Jordyn Riddick on spring break March 2014 with grandad
Crappie Action Guide Service
CRAPPIE SPAWN APPROACHES…FINICKY FISH ON THE MOVE
Kentucky Lake crappie have been on the move this week after an overdue
warm spell increased surface temperatures. Added to the warmer weather
has been a rise in lake levels that may have triggered fish to move
toward shallow venues but their maneuvers have thrown a curve to some
fishermen this week.
Both bass and crappie anglers have enjoyed spring weather that saw temps
reach the low to mid 70’s a few days and that really increased surface
temperatures too. At the beginning of the week the water was still cool
and lingering in the 50 to 53 degree range but after back to back sunny
days readings were in the 58 to 61 degree range in some places.
Hefty stringers of bass were taken this week as some big females made a
surge toward shallow gravel banks, roadbeds, sloping rock points, and
rip-rap. Good numbers of fish were caught by anglers tossing Alabama
rigs, crawfish and shad colored crankbaits, suspending jerk baits, and
jig and pig combos.
A lot of fish in the 5-pound plus range are being caught as those
bulging prespawn females are moving up and roaming the shallow areas
that are warming fast.
Lake levels have been rising this week and are about a foot above normal
for the first week of April, which hasn’t put water on shoreline habitat
just yet but it has brought bass up to shallow spots as they await
Elevation at midweek was 356.7 at Kentucky Dam. Upstream at New
Johnsonville readings were in the 356.3 range. The reservoir rose over a
foot since last week at this time as last weekend’s heavy rains really
drenched the region and sent a lot of runoff into Kentucky Lake.
Water color is clear in the Paris Landing area. Up Big Sandy there is
some stained water in West Sandy and also around Swamp Creek and up Big
Sandy itself toward Country Junction and New Hope sectors.
That dingy water warms quicker and has appealed more to prespawn crappie
this week than clear conditions found elsewhere. More crappie have been
taken lately south of the power lines in Big Sandy than other regions.
Most of the decent stringers taken this week were from anglers slow
trolling curly tail grubs and Road Runner style jigs. Long line
techniques, along with multi-pole spider rigs and drift fishing have
paid the most dividends as finicky crappie have been quite scattered and
Trolling and drifting allows boats and pontoons to cover a lot of water.
The fish have been taken in a variety depths as they respond to warmer
surface temperatures but continue to shy away from structure. For that
reason anglers covering a lot of water with a variety of baits dragging
over wide areas have chalked up decent stringers.
Late last week and earlier this week a lot of crappie were taken by
boaters staying out over the old Big Sandy river channel and dragging
their buffets over 25 foot depths. However, a lot of the fish were
suspended in the 15 foot range.
Now that surface temperatures are increasing crappie appear to be
staging toward shallow areas in preparation for spawning which will
likely start next week. At midweek a few fish were taken in the back of
Swamp Creek and various flats in the Sulphur Well Island area.
Rising lake levels likely sent a few fish toward the New Hope and
Country Junction area the last few days where they should start
targeting structure in the 3 to 8 foot depth ranges in the days ahead if
not already. West Sandy anglers have been catching fish too in midrange
Active spawning will begin once surface temperatures reach the 62 to 66
degree range and stay there. Spawning phases are on the threshold but a
cool snap this weekend may slow things for a day or two.
Crappie in the Paris Landing sector have been quite finicky as catch
rates have been much lower than the upper Big Sandy region. Fishermen
stalking stakebeds and brushpiles in both midrange and deep main lake
areas have struggled to boat decent numbers around Paris Landing.
Meanwhile, fish are on the move and in transition as spawning time
approaches. Several different presentations are likely to produce in the
days ahead ranging from casting jigs beneath slip-bobbers around shallow
structure to vertical jig and minnow rigs in manmade fish attractors.
The fish have displayed some unusual behavior the last week or two in
terms of their whereabouts and movement, choosing to stay out over deep
zones and suspend instead of relating to submerged structure.
It’s time for crappie to make a blitz and begin the annual ritual. A few
male crappie began to show signs of tinting toward a darker color the
last few days as hormonal changes kick in.
A few anglers have enjoyed success, bagging limits with trolling and
drifting techniques while other structure oriented fishermen have been
less fortunate. Some are doubting the strength of the crappie population
and wondering where the fish are.
An unusual spring has pushed the timetable back and altered things a
bit. It will be interesting to see how the next week to ten days treats
crappie and bass anglers. Dogwood days are almost here!
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.