December 18, 2014 - by Kentucky Lake Guide Steve McCadams
COOL WEATHER CRAPPIE HITTING GOOD
Anglers have been chalking up some pretty good crappie stringers lately here on Kentucky Lake as this late fall fishing gig has been a pretty good one.
The last two weeks of mild weather where the lion’s share of days offered light winds have played right into the hands of late fall fishermen stalking the stakebeds and brushpiles. Depths of 10 to 13 feet have been quite productive.
Fall is fading fast as the change of seasons occurs on Sunday when winter officially kicks in and chases autumn off the calendar. A cool snap now underway has brought a temporary hiatus to the fine fishing conditions but odds are anglers will have more moderate days return again soon.
Earlier this fall crappie were a bit scattered and finicky. However, anglers report numbers increased lately and the size has been good too. Decent stringers were taken lately at the mouth of Big Sandy in the Paris Landing area and also up Big Sandy around the Mansard Island area and in to West Sandy as well.
Surface temperatures this week have been in the 49 to 50 degree range. Water color has been clearing and falling lake levels pulled most of the stain out of bays and creeks.
Lake levels forecast for the weekend show the reservoir will stabilize and sleep at winter pool barring any heavy rains in the next few days. TVA really pulled the plug the last week to ten days after a surge that saw the lake jump over two feet after heavy rains earlier in the month.
Presently, lake levels are in the 354.5 range at both Kentucky Dam and upstream at New Johnsonville, which is somewhat below the normal winter pool mark of 355.
With the mild weather keeping surface temperatures somewhat above normal for this time of year crappie have found a comfort zone in the midrange depths and pretty much camped out there the last couple of weeks.
Once colder weather arrives and pulls surface temperatures down odds are several fish will transition toward deeper ledges out on the main lake. Until that happen crappie fishermen should enjoy continued success. The fish will move quite a bit as to their depth range this time of year if warmer weather comes and goes.
The mild temperatures appeal to baitfish and the shad will continue to hang out in midrange depths until cold weather pushes them deep.
Most of December has been pretty mild and while duck hunters have been praying for colder weather and brisk north winds, the conditions have suited anglers just fine.
Local anglers have the benefit of picking their days this time of year and dodging the cool snaps and windy days in favor of warmer times when light and variable winds descend.
Winter crappie fishing doesn’t have to be cold and miserable. When mild days return and the fish show up with an appetite it warms the heart when poles bend and the bite is on!