June / 2014
Joe and Judy Bernath from Tennessee
Crappie Action Guide Service
MAYFLY HATCHES UNDERWAY…CURRENT HELPS BASS/CATFISH SCENE
After a somewhat turbulent start, the fishing scene on Kentucky Lake is
slowly returning to normal and anglers have enjoyed some nice catches of
bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish.
Thunderstorms late last week dumped a lot of rain on the region and more
rainy days entered the picture earlier this week, sending a lot of
runoff into the reservoir that brought a slight surge in lake levels.
Kentucky Lake’s elevation jumped more than a foot after regional
flooding but crested and began falling slowly at midweek.
The reservoir crested at 360.3 at Kentucky Dam and was higher than that
in the New Johnsonville area for a few days. TVA’s forecast going into
the weekend shows a steady drop now underway and lake levels should be
back near the normal summer pool mark of 359 by early next week, barring
any additional rain.
Surface temperatures are in the 79 to 82 degree range and water color is
clear in the main lake but has some dingy water in the upper end of a
Mayflies ought to be called Juneflies around these parts as that’s when
this natural phenomenon first occurs. I saw the first hatch of
Mayflies---or willow flies as they are commonly called here in the
South---last weekend in the Paris Landing area.
Anglers can expect more hatches to occur in the weeks ahead and this
biological mystery often appears overnight, especially in the aftermath
of a thunderstorm. No doubt the low pressure triggers the hatch and this
natural buffet is appealing to all species of fish.
From bass to bluegill, seems all fish pull up a chair to mother nature’s
buffet as some fish feed on the larva stage as they emerge from the lake
bottom while others put on a feeding frenzy as the adult flies fall from
overhanging trees and bushes to the lake surface.
I often recall fond memories fishing beneath the massive Mayfly hatches
with my dad here on Kentucky Lake. It was a little bit of Heaven for a
kid with a flyrod, catching fish after fish as they smacked the surface
and hit the popping bug or the slow sinking nymph tied a few inches
You can still have some fun with light tackle and catch a lot of
assorted sunfish or tie into some nice bass that find the flies and feed
on not only the hatch but other baitfish that show up to the feeding
Crappie have really improved this week and some nice stringers have been
taken around submerged stakebeds and brushpiles in the 10 to 15 foot
range. This June crappie gig is the real deal.
Rising lake level this week combined with several days of cloud cover
stimulated the midrange bite. Increased numbers of fish had moved up and
several were taken back in bays, a likely response to rising lake levels
that brought a lot of baitfish to shallow water.
Vertical fishing jigs tipped with minnows and Berkley crappie nibbles
have paid consistent dividends. Popular jig skirt colors have ranged
from black/red combos to chartreuse with red glitter fished on neutral
Expect a few more weeks of good June crappie fishing before fish move to
deeper summer venues. Watch for the fish to pull back closer to deep
water in the days ahead as falling lake levels influence their
Bass fishing continues to hold up well and several fish were taken
around shallow structure this week courtesy of higher lake elevation
that inundated shoreline buck bushes, willow trees and abundant
Tossing spinnerbaits, Texas rigged worms and various topwater lures have
worked well. Some anglers are pitching and flipping bushes in the backs
of bays and also along river islands. Current entered the picture at
midweek and that’s helped put baitfish on island points the last few
At the same time the ever popular main lake ledges are still producing
hefty fish as anglers continue to pound the drop-offs with big deep
diving crankbaits, Texas rigged worms, Carolina and Alabama rigs and jig
and craw combos.
The bite should be good for the next several days as current will be a
factor for ledge fishermen and work in their favor.
Catfishermen now have current in the main river and the fish have
responded favorably. Some dandies have been taken on the main river
channel and around bridge piers. Baits of choices have been cut shad,
turkey or chicken livers, nightcrawlers, leeches, and some big minnows.
A few late bedding bluegill are still biting too and working the mayfly
hatches will be another good pattern in the weeks ahead. A full moon
arrives Friday and that might stimulate some bluegill activity.
It has been a week of wind and thunderstorms, along with above normal
lake stages. Despite the challenges the overall fishing scene has been
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.