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Jane and Tom from TN 2017
Kentucky Lake Crappie Fishing
"1 pole jig fishing"
FISHING SCENE IMPROVES…STABLE WEATHER RETURNS
Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene has had anglers guessing as to what type
weather awaited them the last week or two. Looks like stable conditions
are on the horizon and most of the uncertainty is in the rearview
In the aftermath of two hurricanes that delivered a lot of rain and wind
to the region during the early September period, fishing conditions have
settled down. The forecast looks good for the next several days.
After midweek rains it appears sunny days are ahead as southwest winds
will return and warm things back up. No one has been complaining,
however, about the cooler temps that dominated the fishing scene these
last two weeks.
Lake levels have been changing a bit the last week or two as TVA
fluctuated the reservoir to some degree and lowered the elevation at
times to create more storage capacity. The region was dealing with some
unknowns as to projected rainfall and runoff. Fortunately, flooding did
not occur and lake levels are returning to normal.
Presently, the elevation at Kentucky Dam is 356.1. Upstream in the New
Johnsonville sector the reading will be in the 356.2 range this weekend.
Anglers can expect a slow fall in the days ahead but no drastic changes.
Water color is in pretty good shape across the reservoir. Muddy
conditions had been present in the upper Big Sandy and West Sandy last
week but that has improved. The Paris Landing sector is also sporting a
good color for anglers.
Surface temperatures at midweek were staying cool and resting in the 73
degree range. That reading will likely rise a degree or two by this
weekend as warmer days are in the forecast.
Crappie continue to show more interest and responded favorably to the
cooler days and lower surface temperatures lately. Fall crappie fishing
is traditionally quite good. It’s often overlooked and underrated too as
most anglers miss out on some great conditions as summer loses its grip
and autumn silently slips in the door.
Depths of 7 to 10 feet were holding good numbers of fish this week.
Anglers vertical fishing jigs or jigs tipped with minnows scored decent
stringers. Just a live minnow fished on a tightline presentation has
paid dividends too.
Sometimes crappie will fall back deeper during the day if a bright sun
enters the picture. They are light sensitive, especially in clear water,
so anglers might fish the shallow bite best in early mornings and later
Although fall doesn’t officially arrive on the calendar until September
22, fish are already transitioning to fall patterns and locations. The
cool days of early September likely accelerated some movement toward
shallow areas as baitfish moved up, bringing bass and crappie with them.
Brushpiles and stakebeds in the midrange depths are proving to be a
comfort zone as crappie stage there. Odds are that depth range will hold
fish for several more weeks. When cloudy or rainy days descend it makes
the shallow bite event better.
Add a little light chop on the water from light and variable winds and
fishing conditions are quite nice. These next few weeks should produce
some consistent fishing conditions for all anglers.
A few fish were also residing on deeper main lake ledges where depths of
16 to 19 feet were holding decent numbers where deep structure could be
located. Crappie are relating pretty good to cover this time of year.
Some boats are still trolling Road Runners and crankbaits along main
lake ledges and main river channels while encountering enough fish to
make it worth their efforts. Depths producing for trollers have been in
the 8 to 14 foot range.
Popular jig colors for those vertical fishing stakebeds and brushpiles
have ranged from pink/white to red/chartreuse, chartreuse/black,
blue/white and some black leadheads with aqua blue bodies sporting
Bass fishing has been fair with a few anglers landing some hefty
stringers at times. The overall bite has been sluggish for some while
others found the bite working well for shallow shad colored crankbaits
fished on shallow flats or secondary ditches.
Several fish have moved into big bays back off the main lake, which is a
normal route this time of year, but unfortunately no grassbeds await
them. Still, they’re following their forage and that’s the key; find the
shad and you’ll find the bass.
Not every bay is producing but some are holding schools of shad along
shallow flats and gravel banks. Rattle Trap style lures are working well
and allow anglers to cover a lot of water as they search for both
baitfish and the bigger bite.
Topwater action was decent a few mornings and late afternoon when cloudy
days stimulated fish to move up shallow and show more aggression.
The early fall bite can be good at times when anglers encounter bass
moving up on gravel banks to feed on shad that pursue the lowlight
hatching of midges. The small insects trigger the shad feeding frenzies
and bass know it and act accordingly. Such a scenario is best in
A few boats are working the main river channel for catfish when current
is present. Depths of 20 to 30 feet have produced decent catches lately.
Baits of choice continue to be nightcrawlers and chicken livers.
It’s a great time to be on the lake. Stable weather is returning, fish
are biting and boat traffic is low. That means your fishing enthusiasm
level should be high!
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.