Brought to you by: Fishtale Lodge
Kentucky Lake Fishing Report for:
April 7th, 2006
SPAWN UNDERWAY HERE AT “CRAPPIE CAPITAL”
Spring has sprung.
Here at Kentucky Lake there’s no need for calendars. Just check out
the panfish navy which sets sail whenever the crappie head shallow.
That’s when you know the season has changed.
Spawning is underway here at the “Crappie Capital” as warm weather
made its presence known this week. Surface temperatures have climbed to
the 64 to 66 degree range, crossing that magic threshold that stimulates
the king of the panfish to head shallow.
Each year the annual ritual takes place whenever a combination of
conditions team up, namely warm weather, rising lake levels and stable
surface temperatures. All that has coincided this week and legions of
anglers have been on the lake taking advantage of prime time fishing.
After a blustery start this week, things calmed down to allow
fishermen back out on the lake where feisty fish were waiting their
arrival. Several hefty stringers of crappie have been taken this week
throughout the Paris Landing and upper Big Sandy area.
While spring weather is still capable of upsetting the apple cart
here in early April, anglers have enjoyed some pretty days lately with
gentle breezes and warm sunshine.
Dogwoods and redbuds are confirming spring, as are the big slab
crappie that ventured back shallow at midweek after a brief hiatus on
Monday. Strong weekend storms that spawned tornadoes in the region also
dealt a mean blow to the fishing but action bounced back quickly at
Presently, Kentucky Lake continues its slow climb as to lake levels
and surface temperatures. Overall fishing conditions have been good for
both bass and crappie anglers as they pattern the movements of hungry
According to TVA projections the reservoir will rise a few inches
each day and reach the 356.9 mark at Kentucky Dam by Saturday. Upstream
at New Johnsonville lake levels will be in the 355.6 range going into
the weekend, which is up from last week at this time.
Water color remains a bit clear in the Paris Landing sector while a
little more stain is present up Big Sandy and in West Sandy. Some creeks
along the Tennessee River have a bit of dingy water in the upper end
from slight runoff and high winds stirring up sediments.
A lot of fish have been taken this week as anglers continue to use a
variety of techniques in different depth ranges. While the crappie are
moving up to spawn, it seems there’s always some fish lingering on the
main lake ledges in deep water, perhaps waiting for the second or third
wave of migrational movement.
Some anglers were drifting jigs and minnows over main lake flats
this week and finding some scattered fish while others were using the
time-tested, double-hook Kentucky Lake bottom bumping rig and scoring
Slow trolling twister-tail grubs and small in-line spinners such as
Road Runners and Mepps has worked too. Also producing has been the
casting efforts of some anglers who found success while tossing
chartreuse grubs over midrange stump fields in depths of 7 to 12 feet.
Not to be overlooked is the popular vertical style of fishing where
dropping that jig or minnow down in submerged structure has paid big
dividends. Even finicky crappie have trouble resisting a bait place
right in their face.
Popular color choices have ranged from a variety of chartreuse and
glitter skirts to some dull colors such as motor oil, clear, and pearl.
Skirts with metal flake have been popular and some leadheads in the
black, red, and lime green have been attractive as well.
Male crappie entered shallow water early last week and the bulk of
females have been laying back a bit off the bank and staging in 6 to 12
foot depths. While all the fish don’t spawn at the same time, the stage
is set for the upcoming week to be peak time.
It’s quite likely some fish will wait another week to ten days
before spawning. Perhaps that’s Mother Nature’s way of spreading out the
festivity, making sure some of the fish hit things just right and their
young of the year aren’t threatened by changing lake levels or uninvited
Unlike other gamefish species such as bluegill, white bass, and
largemouth, crappie broadcast their eggs around structure such as
treetops, bushes, stumps, and even grassbeds. That’s why habitat is so
vital to sustaining a good crappie fishery and here on Kentucky Lake
we’ve been blessed to have a combination of factors working together to
give us an above average crappie population for many decades.
So if you’re waiting for some good reports before going crappie
fishing then wait no longer. The time is at hand!
In the bass department things continue to hold up good as anglers
are landing some big largemouth thus far. A few fish have eclipsed the
7-pound mark lately in the largemouth arena but not too many trophy
smallmouth have been taken.
While there’s no doubt hefty smallmouth remain in the reservoir, it
seems declining numbers of bronzebacks have puzzled some local experts.
Meanwhile, it’s still taking a 3-pound plus average to take the top
spot in local tournaments and some events have seen winning stringers
require a 4-pound average.
Popular patterns continue to be crankbaits worked slowly on rock and
gravel points. Crawfish, Tennessee Shad, red and black, chrome, and root
beer colors have worked well.
Spinnerbaits worked slowly around exposed structure have accounted
for some good fish this week as have some worms and soft plastic jerk
Some topwater action will no doubt enter the arsenal this week as
waters warm and fish get more aggressive as to tagging a surface bait.
Things are on schedule here as to fishing patterns and lake levels.
Don’t let anything interfere with your scheduled fishing trips this
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.