October Ends on Cool Note for Anglers; Time for Coveralls and Overcoasts
Written by Steve McCadams - Published on October 30, 2019
Fishermen waved goodbye to the pumpkin month this week as October fades away on a cool note. Steady downpours and falling temperatures escorted off the calendar what had been a pretty good month for Kentucky Lake anglers.
Fishermen will face a weather change as the weekend approaches and November begins its short reign on the autumn calendar with an early touch of winter conditions.
Temperatures are forecast to fall into the upper 20's and low 30's at night this weekend with highs struggling to reach the 50-degree mark. Winter weather will pay the region an early visit for a few days but temps are expected to rebound some on Monday and Tuesday of next week.
It's time to dig out the coveralls and overcoats and keep them in the boat, along with gloves to warm those cold hands!
The fishing scene may be tough for a few days in the aftermath of the cold front that began at midweek with wet days.
Surface temperatures this week have been in the normal range of 62 to 63 degrees. Watch for that to fall into the upper 50's in the days ahead. Water color has been clear in the main lake areas with some stain in the upper ends of shallow bays from the runoff.
Lake levels have been normal across the reservoir. Elevation in the Kentucky Dam area was in the 354.8 range at midweek after rising slightly for a few days. Upstream in the Paris Landing and New Johnsonville sector lake stages were rising slowly and may reach 355 by the weekend after sleeping in the low range of 354.1 to start off the week.
Although the fishing scene had to dodge a few wet days late last week and again this week, the overall fall bite has been good for crappie anglers.
Anglers can't complain too much about the weather as most of October---which started out with some record highs the first week of the month only to end on a winter note---has been kind to the fishing scene.
Good stringers of crappie were taken earlier this week from anglers staying with that fall pattern of midrange depths that yielded hefty fish that fell prey to jigs and live minnows. Depths of 8 to 13 feet have been quite productive.
Methods such as vertical presentations of jigs and jigs tipped with minnows paid dividends. Popular jig skirt colors ranged from red/chartreuse to pearl/blue, black chartreuse and some red/black/brown combos at times. Solid body grubs such as Bobby Garland brand have been attractive as have tube styles from Southern Pro fished on 1/16 to 1/8-ounce leadheads.
Hair jigs have produced too, such as the popular Popeye brand jigs. Tipping jigs with Berkley Power Bait has also enhanced strikes when fish were finicky. The chartreuse, pink, and gold colored power bait with sparkles has been popular additions to jig presentations.
Not to be overlooked has been a plain live minnow fished on neutral colored leadheads.
A few boats continued to troll crankbaits with moderate results. However, vertical presentations of live minnows and jigs whether fished along main lake ledges in deeper depths of 15 to 20 feet or targeting midrange depths has been the most productive offering as of late.
A lot of baitfish are present in that midrange depth zone of 8 to 13 feet; thus, the reason for productivity in those depths. Crappie usually find a comfort zone during fall in that midrange depth zone and that's pretty much what's happening.
Expect the aggressive bite to turn sluggish for a few days in the aftermath of northeast winds and falling temps. Hopefully, action will resume by early next week when southwest winds and rising temps return.
Until then, add another log to the fire and ride it out indoors!
Bass fishermen continue to report mediocre activity. A few fish were taken by anglers cashing in on some topwater activity in the early morning and late afternoon hours the last week or so. Also producing were shallow running shad colored crankbaits fished along gravel banks and rocky points.
Spinnerbaits and Texas rigged craws were also accounting for a few fish as bass anglers targeted shallow stickups and submerged stumps located on the main lake near deeper water. Several shallow crappie beds are exposed during low lake levels and have been holding a few bass.
Still popular during the fall months are fan casting main lake flats or the backs of large bays when schools of shad are present. Strike King's Red-eye shad style lures work well as do Rattle Traps and various swim baits that allow anglers to cover a lot of water when searching for roaming bass that might be chasing threadfin and gizzard shad.
A few cold days might be on the horizon but watch for stability to return to the fall fishing scene soon.