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February 8, 2012
WINTER WEATHER RETURNS…FISHING SCENE FEELS CHILL
Winter weather returned this week, giving anglers a dose of reality and
reminding them what season it really is. Cold northwest winds and
falling temperatures entered the picture Wednesday and the weatherman
indicates temps will be below average as the weekend approaches. Cool
conditions are expected to linger into next week.
Kentucky Lake anglers have been spoiled the last few months. It has been
one of the warmest winters in recent memory with unseasonably warm
temperatures and light winds working in favor of fishermen since way
back in November.
It appears the honeymoon with warm weather will come to a temporary halt
as approaching nights could see temps fall into the 20-degree range
later this weekend with daily highs forecasted to be in the low 40’s.
However, things could rebound next week once the front loses its grip.
Until then, anglers may have to reevaluate their outings or put on some
extra layers of clothing.
Surface temperatures at midweek were in the 50 to 51 degree range, which
is above normal for this time of year. Expect a drop back into the mid
40’s in the days ahead once cold nights arrive.
Water color has had some stain throughout the upper Big Sandy but
relatively clear elsewhere. Current has been present in the main
Tennessee River channel all week as TVA has been pulling water on a
Lake levels have fallen gradually all week and are expected to be in the
355.3 range at Kentucky Dam as the weekend approaches. Upstream in the
New Johnsonville Steam Plant sector elevation will be in the 355.5
range, which is down several inches from last week at this time.
Crappie have continued to hit good with some nice stringers taken
earlier this week in midrange depths. Typical winter patterns usually
have fish relating to deep ledges in the main lake area around depths of
18 to 25 feet but that has not been the case this year.
Most stringers are coming from 7 to 12 foot depths. A few fish have
related to slightly deeper structure at times but no doubt the warmer
surface temperatures have attracted shad into the midrange depths, a
comfort zone the baitfish have held on to since November.
Usually gizzard and threadfin shad move into deeper depths to avoid
quick temperatures changes during winter months. There have not been any
shad kills this winter but that could occur next week if baitfish linger
too long in shallow water and cold nights bring quick change, a scenario
in the making if forecasts prove true.
Anglers should see crappie move deeper in the days ahead once surface
temps begin to fall and baitfish move deeper. Patterns have ranged from
vertical presentations of jigs around manmade fish attractors to spider
rigs and casting grubs on light spinning tackle.
Bass fishermen have chalked up nice catches lately as well. Some dandy
largemouth and a few smallmouth have been taken.
Fall patterns have held up well into the winter months as anglers
continue to toss shad and crawfish colored crankbaits around rock points
and gravel banks at times. The popular Alabama rig continues to produce
too as anglers work the swim bait style grubs on the multi-hook
presentation that mimics a school of baitfish.
Other produces have been Carolina rigged craws and jig and pig combos
fished on sloping sandbars that empty into the main channel. Current has
been a factor and worked in favor of anglers at times.
A few sauger were showing up as the current along the main channel also
worked in their favor. Some boats were landing a few beneath the Paris
Landing Bridge and upstream around Danville and toward New Johnsonville
and the mouth of Duck River.
Stripers were being caught too by anglers tossing bigger swim baits
around bridge piers as the current kept baitfish in the submerged
It appears winter fishermen will now contend with some winter weather
that will chase away the fall conditions that have lingered for several
months. Anglers can’t complain as it has been a most unusual winter thus
far and odds are mild conditions will return again soon.
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.