CHANGING WEATHER HAS ANGLERS RIDING ROLLER COASTER
It has been a beautiful week for fishermen testing the waters of
Kentucky Lake. Most deserved it after last week’s cold front had anglers
digging deep in the closet for more clothes.
A portion of last week seemed like winter; a portion of this week seemed
like summer! There’s a tint in the treetops as some black gums are
fading toward red and the scaly barks on the verge of a yellow parade.
What a difference a few days can make! Monday’s high was 30 degrees
above last Saturday’s high and a couple days this week saw a record high
temp broken or tied in some areas.
Warm days and light winds have been kind to fishermen this week who
tested the waters for bass and crappie. Action improved in both
Surface temperatures fell in the aftermath of last week’s cold front and
even dipped down to the 68 degree mark a day or two before rebounding
slightly when summer weather slipped in the door. The last few days have
seen daily temps rise into the mid 80’s but the weatherman says cooler
conditions are coming as the weekend arrives.
Water temps have been starting out the mornings around the 70 degree
mark and climbing to around 73 at midday. Another cool snap will see
surface temps fall several degrees by this weekend or early next week as
north winds are on the way.
Lake levels continue to sleep around he low ebb mark of 355 at Kentucky
Dam whereas upstream around New Johnsonville readings are slightly lower
at 354.8. Water color remains clear all over the reservoir.
Crappie seemed to have a positive response to the cooler surface temps
as a few larger fish were showing up in the 6 to 8 foot depths compared
to last week at this time. Cloud cover is helping the shallow bite as
the fish are somewhat spooky due to the clear water conditions.
Days with a little wind have helped as well. When stagnant winds arrive
the fish seem much more finicky.
Several fish are relating to shallow structure and big numbers of small
fish are still lingering around stakebeds but an occasional big fish is
there as well.
While most boats are vertical fishing 1/16 to 1/8 ounce jigs those
backing off and casting weedless grubs or jigs and minnows beneath slip
bobbers are also finding the technique effective. Backing off the
shallow spots and casting doesn’t disturb the finicky fish as much as
the boat being right on top of them when water is clear.
Some boats are still stalking main lake ledges and probing the deep
sides of drop-offs or working the break itself while tightline both
minnows and jigs. A few fish have been caught in the 12 to 15 foot
depths but fish there are quite scattered.
Anglers should see a few larger fish moving up as once surface temps
fall into the mid to upper 60’s it seems more keeper size fish blitz
toward shallow structure. A lot of shad have moved up to shallow bays
and flats the last few days.
Although a lot of small fish are still being caught, the ratio of keeper
size fish to small fish seemed to improve some since last week’s cold
front lowered surface temps.
Bass fishermen have been tossing a variety of lures in a variety of
places. The grass pattern continues to produce as anglers are tossing
weedless baits over the matted vegetation and catching fish. Others are
working the parameters or open gaps with top water jerk baits.
Some boats are backing away from the thick shallow grass and focusing on
the deeper, fragmented patches of vegetation with such lures as Texas
rigged worms, spinnerbaits and suspending jerk baits.
Working the main lake ledges and humps is still appealing to some
boaters who are sticking with the summer pattern. Tossing jig and craw
combos, big Texas rigged worms in the green pumpkin pepper colors have
worked as have big deep diving crankbaits, swim baits and other midrange
baits such as Strike King’s Red-Eye Shad.
Schools of shad were roaming over both main lake flats and up into the
backs of bays this week. Baitfish seemed to be moving more and anglers
could see some schooling activity in the days ahead as bass push the
bait up on top of sandbars or corral them toward the backs of big bays,
especially where vegetation is present.
Shad colored variations of medium running crankbaits along gravel banks
and points is a pattern that’s overdue and could emerge quickly.
Low lake levels are exposing a few shallow stumps and rocky banks.
Boaters are urged to use caution and continue to pay close attention to
There’s a lot of shallow spots far away from shore this time of year
where boaters can get in trouble. Damage to your lower unit and prop can
play havoc on a fishing trip so better beware!
Wise are the boaters who resist the temptation to take those shortcuts
over main lake flats this time of year.
Although fall fishing is usually the beneficiary of stable weather, it
appears anglers will again face changing conditions as the weekend
nears. Better keep the overcoat and sunscreen handy. You never know what
one you’ll need these days!
Also check out our past:
Kentucky Lake Fishing Reports
Steve McCadams is one of the nation's best known Crappie Fishermen
and a full time resident of Paris, Tennessee. Steve is also a
professional hunting and fishing guide here in the Paris Landing area.