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September 21, 2012
FALL FISHING OFFICIALLY UNDERWAY
Anglers on Kentucky Lake this week thought fall slipped in the door a
few days early as a cool snap in the aftermath of a rainy day on Monday
and gale force winds on Tuesday faded into nice sunny weather at
Fall fishing on Kentucky Lake officially begins Saturday morning when
the season arrives on the calendar but fishing conditions have already
been in the fall mode for quite some time.
After an unusual start this week’s fishing scene turned into beautiful
cool mornings where a touch of fog faded into nice sunny days where
light winds made it great for fishing. It appears some nice days are
ahead too as moderate temperatures are in the forecast, a nice scenario
to for the start of autumn angling.
Lake levels have been rising the last few days after areas to our south
received heavy rainfall on Monday. By this weekend elevation will be
about a foot higher that it was last weekend as the reservoir has been
rising a few inches each day.
Projections for the weekend will see lake stages at 357.3 at Kentucky
Dam while upstream at New Johnsonville elevation is expected to be in
the 357.5 range. There is a lot of water flowing through the Tennessee
River system after heavy rains drenched middle and portions of east
Tennessee earlier this week.
Surface temperatures reflected the cooler conditions this week and fell
into the 74 to 76 degree range, which is a few degrees cooler than last
week at this time. Water color remains clear across most of the
reservoir except for a few shoreline and island areas where winds or
boat waves have stirred sediments at times.
Crappie have been hitting pretty good this week with some nice stringers
taken in the 11 to 14 foot depth range at times but several fish
appeared to favor deeper spots and occupied structure in the 14 to 20
foot depth range.
Activity has been best on the cloudy days as fish seemed sluggish a few
mornings after the cool front when mile high skies delivered bluebird
days with no wind, a scenario that can often produce finicky moods. Fish
seemed to hit good in the early morning and later afternoon periods the
last few days but slowed during the midday when a bright sun beamed down
on placid waters.
Action improved whenever light breezes brought ripples but the
combination of high pressure, stagnant winds, and bright sun had crappie
reluctant to bite at times. With stable weather patterns now hanging
around watch for an improvement the next few days as more fish move up
toward shallow venues influenced by rising lake levels.
Baits of choice this week have been red/white combo colored jigs tipped
with minnows but a few black/red and blue/chartreuse combos produced
too. Adding some Berkley crappie nibbles has also enhanced strikes at
Crappie have been holding tight to cover during the bright days and
favoring structure near the drop-off or deeper water. Anglers can expect
some good fishing in the days ahead as this fall crappie fishing kicks
it up a notch.
Bass action has been good this week for anglers working fragmented
grassbeds on shallow ledges. Tossing shallow running crankbaits, fluke
style jerk baits, spinnerbaits and some topwater have paid off. A lot of
sloping flats have submerged grass on them and the fish have been
relating to such areas even though the grass is not visible all the way
to the surface.
Other patterns producing have been thicker grassbeds where weedless
frogs and rats have worked. Tossing worms and spinnerbaits around the
parameters of thick grass have worked too.
Gravel banks are always popular during the fall and some are producing
right now. Casting shad colored crankbaits and swim baits along gravel
when shad are visible has worked well too.
Some boats are still flogging the main lake ledges with big Texas rigged
worms and crankbaits. As surface temps continue to cool the deeper fish
should be moving up toward shallow sides of ledges and that already
appears to be underway.
Some scattered reports from catfishermen continue to trickle in as they
work the riverbank and bottom bounce nightcrawlers and chicken livers
around the 25 to 40 foot depth range. Current should be present next
week as TVA will be pulling water due to the recent surge in lake levels
so that should stimulate the catfish bite.
Great fall weather and fine fishing opportunities await you as this
transition of seasons takes place. It’s quiet on the lake too as not
many boats are out there but those who do not wet a hook in this season
are missing out.
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.