Birchwood, TN

Winter Fishing Made Easy in East Tennessee

Fishers use the Damiki fishing technique in winter, which has become a popular technique in many reservoirs and lakes in East Tennessee.

Winter fishing can be slow but there is one new technique that can be very effective and entertaining! With the vast improvement in fishing electronics, a relatively new technique has developed, becoming popular in many reservoirs and lakes in East Tennessee. The technique involves vertical jigging and observing fish response to a lure as it is presented. 

Damiki fishing technique

The Damiki or “Video Game Fishing” technique has become a popular method for winter bass fishing, especially smallmouth, in several East Tennessee reservoirs.

The Damiki fishing technique got its name from the most popular lure used for the technique, the Damiki Armor Shad. The Damiki rig is a jig head paired with any 3-4 inch shad imitating plastic lure. It’s generally used on deep clear Tennessee reservoirs including South Holston, Cherokee, and Norris.

The technique is best when water temperatures are below 50 degrees and it can be even better when water temperatures are below 45 degrees. The Damiki will start to shine in early winter when shad are grouped up and the water temperatures fall to around 50 degrees.

How to use the Damiki fishing technique

The setup for the Damiki rig starts with the right tackle. A 6.5 to 7-foot medium action spinning rod is the most common, but some anglers will employ the rig with bait casting gear. The line of choice is small fluorocarbon line ranging from four- to eight-pound test with six pounds being the most popular. Most anglers will want to use a braid mainline to a fluorocarbon leader on their spinning reels to reduce line twist. The fluorocarbon leader length can range from 7-20 feet long depending on the anglers preference. A jig head in the 1/4 to 3/8 size is the most popular. Most anglers will use an Erie-style jig head with a 90-degree hook and a weight forward design to keep the lure in a horizontal posture when it is dropped down to the fish.

Start with learning how to read your electronics. Generally, you need a trolling motor mounted transducer and great electronics to be effective at this. You start looking around smallmouth wintering areas such as break lines, humps, long points, and bluff end points. The most common depths to look for fish are from 25-35 feet, but fish can be deeper at times.

Once fish are located, simply drop your rig down to just above the fish's depth. You should be able to see your lure and the fish on your monitor. It’s easy to see why this technique is sometimes called “video game fishing.” The fish move toward your lure and, bingo!, you feel the bite!

Where to use the Damiki fishing technique

The use of the The Damiki is common in several East Tennessee reservoirs. Plan your next fishing trip on these Tennessee waterways.

Of the 7,580 acres of lake, 60% of the shoreline is bordered by the beautiful landscapes of the Cherokee National Forest. Here, you’ll fish for smallmouth and largemouth bass, crappie and spotted bass. Locals say a large migration of white bass arrives towards early springtime. These oxygen-rich waters are home to many fish thanks to the Tennessee Valley Authority building a weir. Head here for beautiful views and some great fishing in Tennessee.

You have 30,000 acres of lake when you visit Cherokee Lake along with 463 miles of shoreline. Guided fishing trips are offered that also supply the rods, reels, bait and tackle needed to bring in a big fish. Rent a boat and get out on the water to fish channel catfish, crappie, large and smallmouth bass, wall eye, bluegill, sauger and saugeye in the Cherokee Lake.

The lake, surrounded by the mountains of East Tennessee is 34,000 acres with 800 miles of shoreline and is home to 14 different types of fish. A fisher’s dream location, Norris Lake hosts the Outdoor Network’s Fishing University and is regarded as the cleanest lake in the TVA system. Reserve some time with a fishing guide or set out on your own adventure on Norris Lake.

Fishing on these Tennessee reservoirs with the Damiki fishing technique will make you a fan of winter. Until next month, have a great season and catch one for me right here in Tennessee.


Just Keep Fishing This Autumn and Winter in Tennessee

TN hosts a Delayed Harvest Season, stocking trout in select streams during autumn. Here’s where to go for a great day of catch-and-release fishing fun.

Read More