Spring Has Sprung; Anglers Wave Goodbye To Weird Winter
Written by Steve McCadams - Published on March 20, 2019
It’s official! Spring has actually sprung. Winter switched places on the calendar Wednesday, coinciding with some nice spring weather too. Sunny days this week have warmed things up. Included in the rise has been the degree of fishing pox for Kentucky Lake anglers anxious to get the show on the road. After weeks of inclement weather, fishermen finally got several days of decent conditions that have improved their attitude. The fish are showing positive mood swings too. A few more success stories are coming in this week from crappie anglers stalking the big bays and open water areas. Bass fishermen are also showing a little pep in their step thanks to some decent stringers taken this week. Surface temperatures are starting out around 51 degrees each morning and warming to the 55 degree range at midday. By this weekend temps should increase even more. Water color remains dingy across most of the reservoir but some bays are sporting a decent color for fishing. Falling lake levels are pulling a lot of the muddy water out of the upper Big Sandy basin and West Sandy. In the Paris Landing area main lake zones are still a bit dingy but improving. The main Tennessee River channel has a lot of muddy water moving through as strong currents are still present. TVA has been pushing a lot of water through Kentucky Dam this week. Floating debris is still present across open water areas. Lake levels at midweek were dancing around the 355.5 range (355 is normal winter pool range). That’s down quite a bit from last week at this time. TVA projects levels to stabilize somewhat by this weekend, which is a welcomed change for most fishermen. Looks like bass and crappie anglers have some decent days ahead. Temps are warming each day with a little cool snap and slight chances of rain in the extended forecast but nothing too drastic. A few crappie anglers stalking deep main lake areas found some fish occupying ledges and brushpiles around the 20-foot depth range. Although some boats attempted to find fish in shallow flats and back in bays, most of the fish have been holding in deeper water. Once lake levels stabilize in the next few days crappie should begin to move up to midrange depths. Warming surface temperatures plus stable lake levels should trigger some movement this next week. Anglers are hoping north winds and cool snaps stay away for a spell and allow this spring weather to do its thing. Still, most fishermen know the honeymoon with nice warm spring weather in March is a short one! Things can change quickly once high north winds enter the picture and upset the apple cart. Cold front are known to come and go quickly this time of year. That’s why anglers best take their overcoat, raincoat and sunscreen along with them this time of year. You never know which one you’ll need on any given day! Prepare for the worst; hope for the best. Meanwhile, early spring crappie fishermen will see a lot of movement these next few weeks as fish enter the prespawn phase. Fish will stair-step their way toward midrange flats soon, leaving deep water venues that provided them a comfort zone during cold weather. Watch for more activity in the 9 to 14 foot zones by next week. The dingy water color now present across most of the reservoir will warm quickly once sunny days linger. Transition time will soon be underway. Most of the fish taken this week have come from fishermen using vertical techniques along deep ledges. Both live minnows and jigs have worked. Popular jig skirt colors have ranged from pink/chartreuse to blue/chartreuse with glitter. Painted leadheads have been popular too but a variety of colors requires some experimentation this time of year, both for jig heads and skirt selection. Bass activity is rebounding after the high water and cold weather spell that sort of had the overall fishing scene off to a sluggish start. Early March was brutal but things are on the upswing and a recent tournament held Saturday out of Paris Landing State Park required the top three teams to have 20-pound plus stringers! Big fish of the day was 6 ½ pounds. Most anglers are tossing crankbaits around big chunk rock point and along gravel banks. Suspending crankbaits were popular too as were Rattle Traps and Red-eye Shad style baits. Productive colors ranged from blue/chartreuse to firetiger and crawfish variations. Jig and craw combos are always popular this time of year along rocky banks and rip-rap areas too. Some boaters were tossing Texas rigged lizards and craws with an occasional temptation to throw big gold leaf spinnerbaits. Anglers can expect lake levels to settle down and hang around the 355 range for a week to ten days before TVA begins it curve toward reservoir filling. The schedule for lake levels to rise slowly starts April 1 each year. The goal of summer pool (359) elevation is scheduled for May 1. Embrace the warmer days now upon us as the change of seasons brings fishing fever to all anglers. Let the games begin!