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July 21, 2011
HOT WEATHER FISHING HOLDS UP WELLÖBASS/CRAPPIE BITE
Although the weatherman has been painting a dismal
picture for outdoor activity during the recent heat wave not all the
news is bad for Kentucky Lake anglers as decent catches are showing up
for dedicated anglers.
Crappie continue to bite with some decent size fish showing up this
week. Catfish have been on the prowl too as a steady but light current
is present in the main river channel and that stimulates movement of
Ledge fishing has been decent for bass anglers who are playing the
summer pattern of drop-offs with a variety of lures. A few local anglers
have weighed in some 19-pound plus stringers this week in tournaments so
hot weather has not curtailed the bass bite either.
Some light winds have worked in favor of fishermen this week and the
early morning trips have been quite tolerable. Iíve been on the lake
several days and it hasnít been too bad despite the doom and gloom
reports from weather forecasters who seem to dwell on the extremes and
make it sound like going outdoors is risking your life.
Lake levels are down a few inches from last week at this time as TVA
continues its slow descent. Projections for the weekend indicate lake
stages at Kentucky Dam will be in the 358.2 range. Upstream at New
Johnsonville the elevation will be slightly lower at 358.2.
Surface temps warmed into the 89 to 91 degree range, which are the
warmest readings of the summer thus far. Water color remains relatively
While most anglers have a tendency to think extremely deep depths are
the answer to summer fishing thatís not always the case for crappie and
bass. Sometimes the midrange to shallow areas are still holding fish as
oxygen levels there may be a bit better than deep water and bait fish
may well be residing in such locales.
While a few anglers are night fishing under lights for crappie or
tossing spinnerbaits and worms around rip-rap levees and sloping gravel
banks near the main river, day fishing is still producing with the early
morning and late afternoon time frames paying off best.
No doubt the fish are light sensitive in clear water conditions so
midday bites may slow down in shallow to midrange depths.
I found a few good size crappie this week still holding on stakebeds and
some brushpiles in the 11 to 14 foot zones. Fish were scattered but some
were still biting in just about every stop with the most productive
areas being near deep drop-offs.
Bites were light and you have to hold the bait still and tight to cover
but the fish are there. Baits of choice were a 1/32 to 1/16-ounce jig
tipped with either a minnow or Berkley Power Bait nibble. I caught a few
fish on just a jig but it was evident the fish preferred some type of
Tying into a bass or catfish has added another dimension to the summer
crappie trips as the hefty fish will quickly test your tackle and knot
Some deep brushpiles in the 18 to 22 foot depth range also produced
crappie. I tried some double hook bottom bumping rigs armed with live
minnows and the fish responded well. A lot of small fish were relating
to the ledges but mixed in there with them were some nice keepers.
Catfish were relating to the edge of the main river channel as the slow
current was appealing to their summer hideouts in depths of 25 to 40
feet. A few fish were taken around the bridge piers at Paris Landing as
anglers worked the down current sides where fish were lying in submerged
eddies waiting for baitfish to wash their way.
Popular bait choices continue to be shad, nightcrawlers, chicken liver,
catalpa worms, and some commercial variations. Most anglers are bumping
bottom with their presentations.
Summer bass action has been fair this week, although weights have
diminished somewhat in local tournaments compared to a few weeks
earlier. Still, decent numbers are showing up for anglers working main
lake ledges with big shad colored crankbaits, Carolina and Texas rigged
worms, jig and crawfish combos, and some spoons.
Some schooling fish are showing up at times, chasing shad toward the
shallow sides of sandbars. Surface activity has been seen at several
locations as a feeding frenzy occurred when the shad made a last ditch
effort to escape.
Mixed with the bass have been a few white bass and yellow bass at times
who shared the schooling session when bait fish were ambushed.
Although some grass has been reported further south on the reservoir
most bass anglers working the area from New Johnsonville north up to
Paris Landing and further into Kentucky waters have not reported any
patches of milfoil showing up.
Although mayfly hatches this week have been scarce, watch for scattered
hatches to continue throughout the summer, bringing bass and bluegill
toward shallow areas in search of the abundant food source.
Summer fishing hasnít been too bad and if you use common sense it can be
quite enjoyable. Dress in light clothing, apply sunscreen, and keep
plenty of water in the boat. Schedule your fishing trips in the early
morning hours if possible and yield to the midday heat when 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.