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March 21, 2013
SPRING FISHING OFF TO STUBBORN START
Kentucky Lake anglers have had to battle a rash of cold temperatures and
annoying winds this week. Spring slipped in the door on Wednesday but
winter weather has been reluctant to loosen its grip. Apparently the
weatherman didnít get the memo.
Below average temperatures and bone chilling northwest winds teamed up
for a stubborn start to the spring fishing scene. Despite challenging
conditions some pretty decent stringers of crappie have been caught and
stories of big bass catches continue to come in.
Surface temperatures did climb slightly last weekend and have hovered
around the 50 to 52 degree range but will likely fall back some as the
weekend approaches due to the arrival of another uninvited cold front.
Lake levels are pretty close to normal for this time of year and rose a
few inches in the aftermath of some thunderstorms Monday. Elevation at
Kentucky Dam will be in the 355.5 range this weekend. Upstream at New
Johnsonville the reservoir is a bit higher with readings in the 356
Water color is showing some stain throughout the Paris Landing sector
but still good for fishing. Up Big Sandy muddy water was entering the
picture at midweek as a lot of runoff from Mondayís thunderstorms was
influencing that area and portions of West Sandy.
Crappie catches have been reported this week by anglers working the main
lake drop-offs in the Paris Landing area where deep depths have been
holding some fish due to cold surface temperatures. Some nice fish have
been taken in depths of 20 to 25 feet and a few even deeper at times.
Fish should begin to move up in the days ahead and occupy the top sides
of the ledges or relate closer to the shelf itself. No doubt the cool
conditions have kept schools of shad riding it out in deeper venues and
the crappie have been following their forage.
Last weekís Crappie USA tournamentís winning stringer was taken up Big
Sandy near Country Junction by anglers long lining jigs where suspended
crappie where hanging out in midrange depths. The hefty stringer had
seven fish that averaged over two pounds each with the big fish tipping
the scales at 2.63 pounds!
Other patterns such as drifting and spider rigging with multip-pole
presentations have been fair producers as they worked the deeper river
channels near the power lines and in West Sandy. Generally speaking,
crappie have been scattered but given the nasty weather that isnít too
unusual as most anglers have been at the mercy of the wind.
A few fish have been taken from midrange stakebeds and brushpiles in
depths of 8 to 13 feet but fish there have been few and far in-between.
Vertical presentations of 1/16 to 1/8-ounce jigs have produced a few
when tipped with minnows or Berkley crappie nibbles but the best action
there is yet to come. Productivity in the shallow to midrange structure
will change quickly next week if warm weather arrives and sends surface
temps into the mid 50ís.
Baits of choice for a lot of the deeper patterns have been live minnows.
Jigs have worked too with a few popular color combos getting attention
such as blue/chartreuse, red/chartreuse, dark green/chartreuse,
purple/clear and some mixed glitter tube skirts.
Crappie are still in their prespawn phase and are behind where they were
last year at this time as to their transition routes. While a few fish
will begin entering bays and migrating toward shallow flats look for
them to ride out the cool weather in deeper venues until a warm up
Hefty stringers of bass continue to be caught by anglers tossing Alabama
rigs, suspending jerk baits, and crawfish and shad colored crankbaits.
While a few fish have been taken by anglers working those rocky points
and gravel banks with crankbaits and suspending jerk baits, most of the
bigger stringers are coming from off shore humps or feeder creeks that
empty into deeper water at the mouth of large bays.
Schools of bass have been staging in the deeper areas for several weeks
and relating close to baitfish schools in the same spots. While a few
fish have been taken on Rattle Traps most of the credit has gone to big
deep diving crankbaits, suspending jerk baits and the popular Alabama
Most tournament wins have required stringers to have an average weight
over four pounds and several have been in excess of five pounds. And,
several big largemouth have been caught that in the 7 to 8 pound range
Those deeper patterns will hold up another week or so until warm weather
sends bass toward shallow gravel banks, roadbeds, and mudflats in the
backs of creeks.
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.