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SPRING PUSHES WINTER OFF ANGLERSí CALENDAR
Spring officially arrived Thursday, pushing a mean and stubborn winter
off the calendar for Kentucky Lake fishermen who are hoping the weather
changes in their favor. Most of March has been ruthless.
Warm sunny days indeed escorted the change of seasons as anglers will
have a nice warm up going into the weekend across the region with temps
expected to be in the upper 60ís for a few days before another cold
front enters the picture next week. Donít toss away that overcoat and
coveralls just yet!
This weekís fishing scene had another mixture of weather conditions that
dealt some mean blows to fishermen anxious to get out and test the water
for bass and crappie. Topping the list of challenges have been high
winds that pretty much dictated where boaters could go. Added to the
gale force breezes have been some bitter cold temperatures to start off
the week but things are moderating and a rapid warm-up is in progress.
Surface temperatures across Kentucky Lake have pretty much stayed in the
46 to 49 degree range this week, influenced by cold nights and bone
chilling north winds. Some moderation began at midweek but only rarely
have some areas eclipsed the 50-degree mark for short periods of the
Anglers can expect surface temps to climb into the low 50ís this
weekend, a situation that should improve the overall bite for both bass
and crappie anglers as cold water has dominated the fishing scene all
Lake levels are pretty much normal as the reservoir is back down near
itís low ebb of winter pool. Lake levels will remain low until TVAís
curve begins reservoir filling on April 1st each year. A slow and
gradual increase in lake elevations begins then but projections are
always at the mercy of heavy rains and runoff.
Projections for the weekend at Kentucky Dam will be 354.9. Upstream at
New Johnsonville Steam Plant TVA projects the elevation to be in the
Water color has improved since last week for many sections of Big Sandy
that had been a bit muddy. A good stain is present across most of the
Big Sandy and Paris Landing area and even the main Tennessee River
channel is now sporting a good color for fishing.
Crappie continued to be scattered as most anglers battling adverse
conditions of high winds and cold fronts are hoping the warm-up underway
will increase surface temperatures and stimulate movement from sluggish
fish toward some prespawn areas.
Most boats have been working main lake ledges and concentrating their
efforts toward deep drop-offs where depths of 18 to 22 feet have given
up a few fish. However, it has been a one-here; one there scenario.
Anglers are not finding any concentrations of fish despite working some
good structure along the deep sides of ledges where the fish ought to
Scattered reports of fish taken in midrange depths of 9 to 12 feet have
come in from a few boaters back in the larger bays. Tipping minnows over
brushpiles has produced a few fish but no big numbers have been
Same goes for a few boaters working shallow stakebeds while casting
grubs and jigs beneath slip-bobbers. The shallow bite has not been on, a
likely result of cold surface temperatures that have lingered throughout
the month and kept baitfish out deeper. Watch for that to change quickly
in the next week to ten days.
The overall crappie scenario has been a bit tough for a variety of
anglers who have implemented several techniques. From slow spider
rigging to long line drifts and straight bottom bumping tightline
methods, the fish have been finicky.
If youíve been having tough luck out there youíre not alone! March
Madness has been hard on Kentucky Lake crappie fishermen thus far.
Bass fishermen have struggled as well. High winds and cold fronts have
greeted anglers the majority of March and catch rates have diminished.
It has been mean and tough to hold the boat around open water spots.
With the warm-up underway surface temperatures are rising and that
should see a significant improvement for the shallow water bite in the
days ahead. Although gravel points and shorelines havenít been too
productive lately, watch for that to change as the weekend approaches.
Tossing crawfish colored crankbaits is the norm this time of year around
the abundant rock and gravel points and sloping sandbars. Also, roadbeds
and rip-rap normally produce as fish move up.
The last week or two boats have also worked main lake ledges and humps
along the main river channel with deep diving crankbaits, Alabama rigs
and Caroline rigged craws in hopes of finding those winter patterns of
staging bass in deep confines.
March is a month when a lot of movement takes place for both bass and
crappie as the fish transition from winter hideouts to prespawn phase.
With the warm-up underway watch for activity to improve as the fish
respond to slightly warmer surface temperatures.
Another cold front is expected early next week, an unfortunate forecast
at a time when a consistent spell of warm weather is needed, but it
appears the cold snap will be brief and allow a quick rebound by later
Things are getting better but March weather has many faces. Anglers have
seen most of the ugly ones lately and deserve a smile in the form of
warm days and light winds. Spring has finally 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.