This page brought to you by:
Steve Hale and John Wainscott from TN December 2016
Kentucky Lake Crappie Fishing
DANCE CONTINUES FOR WINTER ANGLERS
Play it again Sam! And for winter crappie fishermen on Kentucky Lake the
piano man is doing just that.
Here it is mid-February and the strange winter weather pattern
continues. This week reflected the scenario that has been underway since
late November; a day or two of cool wind and chilly mornings but several
days sandwiched in there with above average temps more akin to fall than
Anglers are more than willing to forfeit a day or two during the week if
it means the rest bring unseasonably warm weather and calm winds. No
complaints about the lack of cold conditions from bass and crappie
fishermen these days.
Looks like the dance will resume this weekend and hit a high note early
next week too. All weathermen across the region are crowing about next
weekís forecast as temps are forecast to reach the 70-degree mark by
Monday! How Ďbout them apples?
Just about everyone has favorable comments about the winter fishing
scene these days. Most cannot believe how mild it has been these last
few months or just how many fishermen have been out on the lake lately.
There was a time when only a token amount of boats would be seen at
local boat ramps during the winter season. Nowadays itís a different
story. Lots of folks are hitting the waterways as though it was fall.
Bass clubs are holding tournaments throughout December, January and
February which was almost unheard of a few years ago.
In the past if you witnessed cluster of boats this time of year it was
from dedicated sauger fishermen who were known to brave the elements as
they searched the riverbank for the rattlesnake of fishes.
From my personal perspective Iíve seen more fishing boats on Kentucky
Lake this winter than ever before. Both bass and crappie anglers have
been out in force. Mix extended spells of warm weather with the rumor
that fish are biting and itís a recipe for even couch potatoes to
venture out and wet a line.
Bass and crappie fishermen have been doing quite well and it doesnít
take long for the word to spread when such things are happening.
Just this week surface temperatures have flirted with the 50 to 52
degree range. Thatís most unusual for mid-February. Many veteran anglers
can easily recall bays being frozen over this time of year and boat
ramps iced over and too slick to launch when stubborn piles of snow
Fast forward to present day conditions and itís a bit hard to believe
just how nice the winter months have been for fishermen here on the big
Lake levels this week fell a few inches and the reservoir is now back
down to the winter pool mark. TVA forecast lake levels to be 354.3 this
weekend in the New Johnsonville area. Downstream at Kentucky Dam the
elevation will be in the 354.7 range.
Water color has been good most all winter with a slight stain in shallow
bays but relatively clear in the main lake portions.
Nice stringers of crappie have been taken lately by anglers working
midrange stakebeds and brushpiles. Depths of 6 to 12 feet have been
Those targeting deeper drop-offs have scored too. Tightlining jigs and
minnows on the deep sides of main lake ledges have produced decent
numbers for anglers stalking the 18 to 22 foot depth range at times.
Overall it has been quite productive for crappie fishermen applying a
wide variety of techniques and working different depth ranges. Some
boats have been spider rigging too and their multi-pole buffet has
worked just fine as the slow moving presentations have appealed.
Several limits have been taken. By the way, Tennessee anglers are
reminded that the new creel limit on crappie takes effect on March 1---a
reduction from the present day thirty down to twenty. And, the 10-inch
minimum length limit remains unchanged.
Bass anglers continue to toss crawfish and shad colored variations from
their crankbait arsenal. Some have used chrome and loud colored Rattle
Trap style baits with positive results too while targeting shallow boat
docks and piers.
Others have stayed with a gravel or rocky point type pattern and done
well at times. And, there are some boats working ledges near the mouths
of big bays and sloping points that fall off into the main river channel
in hopes of tying into a rusty smallmouth now and then.
Some hefty fish have been taken too. Anglers report landing several fish
this winter eclipsing the 8 and 9 pound mark! However, while landing
some hefty fish, anglers indicate they are not seeing the numbers of
small fish like they have in times past.
Meanwhile, folks are talking about an early spring and perhaps the
biological clock being somewhat ahead of itself as to spawning phases
for both bass and crappie.
It may be a bit premature to assume spawning will be early this year as
spring weather here has a way of reversing itself, especially during the
unpredictable month of March.
One thing some of us veteran anglers have learned here is that the most
predictable thing about March is that it is unpredictable! You just
never know what will happen so itís best to keep the snow mobile suit
and the suntan lotion with you in the boat; you never know which one
youíll be needing on any given day!
Just how long this honeymoon of mild weather will last is anyoneís
guess. Until the music stops anglers will keep dancing!
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.