SUMMER BITE NOT BAD FOR KENTUCKY LAKE ANGLERS
Summer took over its place on the calendar Tuesday, pushing away what
most Kentucky Lake anglers agree was a strange and stubborn spring.
Despite a week of hot and humid weather at times, Kentucky Lake’s
fishing scene has actually been pretty good for bass and crappie
fishermen. Most days have seen light breezes mixed with a dab of cloud
cover and that combination has made for decent fishing conditions.
June has long been a good month for crappie and bass fishing. It is
indeed overlooked and underrated by most anglers.
Several days this week saw very few boats out despite good fishing
conditions. I’ve been hitting the water early and beating the heat that
way. Actually there have been some nice mornings when the bite was on
and that helped dispel any concerns over temperatures until midafternoon
when we pitched in the towel.
Lake levels remain relatively stable but still sleeping slightly below
normal summer pool level. Forecasts for the weekend show Kentucky Dam
will have an elevation of 358.8 while somewhat lower lake stages of
358.6 are predicted for the New Johnsonville area.
Normal summer pool elevation is 359 so TVA is using some of the storage
capacity this summer and generating power while the lower rainfall
across the region has apparently been down and not delivering as much
runoff across the region.
Surface temperatures have been in the 84 to 86 degree range. A day or
two readings climbed to the 87 degree range a midday. Water color
remains clear across the reservoir.
Crappie have been hitting good as they park in midrange depths and
relate well to structure. Depths of 10 to 14 feet have been productive.
After an unpredictable spring when crazy cold fronts and gale north
winds dictated where and how anglers could fish, crappie are following a
normal summer pattern. Their post-spawn patterns of late May and early
June continue as summer takes over.
Each year crappie slowly leave spawning venues and transition back
toward midrange depths where they occupy structure before migrating
toward deeper hideouts in the weeks ahead. The fish are relating well to
stakebeds and bushpiles with an appetite too.
Seems the crappie are relating better to structure now than they did
back in the early spring when cold fronts and winds had them off
Nice stringers have been taken lately by anglers vertical fishing live
minnows or jigs tipped with minnows. Some nice summer slabs were taken
this week and numbers have improved as well. There’s still a lot of
small fish biting in big numbers but those pole bending bit ones are
mixed in there with them, as are a few hefty catfish.
Other patterns producing have been slow trolling crankbaits along main
lake ledges. A few crappie anglers are using that technique but it
appears vertical presentations have been the most productive.
Bass patterns are also holding true to their typical summer moods yet
Kentucky Lake anglers always seem to find a few shallow fish when others
are banging away at main lake ledges.
Decent stringers have been taken around the parameters of weedbeds by
anglers tossing weedless frogs, buzzbaits, floating worms, Texas rigged
craws and worms, and spinnerbaits. Seems a few bass are lingering around
visible weeds where some shad fry are beginning to emerge.
Blowdowns along the shoreline and river islands are also giving up some
shallow bass. Those big schools of small shad fry have not shown up much
as of late but that pattern should continue to develop on a daily basis.
Find the fry and you’ll find the bass.
Mayfly hatches are overdue and that can also provide a productive
shallow water bite at times. Hatches usually occur throughout late June
and July, bringing a lot of bait fish toward shallow shorelines. Bass
are usually lingering there too once hatches occur.
Deep drop-offs have indeed produced most of the tournament winning
stringers lately, although most anglers are having a challenging day in
their attempts to locate big schools of bass. It has been hit and miss
out on the ledges at times but some days a little current was present
and that seemed to enhance the bite.
Big 10-inch Texas rigged worms have been working well as have some jig
and pig combos in the black and blue color. Popular worm colors have
ranged from green pumpkin pepper to cotton candy and red shad.
Crankbaits are always part of the summer bass fishermen’s arsenal and
such colors as blue/pearl, Tennessee shad and black/chartreuse are but a
few of the combinations that have been producing. Swim baits are working
too as are Alabama and Carolina rigs as anglers attempt to cover a lot
of water and search for productive ledges.
Night fishing has also entered the picture for a few anglers who toss
spinnerbaits along gravel banks and rip-rap levees. There are a few
fishermen doing that and tying into an occasional smallmouth at times.
Catfish are still occupying midrange depths of 10 to 15 feet as crappie
anglers are tying into some on a regular basis. A few pontoons are jug
fishing and baiting with nightcrawlers or dipping hotdogs in various
Although some boats are working the main riverbank and testing the down
current side of bridge piers with vertical presentations, action there
is just now beginning to produce results. Watch for that deep water bite
to improve quickly as the cats fall back to their summer hideouts.
Summer fishing is alive and well here on Kentucky Lake. Rise and shine
early and you’ll beat the heat most days if you get your licks in early.
Keep the water jug handy and apply the sunscreen.
Keep an eye in the sky too for those midday or late afternoon pop up
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.