Perch

Crane 207 : Creme

Top Trolling

Super Shad Rap : White

Llungen 50 Cal : Walleye

Joe Bucher Baby Depth Raider : Perch

March musky fishing in Tennessee is a game of presentation size, speed and depth control. You have to have all three components working in harmony to put trophy muskies in the net.

Tennessee Musky Fishing Report April 2021

April musky fishing in Tennessee has been amazing this year, regardless of local flooding and tough conditions big muskies are on the move. Tennessee Musky Fishing in the spring takes patience and persistence but the musky of a lifetime could be there behind your next cast.

Tennessee Musky weather in April has been tricky to contend with. Major storms have impacted the region leading to flooding and colder than usual water temps.

Muskies can still be contacted in their typical haunts but big fish seem to be doing things a little differently this year.

Top Casting Musky Lures April 2021

The Titan - Livingston Lures Prototype Musky Lure : I will share more details about this lure in the near future.

Joe Bucher Shallow Raider : Shimmer Shad

Slammer 5": Shad Pattern

Spit Fire : Kamakaze Mid : Dirty Chart

Tennessee musky really seem to respond to some serious speed in the spring. High gear reels and a quick pace will trigger negative and neutral fish during this time frame.

Top Trolling

SS Shad : Black

Baby Depthraider : Baitfish

May Tennessee Musky Fishing Report 2021

Tennessee Musky fishing conditions in May have been solid but a few major storm fronts have moved through the region leading to high skies. But generally speaking conditions have been favorable. Late April and early May have been somewhat drier than years past making patterning a slightly different affair. Post spawn southern muskies have been running deeper than in years past and finding the right break line is the key to a successful day on the water.

Top casting presentations

Rapala Peto - This swim bait is the perfect size for spring time musky fishing and has a ton of wobble on the pause. This is a Rapala pike lure from Europe and is tough to get your hands on but is worth the wait. Color Ghost & Halloween

Lake X Toad - The toad is a great rubber bait for negative and neutral muskies. Black

Big Fork Sand Cat - This hybrid dive and rise twitch bait is a funky combo of and the best of both worlds, high speeds seem to trigger strikes. Blue Sparkle and Black

May Tennessee Musky Trolling

I do some limited trolling in the spring but with muskies hugging break-lines this May it seems to be an important part of the game.

Top May Musky Troller

Crane 207 - Brown

AC Shiner - Black

Dig Fork Avatar - Carp

Spring time musky trolling is all about short lines and laser focused boat control.

Tight turns and contouring are the most important factors in generating musky strikes in the spring.

Tennessee Musky Fishing June 2021

June musky fishing conditions in Tennessee have been text book perfect. Fronts are moving in with regularity, while air and water temperatures have remained pleasant. However is is crucial to keep an eye on surface water temps. Surface temperatures in excess of 79/80 degrees are known to cause delayed mortality in muskies. Please use safe handling practices and techniques as well as abstaining from fishing for musky in water temperatures above 70 degrees. It should be noted that surface temps will reach dangerous levels in a matter of weeks.

June 2021 Top Musky Casting Lures

SpitFire - Mid Size Kamakaze - White

This custom made chatter bait is an amazing presentation on both active and non active muskies.

Joe Bucher 700 - Grape Flame -

This classic buck tail seems to produce year round is a fantastic bait for lighting fast retrieves.

Livingston Lures Viper

This jointed glide / swim bait rides high in the water column and is the perfect presentation over dense weeds and rocky structures.

I do very minimal trolling during June but some open water fish can be found while making short precise trolling passes.

Top Musky Trolling Lures :

Cisco Kid - Firetiger

Smoker Tackle SS Shad - Perch

Depth Raider - Sucker

Tennessee Musky Fishing Report July 2021

Water temps by the second week of July are often far too warm to fish. But this year temps where mild and muskies continued to cooperate. However safe handling as well as catch and release should be practiced at all times.

Muskies where staged in their typical Tennessee locations and where moving on extra large presentations. July trips wrapped up around the 12th before I set off for a month in Wisconsin.

Bonuc Wisconsin muskies pictures are attached below.

Top Musky Presentations for Tennessee Musky in July.

Spanky Double 8 Black

Joe Bucher Depth Raider

Drifter Hell Hound 8" Musky Glider

August 2021 Tennessee Musky Fishing Report

A Monster Tennessee Musky caught on the Titan from Livingston Lures

August Musky Fishing can be dynamic, but anglers need to watch water temps to ensure musky survival post release. Weather patterns have been extremely erratic due to an active hurricane season in the South. Typical weather patterns are instantaneously disrupted when the leading edge of these tropical storms move inland. These storm systems seem to be hit or miss on how they will effect musky fishing, with some turning up the activity to extremes while others stifle feeding patterns.

August Tennessee musky fishing is all about open water and knowing where and when to be there. Fish can be found suspended during the majority of the day adjacent to cover and structure. This pattern is perfect for trolling and casting during low light periods.

Top Casting Baits :

The Titan from Livingston Lures

The Titan is a game changer for Dive and Rise musky baits.

The Toad Lake X : Color "Tape Face"

This alternative rubber presentation has great suspension and is perfect for negative muskies

Big Fork Avatar Color "Fire Tiger"

The Avatar is a great open water casting bait that is easy to throw but has a big action.

Joe Bucher Deoth Raider : Color "Sucker"

This classic crank is great for cover tight or suspended fish

Top Trolling

JBO Depth Raider : Color -Perch

Legend Plow :Color -Black

Llungen Chubby :Color-Midwest Butcher

September Musky Fishing Report Tennessee Musky Fishing

The Tennessee Musky Fishing September action has been phenomenal as trophy class fish have moved into shallow zones. Classic presentations like buck tails and top waters are productive but dive and rise baits like the Titan from Livingston Lures has been an amazing producer.

Actively feeding Tennessee musky can be found in and around classic cover and structure but trophy class fish have a tendency to make mid day moves while seeking prey.

Top Casting Lures :

Livingston Lures Titan : Custom Green Goblin

This dive and rise bait is easy to work and produces bites from negative and neutral muskies.

Big Fork Sand Cat : Blue

The Sand Cat is a great lures for twitching and ripping just below the surface.

Lake X Toad : Tape Face

This big rubber bait has some unique qualities that make it a great tool for bottom tight muskies.

October 2021 Tennessee Musky Fishing Report

October in Tennessee is a time of change as water temps on Melton Hill and Center Hill lakes begin to cool the Tennessee musky bite starts heating up. The patterns are classic but in the South timing is everything. Tactics for this time of year cover the entire spectrum.Casting, trolling and jigging are all in play throughout a typical day.

Top Casting Baits October 2021

Livingston Lures : Titan

Color : Iced Man & KY Crush

The Titan is hands down the easiest dive and rise lure ever invented. The ease of use is amazing however its musky catching ability is where it shines.

Water Wolf Lures :

Rat Zilla : Eel Pout

The Rat Zilla is a Bulldawg / Medusa alternative from the fine folks at Water Wolf Lures.

This is a classic pull pause presentation that has some great muskie triggering qualities.

The Rat Zilla is built like a tank and is hand crafted in Canada.

Livingston Lures Bull Dozer

Color : Fire Tiger

This is a new take on an old favorite. The addition of E.B.S technology and its tougher than nails construction make it a winner.

Top Trolling Lures Tennessee Musky Fishing October.

Livingston Bull Dozer

Color : Fire Tiger

As mentioned above its tough and gets the job done.

M9 Lip Grandma

Color : Pink

This classic and hard to find version of the Grandma is a killer when fish are less than cooperative. If you can get your hands on one don't hesitate. The M9 Grandma is one of the rare cases where the "hype" is very, very real for a reason.

Livingston Lures Squeaky Pete

Color : Midnight

This offering from Livingston Lures is actually a "tip of the hat" to the aforementioned M9 Grandma. This has a similar but different action. If you can't get the real thing this will defiantly do.

November Tennessee Musky Fishing

Tennessee Musky Fishing report November 2021

Musky fishing in November can be highly rewarding but can be a challenge due to massive fluctuations in climactic conditions. This year has been no exception as temps have jumped wildly from 30's - 70's in what seems like an instant. These wild weather swings challenge savvy anglers to keep pace and stay on top of patterns.

Top Casting :

Water Wolf Lures :

Rat Zilla : Eel Pout

The Rat Zilla is a Bulldawg / Medusa alternative from the fine folks at Water Wolf Lures.

This is a classic pull pause presentation that has some great muskie triggering qualities.

The Rat Zilla is built like a tank and is hand crafted in Canada.

Livingston Lures Titan

Color - Custom Hot Shad

This dive and rise lure from Livingston is easy to work and is magic on stubborn muskies.

Southern musky seem to gravitate to dive and rise baits due to the hang time and dying action.

Spit Fire Musky Chatter Biat

This hand crafted chatter bait puts of a super heavy vibration and calls in muskies from a distance and keeps them engaged. This the perfect Tennessee Musky presentation when conditions line up to a perfect sunset crescendo.

Top Tennessee Musky Trolling Lures :

10" Jake Hot Cisco

8" Straight Depth Raider

Livingston Lures Titan -

Trolling dive and rise musky baits is an old but somewhat well kept secret.

Classic dive and rise baits place precariously in the engines prop wash lead to an incredibly erratic musky trolling presentation that simply put gets hits.

The Titan's unique line attachment allows it to excel as a prop wash presentation.

December Tennessee Musky Fishing Report

Tennessee Musky Fishing for December has been one of the wildest months I have ever seen in the South. Temperatures have bounced from 20 to 80 degrees and all points in between. Musky patterns have been more summer like than winter. Muskies are actively feeding during solar lunar periods and are reacting to presentations that are far more aggressive.

Top Casting Presentations Tennessee Musky Fishing :

The Titan Livingston Lures color Ice Man

This easy to use dive and rise bait from Livingston Lures has an action that muskies can't resist.

This lure can be worked with rod pulls and pauses but also responds well to simple turn and stop reeling. Southern Muskies love dive and rise baits and the Titan is simply the best.

Livingston Lures Rachel : Shimmer Shad

The Livingston Lures Rachel is quickly becoming my favorite trolling and casting crank bait.

Simple straight retrieves are dynamic with this lure but twitching can be explosive.

Top Tennessee Musky Fishing trolling lures

Shad Rap : Fire Tiger

You can not go wrong with this simple musky fishing classic. The Shad Rap is a staple for many anglers and it seems to shine during difficult bites.

Joe Bucher Depth Raider : Sucker

Another musky have classic that is perfect for bumping cover and structure.

Speed and depth control in the mid and shallow range is simple the Depth Raider making is a versatile tool for rooting out negative and neutral muskies.

Melton Hill Lake : Oak Ridge Tennessee

Center Hill, Great Fall Lake, Rock Island, Parksville Lake Musky Fishing.

Tennessee Muskie Fishing Guide Steven Paul

Melton Hill Musky Fishing


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