Fall Fishing Scene Off to Good Start; Crappie Bite Is On
Written by Steve McCadams - Published on September 25, 2019
Autumn angling officially kicked in on Monday and a northeast wind early that morning had fishermen reaching for long sleeve shirts. A cool night Sunday saw air temps drop down to 57 degrees in some areas and in did indeed feel like fall had finally arrived.
Kentucky Lake’s fall fishing has gotten started on the right foot for crappie anglers across the reservoir. Bass and catfishing has held up pretty good too, despite an extended period of warm and dry weather.
Surface temperatures this week reflected somewhat cooler nights and shorter days. Readings started out the week in the 79 degree range in the early morning hours and climbed to 81 by midday.
Water color across most of the reservoir is clear. The region is still yearning for rain.
Lake levels are now down to the low ebb of winter pool elevation of 355. That’s a few inches below last week at this time.
Crappie fishing has held up well again this week and shows only positive signs for the approaching month of October. Several limits have been taken lately by anglers targeting the midrange depths of 9 to 12 feet around the Paris Landing area while up Big Sandy some fish were found up in 4 to 5 foot depths.
Most anglers continue to credit their good catches to the use of live minnows and jigs tipped with minnows.
The last few weeks crappie have returned to a structure oriented mood, relating well to submerged cover in the form of manmade fish attractors such as brushpiles and stakebeds.
Some of the better stringers lately have come from anglers vertical fishing the bait of their choice around midrange depths. Structure found near the edge of a drop-offs or ledge have paid the most dividends. Sometimes the fish prefer to be near deep water when lake levels are falling.
Structure near a drop-off or ledge offers crappie the best of both worlds; both deep and shallow water are nearby. Some days if rainy, cloudy conditions are present the fish will move up to shallow cover only to move back when falling lake levels and bright sunny conditions return.
However, stability is the norm during fall fishing on Kentucky Lake so anglers don’t have to play hide and seek very often. Odds are the fish will stay put in an area or region of the lake from one week to another.
Usually the abundance of shad in an area is what lures the fish to any given locale. During fall the predictability of weather patterns and lake levels works in favor of crappie fishermen who can usually find fish staying put from week to week.
When cooler surface temps descend---as they will do in the weeks ahead---the shallow bite usually improves as more schools of shad move up with crappie hot on their trail.
Meanwhile, present day crappie fishing is good for boaters who have found buried treasures consistently occupying areas between the extremes of hot summer hideouts on the deep side of drop-offs and the extremes of shallow backwater bays.
The midrange depths of 9 to 12 feet should continue to yield decent stringers for several more weeks as that’s where the schools of shad will stay for a spell.
Bass anglers are finding a few more fish transitioning toward shallow gravel banks in pursuit of shad that move up in the early morning and late afternoon hours.
Tossing shallow running shad colored crankbaits have been paying off as have some topwater jerk baits. Rattle Trap style lures are also good choices as they allow anglers to cover a lot of water searching for roaming fish that are in pursuit of baitfish schools.
Some bass are moving to shallow flats out on the main lake and back in big bays. A few white bass and small yellow bass can sometimes be seen busting the surface and largemouth are often below helping push the baitfish up to shallows.
Swim baits are popular too and usually trigger strikes from finicky fish.
Some catfish continue to hang around the main river channel in the 25 to 30 foot depth range. A little current had been present along the main channel lately and that stimulated activity. However, now that the reservoir has stabilized at its winter pool elevation not much current will enter the picture.
Fall fishing is alive and well on Kentucky Lake. It’s a great time to be out there but remember to respect the low lake levels and observe the channel markers.