Brought to you by: Fishtale Lodge
Kentucky Lake Fishing Report for:
April 2nd, 2004
CRAPPIE SPAWN CLOSE AT HAND…LAKE LEVELS RISING
Fishermen are anxiously awaiting the start of spawning phases
for crappie here on Kentucky Lake. They may not have to wait much
Crappie will likely begin spawning next week as several signs
indicate the annual ritual is close at hand. Since last week the male
crappie have begun to turn dark. That occurs when hormonal changes take
place and increase the pigment, giving the handsome purple appearance to
the roosters who swim with an attitude.
In addition to the male crappie turning dark and heading toward
shallow rock banks and structure, the surface temperatures have climbed
into the 59 to 62 degree range this week.
The females have really developed hefty egg sacs this week and
appear to be on the threshold of a migration to structure.
Look for longer days and sunshine to bring surface temperatures up
into the 62 to 66 degree range next week. A few warm days and mild
nights will see spawning phases begin.
This past week has seen yet another series of weather changes that
always seems to disturb both the fish and the anglers who pursue them.
Last weekend’s warm weather saw surface temperatures climb quickly into
the 61 to 63 degree range by Sunday afternoon only to drop back three or
four degrees early in the week due to a bone-chilling cold front.
By midweek anglers were wrapped up in winter clothes and braving
brisk northwest winds that really had a bite. The water had cooled back
to 58 degrees by Wednesday in the Paris Landing area, which appeared to
push some crappie back off the banks and into deeper water.
A few good fish had entered shallow stakebeds and brushpiles early
this week. Depths of 6 to 10 feet were producing as fish began to
stair-step their way into large bays and flats in search of spawning
While many fish backed off by midweek due to the cold front and
occupied deep ledges in the 16 to 20 foot depths, a few fish have
remained in the midrange zone and just waiting for the return of
sunshine and warmer water.
I found some big crappie moving up to midrange stakebeds and brush
last weekend and early this week. However, I moved back to deep ledges
at midweek due to the cold fronts and found some of the bigger fish had
pulled back to the deep sides of ledges relating to structure in the 16
to 20 foot zone.
The fish were taking shiner minnows and florescent red or green
colored leadhead jigs sporting chartreuse skirts. Tipping the jigs with
minnows seemed to entice strikes.
Odds are fish will really make a move toward shallow areas in the
next week to ten days as conditions become favorable for spawning.
Water levels began rising slowly on Thursday as TVA began its annual
reservoir-filling schedule. Each year, TVA’s reservoir filling curve for
Kentucky Lake begins on April 1. Lake elevation is scheduled to rise
some five feet by May 1, which then offers a reading of 359, the
official summer pool level.
Presently, the observed elevation in the Paris Landing area is
355.1. That will change slightly over the weekend and into next week and
further increase the movement of crappie to shallow areas.
Watercolor has cleared since last week as many bays and main lake
areas have lost the stain. Rains or high winds this week could see a
return of dingy water to some areas of Big Sandy.
Watch for a quick change in fish movement next week in the West
Sandy and upper Big Sandy basin. Action has been fair in those areas for
a few anglers who have been slow trolling jigs and minnows on multipole
In the Paris Landing area several guides are taking good stringers
this week, despite braving high winds and cold fronts. Success has come
from deep ledges in 16 to 20 feet while tightlining minnows and jigs.
And, stakebeds and brushpiles in the 6 to 11 foot zones have paid off
Jigs tipped with minnows and Berkley Power Bait has worked well.
Popular colors have been blue and white combos, along with chartreuse
and red glitter, blue and chartreuse combos.
Bass action is still good around rock points and gravel banks.
Crankbaits continue to produce, as have jig and pig combos and
suspending jerk baits. Some anglers are also working spinnerbaits around
shallow wood structure with success.
A few fish were taking topwater lures last week when surface
temperatures warmed but seemed to back off once the cold fronts arrived
and chilled the water.
Look for action to improve next week as the bass respond to the
warming trend and return to a more aggressive feeding mode.
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.