Anglers Wave Goodbye to Stubborn Summer
Written by Steve McCadams - Published on September 19, 2018
Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene is waving goodbye to a stubborn summer. Autumn angling starts Saturday as that’s the official change of seasons. For a legion of disgruntled bass, crappie and catfish anglers it’s not a bit too soon. Most are anxious to put the hot and humid weather in their rearview mirror. With the arrival of autumn traditionally comes improved fishing conditions as cooler days and nights influence cooler surface temperatures across the reservoir and that sort of rejuvenates both the fish and the fishermen. Jacket mornings and shirt sleeve afternoons seem to improve the overall atmosphere. Fall is indeed a great season for a variety of reasons, namely stable weather conditions and lake levels along with uncrowded boat ramps and fishing spots. People seemed to enjoy fishing fish more than fighting a crowd! Also on the list of attributes is improved fishing for several species that seem to respond favorably to the cooler surface temperatures. Although some above average temperatures descended and lingered this week, odds are their stay is limited as cool nights are fast approaching. Surface temperatures this week started out around 78 to 79 degrees in the morning and warmed to 82 degrees by midday. Hopefully, cooler days will soon enter the forecast along with a little rain. Lake levels have fluctuated this week by a few inches which is uncharacteristic for mid to late September. After rising several inches since last week TVA quickly began pulling water through Kentucky Dam and the elevation is now falling a few inches each day. The lake had a little surge late last week but crested by the weekend and began falling slowly. TVA is projecting an elevation of 356.6 by this weekend at Kentucky Dam, which is down more than a foot since late last week. Lake levels upstream around New Johnsonville will be around 356.4 and also falling. Crappie anglers are still struggling to put together consistent patterns and productive depth ranges. Some fish were taken this week by boaters slow trolling Road Runners along main lake ledges around depths of 10 to 14 feet. Other patterns such as spider rigging and slow trolling crankbaits produced some scattered fish but no big numbers. Those vertical fishing jigs and jigs tipped with live minnows had similar results as fish were finicky and reluctant to bite at times. Several small fish were taken but numbers of keeper size crappie continue evade fishermen. Watch for improvement in the weeks ahead, however. Once surface temps dip down into the low to mid 70’s crappie should show more interest and begin to move up to midrange depths. That pattern started to materialize last week but hot weather returned and slowed the transition. Bass anglers are also experiencing tough times. Some low weights have been recorded lately in bass tournaments up and down the reservoir, a clear indication the bite has been off. Boaters have been trying shallow gravel banks and also searching around boat houses, piers and roadbeds in hopes of finding some shallow fish. Results have been hard to come by. Those backing off the banks and stalking main lake ledges in a typical summer pattern have also found steep hills to climb. Deep ledges and sandbars haven’t given up buried treasures either. Some fish have been taken on crankbaits, spoons and Texas rigged worms but there hasn’t been consistency among the ranks. A few shad were seen on shallow flats around 3 to 5 foot depths and that should lure some roaming bass. Tossing Rattle Trap style lures should help anglers cover a lot of water while searching for open water roaming bass. Catfishing improved slightly this week thanks to increased current. The moving water seemed to stimulate some shad movement and the catfish responded favorably at times. Depths of 30 to 35 feet were producing. Baits such as nightcrawlers, chicken liver and some big minnows were producing. Now that fall has officially arrived the fishing scene should heat up a bit as temps cool. Anglers are overdue for some good days out there and the coming weeks should hold up to fall’s reputation as a good time to be on the lake.