Lake Conditions:  Fair - 57° / Lake Temperature  76° - 359.45'
Cadiz, Kentucky
Cadiz, Kentucky
Cadiz, Kentucky
Closer Than You Think

Mixed Crappie Fishing Results on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley

Written by Doug Wynn - Published on April 19, 2021

Hey Y’all from the Excel Storm Cat 230.

This has been a week of variety but not necessarily all good. Fishing on Kentucky Lake has been up and down with several great crappie.

I fished Barkley on Wednesday and Thursday with very poor results. I pride myself with working my butt off to give my clients the best trip and best results possible. In fishing that doesn’t always work out. It should never be from lack of effort.

We had rain Wednesday and cooler weather conditions. The new top for the Storm Cat was welcome all day. It was welcome on Thursday in sunny but very rough lake conditions.

A run from Prizer Point Marina to Eddy Bay was a carnival ride with 4-foot waves. It is never my intention to get out into seas like that but once we get caught when the wind whips up, I have no choice but to get back to safe harbor. My group of four included an 80-year-old gentleman who took it all in stride. The top and windshield wipers kept us dry and on course.

We did have some excitement Wednesday when a hook-up that started out like a hang-up ended up being an adventure when my Pico crankbait made its way into the open mouth of an Asian carp of considerable size.

The fight was memorable, but the netting was terrifying. My Crappie Monster Outlaw net was about half as big as I needed to get the fish into the boat. Two attempts to snare it ended up with it swimming away from the boat, still hooked.

The third try found me trying to pin it to the transom when the crankbait separated from our quarry. It was do or die time, but I was able to get the fish wadded up in the net with 1/3 of its body still out. The gentleman who hooked it crawled over my rod platform and got a hold on the frame of the net and dragged it aboard.

If you have never had a 20-plus pound Asian carp flopping in the floor of your boat, throwing blood and slime everywhere, I recommend you try it sometime. A couple of pictures and it made its way to the ice box where it later became a bad demonstration of me trying to fillet it around all those bones.

I love the taste of Asian carp and compare it favorably to cod in texture and flavor. The issue is all those Y-bones. Obviously, I need to practice on my carp cleaning skills.

The crankbaits have produced every day on Kentucky Lake, mostly not big numbers but great quality. The best Pico colors have been Pink Splatter, Zombie, MudBug, and Chrome Clown. Bomber 6As and some custom cranks have also connected.

Many we have caught have been in more than 20 feet of water. The fish are in a state of confusion with continuing cold fronts passing through, sandwiched by sunny and some windy days. We may see surface temps in the high 60s in late afternoon, then right back to the very low 60s after a cool night.

The lake level seems to have stabilized enough for some crappie to feel comfortable in shallow water areas like stake beds. I look for the cold temperatures forecast for mid-week to slow the onset of the bulk of the spawn for some time, perhaps a week. I have heard reports of a very few crappie being caught that show signs of already having spawned. We can all hope stable water levels prevail this spring during the spawn.

Saturday found me with a group of five gentlemen celebrating the upcoming wedding of one of the group. The proud Groom-To-Be caught the largest crappie of the year so far.

It took us a while to sort out the logistics of five being able to participate equally while dragging cranks. We did great until operator error while running the I-Pilot Ultrex trolling motor would cause us to make 90-degee or more turns.

Then it would be several minutes cutting K9 fluorocarbon line to separate all the baits. I miss my I-Pilot Link on my Ulterra trolling motors that are in the shop. I can tell them where to go and they will steer us there while my time is occupied elsewhere.

I swear this Ultrex is possessed by the spirit of a spoiled child. I look away while on a steady course and it does what it wants to do and manages to steer this way and that, none of which are where we want to be heading. An I-Pilot Link head is on order for the Ultrex.

I’m hoping we will soon see the end of these cold fronts. April 27th is the full moon for April but for all my travels, I’m yet to see signs of very much bedding activity for either Redears or bluegills. I am getting a lot of interest in trips for those this season and hopefully by the full moon in May, the water will have warmed up and we will have broken out our shorts and short sleeves.

I did get a text from Glenn Foreman, the owner of MudBuddy and Excel Boats. He was in town at the new factory in Union City, Tenn. and decided to take me up on an invitation to try out my style of crappie fishing in my modified Storm Cat.

The Storm Cat line was designed for tournament catfishing. I saw it as a platform that would be very stable for my clients, many who are not comfortable on a raised rear deck or the confines of a center console Bay Pro.

As soon as I got it home from Mountain View, Arkansas, I proceeded to personalize it for my needs. Glenn was interested in not only fishing out of it, but also talking to me in depth about why I made the changes I did and what changes I would like to see in their future models.

For those who know me well... you don’t ask my opinion unless you are willing to listen at length to what my opinion is. Glenn was all ears. By the way, we caught several nice crappie including his personal best crappie ever.

Being from the Pacific Northwest and fishing for salmon, sturgeon, steelheads, and such, I was afraid he wouldn’t enjoy crappie trolling. He ended up looking in my tackle for baits he thought would be effective for walleye. I sent him home with some. That’s why companies enlist the help of Pro Staffers like me.

Be careful out there. Boat traffic is picking up even though I’m yet to see the first jet-ski of the season. I know it won’t be long. Wear your PFDs. Watch out for those who won’t watch out for you.

I’m completely booked up for April but have a few dates left in May. June is a great month to learn how to troll cranks for crappie.

Welcome to our slice of Heaven!

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