CRAPPIE HEAD SHALLOW…FISH RESPOND FAVORABLY TO FALL CONDITIONS
Fall fishing officially begins next Tuesday when summer loses it place
on the calendar. Autumn angling has already been underway however, as
Kentucky Lake anglers began implementing fall patterns back in early
Last weekend’s cool snap really put fishermen in the fall mode as temps
fell to the upper 50’s at night and creped slowly toward the low to mid
70’s by day. That commanded a light jacket for fishermen who got out on
the lake for early morning outings and it felt great.
After a warm weekend the weatherman says another cool snap is on the way
and should arrive early next week. Fall conditions are indeed changing
the fishing scene.
Surface temperatures responded favorably and have already fallen back
into the 76 degree range this week, down three or four degrees from last
week at this time. Water color remains clear across the reservoir.
Kentucky Lake’s elevation continues on its slow path toward winter pool
and has dropped a few inches since last week. Lake levels at Kentucky
Dam will be in the 355.6 range by the weekend and slightly lower
upstream at New Johnsonville where readings are projected to be in the
Bass activity has been fair this week but fish backed off last weekend
as the cold front arrived with north winds. Seems the fish had a mood
swing for a few days but rebounded at midweek as light southwest winds
returned with cloud cover.
Grassbeds have been holding decent numbers of bass but action has been
spotty as there is so much visible vegetation that everything looks
good. Anglers have to cover a lot of water to find fish and most have
been tossing spinnerbaits on the parameters of thick grass while using
weedless lures on top of the thicker mats.
Some decent surface activity took place at midweek as shad began to show
up in the early morning and late afternoon periods and took advantage of
midge hatches. The tiny insects hatch in lowlight conditions and the
baitfish respond by surface feeding themselves and the bass are usually
Some boats are targeting gravel points, roadbeds, and rocky points with
shad colored crankbaits while others pond some main lake ledges with the
popular summer presentations of big crankbaits, jig and craw combos,
swim baits, and Texas rigged worms.
Watch for more bass to move up toward shallow gravel banks and flats as
surface temps fall.
Crappie fishing has improved lately with more fish moving up and
occupying stakebeds and brushpiles in the 8 to 12 foot depth range. A
few have been taken in 4 to 7 foot depths already. On cloudy days fish
have been more aggressive.
Most have been vertical fishing 1/16 and 1/8-ounce jigs around structure
and often tipping with either a minnow or chartreuse or white Berkley
power bait. Popular colors have ranged from red/chartreuse to
blue/white, pink/chartreuse and some dull colors such as motor oil with
gold glitter and clear with metal flake.
Each year crappie begin their fall transition in early September and
follow their forage toward shallow areas. Many anglers overlook the fall
fishing but stable weather and light winds usually produce good fishing
conditions. Lower lake levels intimidate some anglers yet paying
attention to channel markers and taking it easy in unfamiliar areas will
allow anglers to maneuver just fine.
Look for crappie fishing to hold up well the next few weeks. If you
endured the nasty spring when cold temperatures and bone chilling winds
dominated then give fall fishing a chance. Odds are in your favor for
A few anglers are targeting catfish beneath the Paris Landing Bridge and
along the Tennessee River channel bank yet overall action has been fair
at best. One exception was a monster flathead catfish taken Monday by
Kathy Phiffer of Greenfield.
While using only 20-pound test line on her rod and reel she managed to
land the lunker that tipped the scales at 51 pounds! She was fishing
near the New McWherter Bridge at Paris Landing.
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.