TROLLING TECHNIQUES WORK ON WEST SANDY CRAPPIE
March Madness continues to throw curves in the direction of Kentucky
Lake anglers who are yearning for springís arrival. Their wait is over
as the season officially changes today on the calendar.
Riding the roller coaster of weather this week is what most anglers have
done. Theyíve had to use sunscreen one day and dig out the coveralls the
next. If you donít like the weather just stick around; it will change.
Seems March weather is iffy. Always has been; always will be.
After starting the week out with above average temperatures---the
mercury climbed to 80 on Monday---winterís last week reared its ugly
face with cold rain and northeast winds before officially letting go.
Temps dropped about 30 degrees at midweek and chilled the spirits of
fishermen wishing spring would get here and stay.
It appears the weekend forecast is a good one as warmer temps will
arrive with no rain.
Surface temperatures responded to the warm spell earlier this week and
jumped to 54 to 56 degrees in the backs of some bays on Tuesday but lost
a few notches at midweek. Main lake temperatures are a bit cooler and
resting in the 51 to 52 degree range.
Dingy water color remains across most of the reservoir but it has
improved in many areas this week as falling lake levels pulled some of
the muddy water out of backwater zones. The main Tennessee River channel
is still quite dingy and strong current is still present but has
diminished since last week.
Lake levels had been falling slowly all week but the reservoir crested
Wednesday and has actually risen a few inches since then. TVAís forecast
for the weekend indicates a reading of 355.8 at Kentucky Dam; upstream
at New Johnsonville projections are 356.2.
Bass fishing has been pretty good with some hefty largemouth taken by
anglers tossing crankbaits around gravel points, roadbeds, rocky points
and even some sloping mud bars. Popular color choices have been
black/chartreuse, firetiger, crawfish, and some fluorescent orange and
red variations due to the dingy water color.
Some anglers were playing the current in places and fishing rip-rap or
island points while others are beating the banks and also casting
suspending crankbaits, jig and craw combos, along with both Carolina
rigs and Alabama rigs.
Several fish in the 4-pound plus range have been taken lately. Last
weekendís Cabelaís Collegiate bass tournament out of Paris Landing had
an 8.56 pound largemouth for big fish.
Crappie fishing has produced mixed reports. There are the haveís and
have notís. Most of the success stories are coming from West Sandy where
anglers are slow trolling multi-pole spider rigs or pulling long lines
with Road Runners or curly tail jigs.
From Springville pumphouse toward the Britton Ford area and on toward
the mouth of West Sandy is where most of the crappie have been caught
Anglers fishing further north toward Paris Landing have not fared well
as some traditional areas such as Swamp Creek and the Elkhorn basin
within the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge, which reopened to access
on Monday, have not produced. Those zones should begin producing soon,
Action has been slow on main lake ledges too as the deep drop-offs in
Big Sandy have not paid dividends. Usually the ledges or flats of 16 to
20 feet are productive in mid to late March before fish begin
transitioning toward prespawning areas but it appears the combination of
muddy water and rising lake levels have had an adverse effect on this
The lionís share of crappie have been suspended and not relating to
structure the last week or so. Anglers trolling the West Sandy sector
are covering a lot of water and with a variety of baits set at different
While a few boats are vertical fishing stakebeds and brushpiles most
have reported limited results. However, as surface temps warm, lake
levels settle down and water color clears anglers should see improvement
in midrange to shallow areas in the next week to ten days.
Bank fishermen are still catching crappie at Springville pumphouse so
all the fish arenít deep. Several stringers have been taken this week at
the discharge area near the boat ramp. And, a few success stories have
also come in from crappie anglers fishing behind the levee in
Springville bottom itself.
Late March always sees a lot of movement from both bass and crappie.
Changing weather and wind are big factors in the whereabouts and
Although some anglers are enjoying success while adjusting and
perfecting the various trolling techniques, for most it has been a slow
start in their search for finicky fish. Spring has sprung!
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.