Brought to you by: Fishtale Lodge
Kentucky Lake Fishing Report for:
April 15th, 2005
LAKE LEVELS FALLING AS CRAPPIE SPAWN
Anglers have seen a lot of changes this past week on Kentucky
Lake both from the weather and lake levels. There has been a few
calm mornings but several afternoons have seen high winds and
thunderstorms enter the picture.
Crappie action has improved within the last day or two here in
the Paris Landing area after last weekend’s rising lake levels that
really scattered fish.
Lake levels are falling fast as TVA draws the lake back down to its
curve for reservoir filling, creating more storage capacity should
additional flooding hit the valley.
Tuesday the lake began falling a few inches after cresting on
Monday. Fishing improved as crappie seemed to return to structure and
resume spawning after a day or two of roaming open waters.
Early this week lake levels at New Johnsonville were in the 359
range but projections are for readings of 357.7 or less by Friday.
Kentucky Dam is expected to have an elevation of 357.8 on Thursday.
Therefore, the lake will fall several inches each day.
Surface temperatures are in the 63 to 66 degree range throughout
most of the reservoir with the upper Big Sandy and West Sandy area
showing the warmest readings.
A lot of crappie have been caught this week in the New Hope and
Country Junction area up Big Sandy as anglers there are trolling jigs or
using drifting techniques. Some good stringers were also taken in Swamp
Creek and around the Sulphur Well Island sector where crappie fishermen
were trolling, drifting, and also vertical fishing manmade fish
Action was fair around the TVA power lines near Mansard Island where
several boats were long lining jigs and small Road Runners. Several fish
were suspended in 8 to 12 foot water there.
A few anglers are working main lake ledges where some scattered fish
were taken on the tops of sandbars in 12 to 14 foot ranges. Not many
fish are relating to the deeper depths but that could change with the
falling lake levels these next few days.
I found improvement in my crappie beds Tuesday and Wednesday as fish
were taking 1/16-ounce jigs tipped with minnows and some fish preferred
just the jig. Tipping it with Berkley Power Bait helped some too.
Although many fish are attempting to spawn, the bite is quite light
and suddle. Some of the larger slabs were barely taking the bait with a
ho-hum attitude at best.
Popular colors have been white and unpainted leadheads with
while/clear sparkle, chartreuse with red or blue metal flake, and some
hair jigs with light brown and yellow tails and water color has been
In stained water some red and chartreuse, along with pink and pearl,
light blue and chartreuse, and various florescent combinations have
worked such as green and orange.
Male crappie are quite dark in color, indicating spawning is
underway. A few females appear to have already dropped eggs but there
are still several fish holding eggs. So, spawning is still underway and
many fish are doing it in deeper water and away from shoreline
With lake levels falling, look for increased numbers of crappie to
fall back to the 7 to 12 foot range in the days ahead. Fishing will
likely improve for anglers fishing submerged structure in these zones
while shallow shoreline fishing will decline.
Bass really moved up to shallow weedbeds and wooded structure the
last few days when the water rose. The popular yellow flowers around
back bays and shallow shorelines were holding fish.
I landed an 8-pound plus largemouth Wednesday as the lunker really
put a bend to my light action crappie rod and 6-pound test monofilament.
The big female took a jig tipped with a minnow. She was in a 12-foot
stake bed out on Big Sandy. And yes, I did release her so she will
hopefully spawn soon and create some more fishing stories for other
Successful lures were floating worms, flukes, jerk baits,
spinnerbaits, and lizards. Spinnerbaits were also producing. A few
outside buck bushes were drawing fish earlier in the week but falling
lake stages will likely pull bass back off the banks somewhat in the
next few days or at least draw them to steep banks where deeper water is
Carolina rigged lizards and crankbaits will continue to produce
around points and rocky areas as fish pull back out of pockets and
relate to sloping points near deeper venues.
Some bass will likely go on bed within the next week or two.
Anglers can expect a lot of current in the main Tennessee River
channel areas where stained water is now present.
Late last week rising lake levels had debris floating throughout the
reservoir as lake stages jumped by almost a foot for two to three
consecutive days. After four days of rising lake levels anglers can
expect just the opposite for a few days.
Generally speaking, fishing has improved for most anglers in the
last day or two after a weekend of difficulty in the aftermath of rising
lake stages. However, crappie and bass anglers hoping for some buck bush
fishing along the shoreline will be disappointed, as lake levels are now
too shallow for that.
It will likely be another week to ten days before water reaches the
shoreline habitat unless heavy rains return. TVA's schedule for summer
pool elevation is May 1 each year.
For The Lake Barkley Report
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.