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Jane and Tom from TN 2017
Kentucky Lake Crappie Fishing
DOG DAYS HAVE ANGLERS HOWLING FOR COOLER TIMES
Been a bit warm on the Kentucky Lake fishing scene this week as temps
climbed into the low to mid-90s for several consecutive days.
While the temperatures are dominating the conversation among the ranks
of all fishermen, most are taking it in stride as itís just that time of
year. The weather gurus says weíve had several days that were 4 to 6
degrees above normal but it hasnít been all bad out there.
Several mornings this week saw a light breeze kicking off the day with a
little fog mixed in that helped filter the sun for a few hours. That
helped make it quite tolerable for anglers who rose early and hit the
water hoping to beat the heat.
Surface temperatures this week climbed to the 87 to 88 degree range,
which is the highest reading of the year.
Lake levels this week havenít fluctuated much. The reservoir is resting
in the 358.5 range around the Kentucky Dam sector. Upstream the
elevation is a bit lower around the New Johnsonville area where the
forecast will be 358.1.
Those levels are similar to last week at this time as some runoff enter
the Tennessee River watershed. Water color has cleared since last week
across most of the reservoir.
At midweek current had diminished and that seemed to curtail activity
for the catfish bite, which had improved last week when TVA was pushing
a lot of water through Kentucky Dam.
A few boats were bottom bumping along the main Tennessee River channel
this week and working their nightcrawler and chicken liver bait
presentations but results were a bit slow. A few fish were taken in the
30 foot depth range but the overall bite was sluggish.
Catfishermen know things can change quickly and action can rebound once
current kicks in. In fact, some days the bite can improve from morning
to afternoon once current enters the picture and stimulates baitfish
Summer crappie are biting but somewhat sluggish. The most action has
come from midrange depths of 13 to 14 feet.
Effective techniques have ranged from slow trolling crankbaits along
main lake ledges and river channel banks to vertical presentations of
jigs and live minnows around deeper stakebeds and brushpiles.
Those slow trolling crankbaits are finding some deep fish suspended at
times and scoring some decent stringers.
Tightlining live minnows or jigs tipped with minnow or Berkley Power
Bait continues to pay dividends at times too. There are still several
small fish lingering in the midrange depths but occasionally anglers are
tying into a pretty good slab mixed right in there with them.
Crappie anglers are having to make a lot of stops and picking up some
here and there but not logging big numbers of keeper fish or finding any
significant schooling activity. Some current can also play a role in the
overall activity of crappie out on the main lake areas as it seems to
put the fish around structure.
Despite the heat anglers are finding a few crappie willing to bite with
most of the activity occurring by mid-morning or in the late afternoon
hours. Once that sun peaks at midday and the wind dies down itís another
Since last week a couple of scattered mayfly hatches occurred at various
locations in the Paris Landing sector. No massive hatches but no doubt
some bass and bluegill moved up to feed on the shallow buffet for a
The bass bite, like the catfish, has been a victim some days of the lack
of current. Most summer bass anglers hang their hat on current helping
them locate active fish. Without it bass are somewhat lethargic on the
ledges. That doesnít mean they wonít bite but it sure is better when
current stimulates shad movement which seems to put fish in a
competitive mood to feed.
At midweek the stagnant current seemed to slow the bite drastically.
That could change by this weekend as the heat will likely increase power
demands for TVA so odds are the agency will be pulling more water
through Kentucky Dam in the days ahead.
The ledge bite should improve for bass fishermen tossing deep diving
crankbaits and Texas rigged worms once the current returns.
Most of the bass were relating well to structure in the 12 to 15 foot
depth range this week. Find some cover on the break or topside of main
lake ledges and you should encounter decent size fish.
No doubt the heat is separating the men from the boys but hitting the
lake early will allow you to get in several hours of good fishing before
that midday heat wave signals itís time to trade the fishing poles in on
some iced tea!
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.