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Brought to you by: Fishtale Lodge
November 5, 2009
 

High water is dominating the fishing scene this week as Kentucky Lake has gone on a tear. Anglers could almost watch lake levels rise while they were fishing; thatís how fast the reservoir has jumped the last few days.

Itís unusual for lake levels to rise this fast during late fall. Normally TVA is lowering the reservoir in preparation for storage capacity during winter drawdown. However, heavy rains across the region have delivered a lot of runoff and the Mississippi River is somewhat above flood stage.

Once the Mississippi River reaches flood stage TVAís discharge is dictated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and this week not much water was allowed to pass through Kentucky Dam. The scenario---heavy rains and runoff and TVAís inability to release water---combined to deliver rapid increases in lake levels.

Presently, lake levels continue to rise and TVA has revised its forecast daily but projections for now show elevation at Kentucky Dam will be 361.6 going into the weekend. Upstream at New Johnsonville readings will be in the 361.5 range.

Those readings are up some five feet from a week ago and about 2 Ĺ feet above summer pool readings. Normal elevation for this time of year would be in the 355 range or even a little lower.

Surface temps are holding in the 59 to 62 degree range for the second week in a row.

Sunny days and moderate temperatures have been nice to anglers this week. It appears more nice weather is in the weekly forecast as temperatures are predicted to be in the mid to upper 60ís.

Despite the dramatic change in lake levels crappie continue to hit pretty good, although a couple of mornings delivered high winds that limited anglers as to fishing spots.

Main lake ledges are still holding fish that seemed to have stayed put thus far as to location. However, anglers have to let out a lot more line to reach those deep sides of the drop-off.

Several crappie are residing in the 20 to 25 foot range at this time and relating to structure. A few fish have been on the top sides of ledges but seem to be favoring the deeper side of the break.

Vertical fishing jigs or double hook bottom bumping rigs have worked well. Live minnows are appealing as are red/white and blue/chartreuse jigs.

Some nice slabs have been taken in the 1 Ĺ to 2-pound range from the deeper areas.

Normally, rising lake levels scatter fish and have a tendency to see fish move toward shallow areas as bait fish move up. While a few fish have moved up the midrange depths of 9 to 14 feet have only given up scattered fish from stakebeds and brushpiles.

A few good fish are there but anglers fishing midrange structure have to make a lot of stops before adding numbers to their cooler. That could change in the next few days however as the longer the water stays up the more likely crappie are to move shallow.

Bass have been on the move and were schooling on main lake flats and back in bays where shad were roaming. Some nice surface action was taking place as fish busted topwater and shared the feeding frenzy with white bass.

Tossing chrome and blue colored Rattle-Traps and shallow running crankbaits were working well as were some jerk baits and assorted topwater lures.

At the same time spinnerbaits have produced when fish over grassbeds. It appears a lot of bass have moved up in the last few days to very shallow areas in pursuit of roaming shad schools.

Right now shoreline habitat is inundated with water and while trees, bushes, and shallow grass is appealing, a lot of the visible cover has gotten too much water too quick. That situation will change rapidly if warm weather lingers so watch for a lot of shallow shoreline action in the days ahead and you can get all the spring tackle back out and toss everything in the tackle box.

Although TVA is not projecting a crest just yet, odds are it will happen soon and anglers can expect a rapid drop in lake levels to occur, barring any more heavy rains.
 
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Steve McCadams
 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.
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