Brought to you by: Fishtale Lodge
April 8, 2010
CRAPPIE ENTER SPAWNING PHASE…BASS NOT FAR BEHIND
Crappie on Kentucky Lake entered the active spawning phase this week
after several days of warm weather pushed surface temps into the 64 to
66 degree range.
Once water warms into the 62 to 66 degree range and stays there for a
few days crappie make a blitz toward shallow to midrange depths, seeking
structure which appeals to their needs.
That is the scenario right now as fished really moved up this week.
Although lake levels have been falling, the fish have stair-stepped
their way up toward spawning territory.
Lake levels this weekend will be 357 at New Johnsonville and 357.2 at
Kentucky Dam. Those readings are down some two feet from last week at
this time, which is a significant change in elevation for a reservoir
Surface temps at midweek reached the 64 to 66 degree range in the Paris
Landing area and were slightly warmer up Big Sandy where shallow,
stained water warmed quicker. However, the falling lake levels have
pulled a lot of fish out of the upper end of Big Sandy since last week
at this time.
Depths of 9 to 12 feet have been holding good numbers of fish. Although
not many fish have been taken along shallow shorelines thus far that
could change dramatically in the days ahead. And, there are still a lot
of fish lingering on drop-offs in the main lake in depths of 17 to 20
feet but watch for that to change too as fish are on the move.
Several crappie were caught the last few days around manmade fish
attractors such as stakebeds and brushpiles that were void of fish last
week at this time. And, anglers trolling and drifting long lines with
curly tail grubs and Road Runner style jigs are still catching fish on
midrange flats both on the main lake and back in large bays.
Since the spawn is in its early phase a lot of fish are still staging in
midrange depths before moving up to spawn in the days ahead. Male
crappie have moved toward shallow areas ahead of the females, a pattern
that normally occurs in the early stages of the spawn as the females
hang off the banks and wait for ideal conditions.
Unlike their gamefish cousins such as bass and bluegill, crappie need
structure to broadcast their eggs. Brush, stumps, buck bushes and the
variety of manmade cover attract the fish during this annual ritual.
Bass and bluegill will fan out craters or dishes in shallow grassbeds
and sandy gravel substrates to deposit their eggs but crappie prefer
Popular areas this week have been the entire Sulphur Well basin and
Swamp Creek, along with the flats near the power lines in Big Sandy. A
few fish were also taken around New Hope and Country Junction but
numbers were down from a week ago in that sector.
Down around the Paris Landing area some good stringers have come from
Cypress Creek, Eagle, and around the mouth of Big Sandy.
High winds have challenged anglers the last few days, limiting boat
activity on the open water. A few days gusts in excess of 20 mph had
whitecaps even in backwater areas.
It appears moderate weather will resume after a short cool snap that may
curtail activity for a day or so. The weekend ahead looks good.
Meanwhile, watch for action to continue improving around shallow to
midrange structure all across Big Sandy and West Sandy. Techniques such
as casting jigs under slip bobbers and vertical fishing jigs over
stakebeds and brushpiles will be popular this week.
A variety of color combos are producing ranging from the popular
red/chartreuse to black/chartreuse, blue/pearl, green with red glitter,
and motor oil with red glitter, just to name a few.
Water color is clear in the main lake but after thunderstorms on
Wednesday night a little stain entered the upper ends of bays. Some
dingy water stirred up by this week’s high winds is still present in
Expect the spawning phases to continue for another week or two but
generally speaking, there’s a week to ten days in there that seems to be
peak time. A few fish will spawn in late April and early May but look
for the bulk of the blitz to occur in the next few days and perhaps
extending into late next week.
Bass are already moving up into shallow weedbeds and pockets as some
large females have been observed in the last few days. Already preparing
to fan their beds, some big sows are residing right on the shoreline.
Although this week seemed to see lighter stringers caught compared to
last week, there were still plenty of success stories from anglers
tossing assorted crankbaits, spinnerbaits, Carolina rigged lizards, and
suspended jerk baits.
Falling lake levels this week altered some spots for anglers who swapped
shallow flats and pockets for deeper gravel banks and points. As soon as
the lake stabilizes look for the shallow bite to really turn on.
Topwater and floating worms will be popular in the days ahead as buck
bass become more aggressive around larger females that become
TVA has pulled the reservoir back down to near normal lake levels for
this time of year and both bass and crappie are responding. It has been
a spring full of abnormal conditions but things are fast approaching
normalcy if storms, rain, and wind settle down and act right!
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.