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August 15, 2013
FALL LIKE CONDITIONS THRILL SOGGY SUMMER ANGLERS
Itís been a wet one! Even Kentucky Lake anglers have felt the rippling
effect of a soggy summer.
At a time when lake levels are usually falling slowly on TVAís curve for
annual winter drawdown the reservoir has had some surges. And,
temperatures have been below normal on several days but no one is
complaining about that one.
It might be mid-August but at midweek I had to reach in the closet for a
long sleeved shirt and even a light jacket as north winds dropped the
temperature and humidity, making it feel more like a late September
outing. No doubt fall was in the air.
Lake levels jumped earlier this week in the aftermath of a series of
thunderstorms that drenched the region for several days. Runoff has been
significant for tributary streams entering Kentucky Lake and the
elevation jumped about 18-inches and returned to the summer pool reading
of 359 at midweek across most of the reservoir.
TVA was spilling water through Kentucky Dam and really got rid of a lot
of the surge as the lake crested on Wednesday and began falling several
inches each day. Projections for the weekend indicate readings of 358.3
at Kentucky Dam and New Johnsonville but that elevation will be changing
on a daily basis as the lake has about a foot to go before returning to
TVAís curve for this time of year.
Anglers can expect plenty of current for the next few days in the main
Tennessee River channel. Water color there has significant stain but the
upper ends of bays that were dingy will be clearing fast as falling
water pulls the dingy color out. The upper portion of Big Sandy remains
stained as is the West Sandy sector.
Down around the Paris Landing area water color is relatively clear.
Surface temperatures this week reflect the unique series of summer cool
snaps and have been resting in the 81 to 83 degree range. Itís not
unusual to see surface temps climb to the upper 80ís and low 90ís in mid
to late August but that has not been the case this year.
With falling lake levels in the equation bass, catfish and crappie
anglers will have current to deal with in the main river channel area
but by this weekend it could slow down and be quite beneficial for the
summer fishing scene.
Bass fishermen were holding on to a pretty good summer bite that saw an
increase in shallow activity this week when rising water seemed to
trigger more baitfish activity over shallow grassbeds and around some
boat docks. Tossing chartreuse/blue skirted spinnerbaits with gold
willow leaf blades was producing well as were some topwater and Rattle
Trap style baits in chrome and blue colors.
There isnít much milfoil grass in the Paris Landing or in areas to the
north but some good grass mats are showing up south around the New
Johnsonville sector. Several flats and island rims south of Harmonís
Creek and White Oak have some exposed grassbeds and have been holding
several smaller fish with a few chunks mixed in.
Drop-offs on the main lake areas continue to produce fish for anglers
tossing big 10-inch worms such as Berkley, Culprit, and Zoom in a
variety of colors ranging from black/blue to blue fleck, pumpkin pepper,
and red shad.
Carolina rigged worms and craws have held up too on the menu of summer
styles as have jig and craw combos and the always popular big deep
diving crankbaits. Strike King, Rapala, Mannís, and Normanís extra deep
divers have been popular choices.
As lake levels fall back more grassbeds will be exposed in the next few
days and weeks. Find the schools of minnows and youíll find some
schooling fish too.
Crappie action has been fair but may improve the next few days as the
combination of cooler surface temperatures and falling lake levels might
pull some roaming fish back to structure, making them easier to locate.
Most anglers are still using vertical presentations of jigs and live
minnows in both deep water venues and throughout midrange areas where
stakebeds and brushpiles are located near ledges. There have been some
fish taken this week in that 12 to 15 foot zone thanks to cloud cover
and cooler conditions.
Watch for action to increase on the deep sides of main lake ledges this
next week as falling lake stages and warm weather will likely pull some
fish back to the normal summer hideouts. Depths of 18 to 24 feet will
A few boats are still trolling Bandit crankbaits and scoring now and
then as they work the ledges and slowly cover a lot of water. Seems
thereís always some fish hitting crankbaits.
Catfishing has held up pretty good and several boats are working the
edge of the main river channel in depths of 30 to 40 feet. Some good
numbers were taken this week by anglers using nightcrawlers , chicken
liver, and big live minnows.
The late summer catfish bite is usually dependent on current and
conditions are cooperating in that department.
Bluegill activity has diminished with a few still lingering around
bridge piers and along the river channel ledges. Mayfly hatches have
been scarce lately as well.
Although fall is officially a month away on the calendar, the fish and
the fishermen on Kentucky Lake are welcoming the early arrival. It sure
has been nice out there lately.
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.