SPAWNING OFF TO SLUGGISH STARTÖCRAPPIE NUMBERS LOW
Most Kentucky Lake crappie anglers were hoping to see active spawning
phases kick in this past week. They didnít get their wish.
Slabs were sluggish and catch rates have been low, due in part to cold
north winds that held surface temperatures below the optimum range. At
midweek yet another cool snap slipped in the door and anglers will have
to don coveralls and overcoats as the weekend approaches.
Surface temperatures need to be in the 62 to 66 degree range and stay
there a few days for active spawning to really kick into high gear. The
roller coaster of weather hasnít let that happen. There were a few days
when surface temps climbed into the 63-plus range only to fall back at
night due to chilly conditions.
Fishermen are yearning for several consecutive sunny days with average
or above average temperatures. A few crappie are on the threshold of
moving up to spawning spots but others are staging out away from
structure and waiting for things to improve.
Water levels have been about a foot above normal for this early April
period, which hasnít bothered anglers.
TVA is projecting levels of 357.5 at Kentucky Dam this weekend with a
similar reading upstream for New Johnsonville.
Water color is good across most of the reservoir too with a little too
much stain in the upper Big Sandy and West Sandy areas to suit some but
overall things are good.
Crappie continue to be scattered for most fishermen, regardless of their
techniques. A few shallow fish have been taken by boaters casting curly
tail grubs around shallow structure or retrieving jigs beneath slip
bobbers but numbers have been low.
Same goes for main lake dwellers where boats have been drift fishing,
bumping bottom with jigs and minnows, long lining Road Runner style jigs
or spider rigging jigs and live minnows. It has been tough out there!
Legions of accomplished crappie fishermen are scratching their heads and
wondering whatís up with their favorite panfish.
Most anglers report catching several small fish and the ratio of 10-inch
plus size to small dink crappie has varied from one in ten to one in 15
to 20 for a lot of anglers. The lionís share of anglers are not catching
big numbers of keeper fish anywhere in the Paris Landing, upper Big
Sandy or West Sandy sectors.
There have been some two-pound plus slab crappie taken at times as some
of the egg-laden females are bloated and ready to spawn if the weather
would cooperate. Yet itís fair to say the army of crappie anglers who
have braved the elements these last few weeks are concerned about low
numbers of 10-inch plus crappie.
Should stability in weather patterns arrive next week then crappie are
ready to make a blitz toward structure. A few have already done that but
the bulk seem to be somewhat confused by the annoying cool fronts and
nasty north winds that havenít opened the gate or signaled prime timeís
More crappie should be taken this week in the 4 to 8 foot depth range
and those staging deeper should be on the move. Things are overdue to
improve in the days ahead and watch for the bite to change quickly.
Bass anglers are still landing decent stringers from a variety of
patterns. Boats this week found fish on the banks where crankbait
patterns were still paying dividends. Others continue to toss Alabama
rigs on secondary ledges and sloping points where fish were staging and
ready to move up to shallow shorelines.
Higher lake levels this week saw some of those precious yellow flowers
already inundated with water. That means some bass likely followed
rising lake levels and occupied shallow grass and flowers in the backs
of bays where tossing a spinnerbait, Texas rigged craw or worm, floating
fluke style worm or jerk bait proved deadly.
Things will happen fast for spawning bass too next week if sunny days
enter the picture. Odds are those yellow flowers have already attracted
a lot of buck bass to the shallows.
Stubborn winds are reluctant to loosen their grip but itís high time
they switched to the south and stayed there. Itís time for these
whitecaps and overcoats to go!
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.