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April 7, 2012
SPRING FISHING SPOILS ANGLERSÖWEATHER CHANGE ON THE WAY
Crappie fishing has been fantastic for Kentucky Lake anglers this past
week. Bass fishermen have had some good days too. All anglers are
wondering how long the great weather and sensational fishing can hold
Spawning phases have been underway for about two weeks for crappie and
it appeared peak periods may have occurred this week as warm sunny days
and light winds sent the surface temperature up to the 74 degree range
Hefty stringers have been coming in for weeks but the last few days
things really heated up as increased numbers of big females were showing
up in the creel of anglers all over Big Sandy, West Sandy and throughout
the Paris Landing sector.
Anglers have had a long honeymoon with weather conditions for almost a
month but it appears change is on the way. Cooler conditions are in the
forecast and next week anglers may have to trade in the sunscreen for
overcoats and sweatshirts.
What effect will a lingering cold front have on the crappie spawn? How
about the bass, bluegill, and shellcracker which have already moved up
to shallow areas well ahead of their normal schedule?
All anglers are asking those questions right now as weíve been spoiled
by a spring that has delivered ideal conditions that advanced the
biological clock for every species.
Water color has been quite clear and most crappie are spawning in the 6
to 12 foot depth range. Add unusually warm weather to clear water and
you get an early spawn in deeper depths. That appears to be the case
Surface temperatures have been in the mid to upper 60ís for two weeks
running. This week temps in the mornings were starting out in the 71
degree range and climbing to 75 at midday.
Lake levels are right on schedule as TVA began its curve for reservoir
filling last Sunday. A slow rise is underway and projections indicate
levels of 355.9 for Kentucky Dam this weekend. Upstream at New
Johnsonville the forecast will be 355.6. Those readings are up a few
inches from last week at this time.
Summer pool elevation of 359 is scheduled by May 1 each year.
While a few crappie spawned last week some of the largest fish of the
year were taken this week and most were out away from shorelines. One of
the larger slabs reported was a 3 pound, 1 ounce black crappie taken by
Larry Hicks of Yorkville while fishing in Big Sandy last Saturday
Although several boats have been casting grubs and beating the banks
where dark male crappie are usually relating to gravel banks the action
for such methods and areas has been off.
The lionís share of crappie have come from anglers working main lake
flats and ledges while pulling long lines with jigs, spider rigging with
multi-pole presentations or vertical fishing stakebeds and brushpiles
with jigs or minnows.
Other methods of pulling crankbaits have produced at times as have
casting curly tail grubs around deeper cover.
No doubt some good fishing days are in the future and truth is, a lot of
crappie are caught in May and June long after spawning phases peak.
However, many spring crappie anglers hang their hat on hitting the peak
week each year and that in itself is always a gamble as to weather and
With a cold front looming in the aftermath of an extended spell of warm
weather itís quite likely the last few days delivered some of the areaís
peak spawning phases. All week big females have been moving toward
structure as they were bulging with eggs and ready to make deposits on
Just this week big bluegill and shellcracker have shown up in shallow
areas too, sporting dark colors from hormonal changes that already have
the males on the prowl. These powerful panfish donít usually sport such
an attitude until late April but this year itís different.
Bass have been displaying spawning phases for almost two weeks too,
hanging around shallow pockets and darting around bedding areas as
though they were about to fan beds.
Anglers were catching a lot of small bass this week but still having
trouble getting larger fish to bite, which continues to point toward
spawning phases for those big sows.
Odds are next weekís cool spell could alter the fishing scene but just
how much remains to be seen. Even if a few cool days and rainy skies
enter the picture we canít complain. It has been one of the best springs
ever and a short hiatus from beautiful weather may not linger too long
before things bounce right back.
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.