Brought to you by: Fishtale Lodge
Kentucky Lake Fishing Report for:
April 16th, 2004
CRAPPIE AND ANGLERS CONFUSED…WEATHER CHANGES A
About the only ones more confused than the crappie are those fishing
for them. How about this weather lately?
Kentucky Lake has had a dose of winter, spring and summer in just
Most anglers know not to put up the overcoat until mid-April but who
would have dreamed of a snowstorm? Everyone from the turkey hunters to
bass and crappie fishermen woke up to the white stuff Tuesday morning.
When I blasted off Wednesday morning on a crappie outing it was
rather uncanny to glance across the rolling hills and see snow still
hiding on the shady sides of treelines. Paris Landing State Park golf
course looked like a ski slope.
Temperatures on Tuesday were some 25-degrees below normal when the
snow hammered its way to Kentucky Lake. The day before it was cold too
with brisk north winds and brutal gusts of wind and rain mixed.
By Wednesday morning surface temperatures had fallen ten degrees
from when I was on the lake late Saturday afternoon. It was a cool
54-degrees Wednesday morning, down from 64 Saturday. By late afternoon,
however the water had rebounded to the 58-degree mark.
Rising lake levels are part of the change taking place out there
too. Since last weekend the lake has been on a steady rise but seemed to
jump even more at midweek after the rain and snow melt.
TVA indicates lake levels this weekend will be 357.1 at New
Johnsonville while downstream at Kentucky Dam readings will be in the
Watercolor is still clear throughout the Big Sandy River, although
some stain is present in the upper basin around New Hope, Country
Junction and the gravel pits. West Sandy is relatively clear down past
the power lines at Mansard Island. Paris Landing is clear in the main
lake with some stained water in the upper end of large bays.
How did the cold fronts affect the fishing? Earlier this week the
drastic changes seemed to send the fish into a mode of hibernation. By
midweek, the warming trend began but the north wind and high-pressure
system chased away the clouds, which made for tough fishing conditions
in the aftermath of it all.
Fish were taking jigs and minnows with a very tentative bite at
midweek. Most of the fish I caught on Wednesday were finicky bites and
even the larger fish displayed no aggressive behavior. And, the fish
were quite scattered.
With the arrival of warm and sunny skies, action should improve this
weekend for both bass and crappie anglers. Surface temperatures will
likely rebound into the upper 60’s by early next week.
There are still a few crappie that haven’t spawned but the rash of
cold fronts this spring has not been a friend to the fish or the
anglers. There has not been a major movement of fish toward shallow
spawning areas as has been the case in times past.
This weekend should see some fish move up into shallow flats and
perhaps some large bays in a second or third attempt to find spawning
habitat and suitable conditions. However, it seems once the fish make an
initial move in late March or early April and then get pushed back by
cold fronts, the second and third attempts are never as productive for
the fish or fishermen.
Still, anglers should see a few crappie enter the stump flats and
manmade fish attractors in the 8 to 12 foot zone this weekend.
Techniques such as drifting, trolling, and pulling multi-pole rigs
will likely produce best this week as some fish will remain suspended,
especially those already in a post-spawn phase.
Lures such as Roadrunners and twister tail grubs are producing for
trollers while most of the vertical style anglers are using tube jigs
tipped with live shiner minnows or Berkley Power bait.
Some spawning fish should be taken around structure this weekend and
early next week.
Bass action dropped off the radar screen for a couple of days due to
the cold front. Yet the shallow water is warming quickly so the fish
bounced back quickly thanks to some warm sunshine.
Some good fish were taken in the last few days by anglers tossing
spinnerbaits, crankbaits, tube style jigs, worms, and jig and pig
combos. The rising lake levels continue to provide more shallow habitat
A few fish were taken in open mud flats and coves by anglers casting
Rattle Traps and shallow running crankbaits. Watch for an increase in
topwater activity this weekend with the warmer water.
Some stickups and dead grass beds are now holding enough water to
attract bass so a variety of baits will start producing bass this week.
Warm weather is finally here but it has been a most unusual week for
anglers. Hopefully, spring is here to stay.
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.