CRAPPIE PATTERNS, DEPTHS AND LOCATIONS CHANGING…COLD FRONT CONCERNS
Bass and crappie anglers have been riding high as spring’s first full
week kicked off with great weather. Above average temperatures and light
winds delivered ideal fishing conditions since spring arrived last
Friday but a cold front now in progress may temporarily upset the apple
Fish have really been on the move this week in response to rising
surface temperatures. Crappie anglers have been using a variety of
methods across Kentucky Lake this week and in a variety of depths and
From slow trolling multi-pole rigs to casting the banks, fishermen are
trying just about every technique known to locate and catch fish. It’s
that time of year when just about all the techniques produce on any
given day too.
While the most fish have been taken up Big Sandy this week in the New
Hope and north of Country Junction, a few boats were vertical fishing
jigs around midrange stakebeds with mediocre results. There have also
been a few still clinging to deep drop-offs in the main lake where
depths of 20 feet have given up some scattered fish at times as anglers
tightlined minnows and jigs.
Also emerging is the shallow water pattern by anglers casting curly tail
grubs and road runner style jigs around shallow shorelines and stakebeds.
Some are using slip bobbers to regulate their depth around shallow
Surface temperatures this week warmed to the 60 to 62 degree range in
the upper ends of bays and creeks where shallow water areas heated up
after long hours of sunlight. Main lake areas are a bit cooler with
readings in the 55 to 56 degree range.
Lake levels have been falling slowly this week and projected to be in
the 355.7 range at Kentucky Dam this weekend. Upstream in the New
Johnsonville area lake stages will be in the 355.8 range.
TVA’s curve is scheduled to begin the climb toward summer pool on April
1. The target date is May 1 each year. However, the reservoir has been
about a foot above normal the last week or two for this time of year.
Water color has improved this week and the overall reservoir is in good
shape. The muddy water present in some areas last week has disappeared
and even the main river channel has cleared.
The uninvited cold front now underway with nasty north winds will rob
some of the gains made earlier in the week. March came in like a lion
and it appears it had one more growl left as temps are expected to fall
below freezing Friday night.
No doubt surface temps will backslide this weekend. However, moderate
weather is in the forecast for next week so a slow rebound will begin
And what will this do to the spawning timetable for bass and crappie?
Odds are both will have a mood swing for a day or two until winds shift
back to the south. The first day or two after a cold front usually means
high skies and a rising barometer, not to mention a nagging northeast
Crappie were scattered for most anglers this week but headed shallow in
some areas. Male crappie have been slow to head shallow and take on
their darkening change in appearance, an indication that hormonal
changes are sluggish getting started.
All indications point toward spawning phases being another week to ten
days away as to peak. The preferred range is 62 to 66 degrees with some
stability in the weather.
Meanwhile, crappie in the Paris Landing area have been stubborn for most
anglers who have tried a potpourri of presentations with limited
results. Fish have been reluctant to relate to structure in this sector.
Up Big Sandy the trolling techniques have scored well as crappie were
staging in depths of 9 to 13 feet and suspending in open water before
making a blitz to spawning territory. Last week the fish seemed to move
out of the West Sandy area and migrate toward the upper Big Sandy basin.
Bass fishermen were landing some hefty ones this week. Topping the list
was a trophy largemouth taken last Saturday by Union City angler Bill
Lawrence that tipped the scales at a whopping 11 pounds, 2 ounces. He
caught the fish on a spinnerbait around a shallow stakebed in Big Sandy
when dingy water was present.
Crankbaits on gravel and rocky points have produced this week as have
jig and craw combos. Some sloping points off the main banks are holding
bass too as are ledges nearby.
Some boats are laying out away from the main shoreline and tossing
crankbaits, Alabama and Carolina rigs or working Strike King’s Red-eye
shad and Rattle Traps in shallow pockets and around mud banks.
A lot of fish appear to be laying out away from the shallow banks and
staging in slightly deeper water at times.
As April arrives anglers are hoping the odds for stable weather
increase. Most everyone is ready to wave goodbye to the roller coaster
month of March.
Better keep the coveralls and sunscreen nearby. You never know which one
you’ll need this time of year!
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.