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February 18, 2012
FISHING SCENE SLOWLY REBOUNDS FROM COOL SNAP
After a week of winter weather the fishing scene on Kentucky Lake is
slowly rebounding as temperatures moderate and winds subside. Crappie
and bass anglers were back out in force at midweek as temps climbed back
into the low to mid 50’s range.
Last week’s winter weather brought a temporary hiatus to good fishing as
anglers had been chalking up some pretty good stringers of bass and
crappie. However, cold conditions slipped in the door as temps were down
into the upper teens a night or two and struggled to reach the upper
30’s during the day, a drastic change to the mild winter that had
dominated the outdoor scene.
Since last week surface temperatures dropped to 42 degrees, which was
down some 8 or 9 degrees from a reading of 51 recorded recently. The
cooler weather and falling surface temp seemed to curtail activity for
many crappie anglers who had enjoyed success in midrange depths lately.
At midweek several boats were out but reported sluggish activity. A few
boats found some scattered keepers relating to the deeper ledges on the
main lake in Big Sandy where fish were holding in 20 feet around
submerged stumps and brush.
For anglers working the 7 to 12 foot zone it appeared the bite had
fallen off. It’s likely crappie moved back to some deeper venues as the
falling surface temps likely pulled baitfish to comfort zones deeper
than the week before.
Boats working the West Sandy sector around Britton Ford and Springville
pumphouse reported declining catches this week as did anglers working
the mouth of Big Sandy in the Paris Landing area.
It appears moderate weather will return to the forecast in the week
ahead as temps are expected to hold around the low to mid 50’s with only
a night or two of cool weather predicted. A cold front will make a brief
visit late this weekend but temps are forecast to rebound early next
week. That should see crappie slowly move back to midrange depths in the
Anglers are still reporting big numbers of small crappie in their catch.
It appears a strong year class exists that is slightly short of the
three year mark, a threshold when Kentucky Lake crappie cross the
10-inch length according to fisheries biologists.
Although the bite has been off this past week things should continue to
improve as weather patterns moderate. And, anglers have reason for
optimism as that abundance of short fish that are just shy of the legal
length limit now should grow in the months ahead and fall into the
keeper category by spring.
Water color is in pretty good shape across the reservoir with a slight
stain showing up in the upper Big Sandy basin but elsewhere around the
Tennessee River channel and its tributary bays water color is clearing.
Lake levels are forecasts to fall slowly as the weekend approaches and
rest around the 355.3 range at Kentucky Dam and upstream at New
Johnsonville. The reservoir was falling slowly this week but rain has
entered the picture on some days and that could see a slight rise take
Bass fishermen also felt the grip of last week’s cold snap as the
shallow gravel banks and rock points fell off in productivity. No doubt
the drastic change is weather and surface temps curtailed what had been
a good spree of activity during winter months that are not normally
known for good bass fishing.
Topping the list of presentations and patterns continues to be the
famous Alabama rig. Bass fishermen are having success tossing the
multi-bait presentation that mimics a school of bait fish and triggers
strikes from bass.
Several lure companies are now selling the rig packaged with five
separate wire and swivels, which is the standard anatomy of the rig but
here in Tennessee that is illegal. Anglers here cannot fish it with more
than three hooks or baits on a rig---Kentucky allows the five hook
presentation---unless the hooks are size 8 or smaller.
For a video and explanation of the regulation on Alabama rigs go to the
TWRA website at www.tnwildlife.org. The agency has been inundated with
calls from bass fishermen seeking clarification of the rig and its use.
The language of the regulation is still somewhat confusing to the public
and may require further review by TWRA if recent inquiries are any
Meanwhile, Kentucky Lake bass fishermen are still catching fish on a
variety of crankbaits in the shad and crawfish variations, along with
jig and pig combos and Carolina rigs fished with crawfish imitations.
Sauger fishermen have had some slow current in the main river channel
the last week or two which normally works in their favor. However, not
many success stories are coming in as the fish have evaded anglers
Watch for the overall fishing scene to improve by next week if moderate
temps return and winds allow anglers access to their favorite spots.
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.