Fishing for Largemouth Bass in Franklin, NC

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Fishing for Largemouth Bass in Franklin, NC

This article will focus on fishing for largemouth bass in Franklin, NC. Franklin is a small mountain town in the very western part of the state. It is much more known for trout and smallmouth bass. However, anglers can catch some largemouth bass as well.

Read my comprehensive article on fishing in Franklin North Carolina

Largemouth bass do not like strong currents, the prefer much slower moving water than trout and smallmouth bass. Therefore, the best (and really only) water to fish for largemouth bass in Franklin is in Lake Emory. The lake was created by a dam that was built on the Little Tennessee River, which flows right through town. The lake is narrow with a slow moving current, ideal largemouth bass habitat.

Fishing for largemouth bass in Franklin, NC

Fishing for bass in Lake Emory is pretty straightforward. The fish will be caught around shoreline cover, for the most part, There is not a lot of structure in the middle of the lake. However, there is ample cover along the shore, mostly in the form of fallen trees and brush. There is some aquatic vegetation, but not a ton.

One issue that anglers need to be aware of is water color and height. The Little Tennessee River gets muddy and high fairly quickly after a good rain. It drains farm land upriver. It will take a few days to clear up. Fishing will usually be tough when the water is muddy.

In some other North Carolina lakes, herring have been introduced. This drastically changed the behavior of largemouth bass. In these lakes, they follow the bait schools out in open water, hoping to pick off strays. This kind of makes them lazy. Herring are not present in Lake Emory. Bass act “normal” and feed around cover, which is where the forage is located.

Largemouth bass fishing techniques

There are three techniques that I use when fishing for largemouth bass in Franklin. These are topwater lures, jerkbaits, and soft plastic lures. These are the lures that I like to fish and that I have found to be effective.

topwater lures

Topwater strikes are exciting! It is fun watching a bass blow up on a surface lure. I like Rapala baits, and the Skitter prop and Skitter pop are my two favorites. The Rebel Pop R is another good one, there are a ton of quality baits. Whopper Plopper baits are excellent as well. I prefer these lures that have built in action over the “walk the dog” style lures.

Topwater lures are pretty easy to fish. The angler casts it out close to cover, allows it to settle, then twitches the rod tip. It the case of the Whopper Plopper, it can be retrieved steadily, kind of like a buzzbait. This is done several times, then the lure is retrieved back in and cast to another spot. When the bass takes, it is important to wait until the weight of the fish is felt before setting the hook. I like to sweep the rod tip off to the side to prevent the lure from flying back to the boat.


Jerkbaits are excellent search baits and are a lot of fun to fish. I prefer the Rapala X-Rap and Husky Jerk in size #8 and #10. Olive, white, and yellow perch are my favorite colors. There are certainly plenty of other quality baits as well. They have an erratic action which elicites strikes. Also, they tend to hang up less often.

The lure is cast out close to cover, allowed to sink, and then the rod is twitched sharply and then the rod tip is pointed at the bait. This creates slack in the line and causes the lure to hang there motionless. This very realistically mimics a wounded bait fish. This is repeated halfway back in, then is reeled in and cast back out to a different spot.

soft plastic baits

Soft plastic lures are deadly on largemouth bass and many other species. They are excellent for slowly and thoroughly working a piece of cover. My two favorite soft plastic lures are worms and curly tail grubs. Plastic worms are extremely effective when rigged Texas style and crawled through cover. They are relatively snag free. Dark colors are tough to beat.

Stick worms such as the Senko work very well when wacky rigged. A 5 inch green pumpkin worm is a great all round choice. It is cast out towards cover and allowed to slowly sink, undulating enticingly as it does as. It can be twitched a time or two, but most bites will come as it initially falls. This is an easy bait to fish, strikes are very easy to detect as the bass often just swims off with it.

I also like to fish a 3″ curly tail grub on a 1/8 ounce or 1/4 ounce jig head. Chartreuse is my favorite color. This is a good bait for anglers seeking action as it catches smaller bass along with other species such as smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and more. In most cases I either retrieve slow and steady or hop it off the bottom.

Fly fishing for bass

Anglers can certainly fly fish for largemouth bass! In fact, this is my favorite way to catch them. The tackle and flies are pretty uncomplicated. I like an 8wt rod with a floating line. I use a 7 1/2 foot leader with a 10 or 12 pound tippet. Poppers and deer hair bugs are used most of the time. The fly is cast out, allowed to settle, and popped sharply. Anglers can use large black Wooly Bugger flies to work the water column if they want.

Largemouth bass in the Little Tennessee River

There are some largemouth bass in the Little Tennessee River below the dam. For the most part, they will be found in the slower moving water where there are deep pools. There are several of these spots between the dam and the bridge on Bryson City Road. The same lures will work well, but I really prefer a jerkbait in this stretch of water.

Cliffside Lake

Cliffside Lake is the only other public lake where anglers can catch largemouth bass. It is 20 minutes away on the road to Highlands. It is deep and clear and has trout in it. I like to use a 6″ worm Texas rigged and crawl it through and over fallen tree limbs and other cover.

In conclusion, this article on fishing for largemouth bass in Franklin NC will help anglers catch more fish!

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