Lake Levels 'Yo-Yo'; Instability Continues
Written by Steve McCadams - Published on March 13, 2019
For the last week Kentucky Lake’s elevation has been falling fast as TVA really pulled the plug in the aftermath of recent flooding across the region. The reservoir crested about ten days ago some thirteen feet above normal winter pool in some places. Stability, however, is not in the cards. After falling fast for several consecutive days it appears the reservoir will actually head back up by this coming weekend. The roller coaster ride for lake levels continues! TVA had projected pulling the lake back down to winter pool a few days ago but that projection has been revised. At midweek the elevation at Kentucky Dam was projected to be 356.6 but after a crest it will now rise to a level of 358.2 by this weekend. Normal winter pool elevation is 355. There’s been a lot of current in the main Tennessee River channel lately needless to say. However, the falling lake levels have pulled a lot of muddy and dingy water out of bays and from the upper end of Big Sandy and West Sandy. Water color is actually pretty good for fishing in the Paris Landing sector and up Big Sandy. Same goes for most big bays all the way from Blood River south into Tennessee toward New Johnsonville. Surface temperatures have been staying in the 48 to 51 degree range but will warm a few degrees by this weekend. Temps are forecast to be in the 70-degree range by the end of the week but fall back to the low to mid 50’s by the weekend and stay cool through early next week. With the warm up often comes high winds too. March wind was kind to anglers earlier this week but showed its ugly face at midweek with gusts in the 20 mile per hour range once south winds returned. White caps replaced placid waters for a few days. Although the recent flooding saga is now history, folks along the reservoir were just beginning to mop up the damage where driftwood and all sorts of debris had washed up along shorelines, campgrounds, boat ramps and resorts. Still, it was good to see the reservoir returning back to its near normal range after all the mess. Crappie and bass anglers wasted no time in bouncing back too, hitting the lake earlier this week and shaking the dust off their tackle. Although not a lot of boats were out and about, those who did managed to find a few crappie playing their game. Some decent numbers were taken by anglers fishing main lake ledges in depths of 18 to 20 feet. Both live minnows and jigs paid dividends. Popular jig skirt colors ranged from pink/chartreuse to bubble gum/blue fished on loud color painted leadheads such as florescent green, red and orange variations. The overall bite may improve in midrange depths soon as crappie normally begin to move up in mid-March. Once surface temps warm into the mid to upper 50’s the transition should kick in. However, a few more warm sunny days will need to enter the picture before that happens. Until surface temps climb a bit look for most of the crappie to continue staging in deeper depths such as main lake ledges or deeper creek channels within the mouth of big bays. A blitz toward midrange depths will occur soon once spring weather returns. Spring officially arrives on Wednesday, March 20. Already showing signs of the seasonal changes are Bradford Pear trees with their white blooms. Dogwoods aren’t blossoming just yet. Meanwhile, bass anglers anxious to resume action along Kentucky Lake have been out tossing crankbaits, Texas rigged craws and jig and pig combos around rock banks and gravel points. A few were taken this week along steeper banks and rip-rap areas. Some boats were playing the current and targeting spots where water moving across points or hitting rock banks had appeal. Current perhaps pushed baitfish and other forage in such locales. Tossing Rattle Traps in the Firetiger color and similar variations were producing as were various deep running crankbaits along rock banks, roadbeds and around bridge piers. Suspending jerk baits have also been popular choices in the mid-March arsenal for bass anglers. Some of Kentucky Lake’s biggest bass are taken in the month of March each year. The females are putting on the feed bag in preparation for the pre-spawn phase. The days and weeks ahead should give up some hefty stringers. With lake levels continuing to “yo-yo” and unstable weather patterns dominating the weather forecasts anglers will continue to play the cards dealt. Spring fever is running rampart. However, the month of March is always unpredictable. Things are headed in the right direction as anglers keep their fingers crossed for the return of warm weather and rising surface temperatures. Lake levels may be throwing a little curve to the fishing scene but soon that will settle down. Keep the raingear, overcoat and sunscreen handy! March is a month when, at times, you’ll need all three!