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July 5, 2012
HIGH TEMPS/LOW LEVELS CONTINUE
Above average temperatures and below average lake levels continue
to greet anglers who have battled adverse conditions for quite a spell.
Kentucky Lakeís summer fishing scene has held up pretty good for bass
fishermen this week despite lingering heat and low lake levels. Decent
stringers were still being caught by anglers working drop-offs and fish
were still relating to the abundance of grassbeds where baitfish were
Drought conditions continue to influence the region as low flows
throughout the Tennessee River watershed due to a lack of rain will keep
the reservoirís elevation below TVAís normal curve for lake levels.
In normal years Kentucky Lake would have seen a slow increase in
elevation throughout April and climbed to a summer pool mark of 359 by
early May. Traditional summer pool level would have been maintained
until early July when the slow winter drawdown begins but this year
things have been quite different.
Presently, lake levels are in the 357.4 range at Kentucky Dam, a reading
that has been holding its own for several weeks. Upstream at New
Johnsonville Steam Plant sector the elevation will be 357.2 as the
TVA has been pulling some water through the system but itís discharging
about the same amount as the inflow; thus, lake levels have been stable
for quite some time.
Surface temperatures this week peaked at 90 degrees, a reflection of the
three-digit days last weekend and earlier this week where warm nights
hung around too. Early morning readings were starting out around 87 but
crossing the threshold by midday. Water color remains clear.
Thanks to some light breezes it hasnít been all bad out there. Anglers
are still hoping for some cloud cover and rain to drench a thirsty
fishery but as long as the wind stays up the temperatures have been
bearable, although short boat rides sure are enticing at times.
Bass continue to relate to the increasing grassbed areas where baitfish
are hanging around as the aquatic carpets provide both cover and shade.
The bite has been decent in the early morning hours and late afternoon
but slowed during midday once the bright sun beams.
While a few fish have been taken on assorted topwater jerk baits, along
with spinnerbaits and buzzbaits, the lure of choice has been Texas
rigged worms fished on the parameters where grass has deeper water close
by. Some of the submerged grass growing on points protruding into deeper
water are attracting fish that move up in lowlight and chase shad for
Thick carpets of grass are also appealing to a few anglers tossing
weedless surface lures such as rats, frogs, and floating fluke style
presentations in pockets of open water surrounded by grass.
Deeper ledges are still producing fish too as big Texas rigged worms
seem to have the most appeal but jig and craw combos, deep diving
crankbaits and Carolina rigged worms and Zoomís brush hog have also
worked at times.
Worms in the 10 to 12-inch length have been popular when fished with a Ĺ
to 5/8-ounce slip sinker. Colors of choice have ranged from plum,
blue-fleck, and black/blue to pumpkin-pepper, cotton candy, and
fire/ice. Zoom, Culprit, and Berkleyís big power bait series have been a
few popular producers.
Some anglers are still working the deep sides of ledges with spoons and
heavy jigs to flush out some bigger fish from the 18 to 25 foot depths.
However, there are still decent numbers relating to the top sides of the
sandbars at times or lingering near the drop-off itself when wind is
Schools of shad were roaming the top side of main lake ledges and bass
were hot on their trail at times as the 9 to 12 foot zones were worthy
of consideration when tossing both worms and crankbaits. However, not
many of us want to toss that huge crankbait for extended periods in this
type of weather.
Crappie activity seemed to diminish this week as the increased surface
temperatures combined with a high pressure system delivering bright
skies did not work in favor of anglers stalking summer crappie. While
some cloud cover and fresh water into the system would likely help the
sluggish bite, not much relief is in sight as to changes in weather
A few fish were taken this week in the 18 to 25 foot depth range as they
backed out of midrange depths and occupied structure near the main river
channel. Jigs tipped with minnows and just live minnows presented in a
vertical presentation were producing if fished slowly and methodically
around the deep cover.
A few fish were hanging around the midrange stakebeds in 12 to 14 foot
depths but numbers declined there since last week. The high skies and
clear water seemed to have pulled fish toward deeper venues this week,
not to mention rising surface temps.
Bites were light as the fish were not aggressive and displaying a
reluctant mood to feed, a likely result of the rising surface
temperatures. No night fishing reports have come in but itís likely some
fish could be taken beneath the lights if anglers set up shop over some
main lake ledges where schools of shad could be lured to the boatís
Mayfly hatches have been somewhat scarce the last two weeks but usually
show up in the early to mid-July time frame. There have been some
bluegill hanging out around the deeper ledges, along with some hefty
catfish that have jumped on jigs and minnow rigs dunked by crappie
Seems the catfish are relating more to the midrange depths instead of
moving out to the edge of the main river channel as is normally the case
when hot weather descends. A lack of current has likely been a factor
for many summer catfishermen who are usually seen working the edge of
the river channel and drifting with the flow.
Everyone is hoping for some rain. Keep your rods crossed.
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.