Lake Conditions:  Fair - 77° / Lake Temperature  85° - 359.13'
Cadiz, Kentucky
Cadiz, Kentucky
Cadiz, Kentucky
Closer Than You Think

Fishing Picking Up; Redears and Gills Starting to Bite

Written by Doug Wynn - Published on May 3, 2021

Hello from the Excel Storm Cat 230. It has been a week of decent fishing and hopes for better.

Crappie are finally starting to spawn on the north end of the lakes. The water temperatures are now approaching 70 degrees most afternoons. We just need some 70-degree nights to get the spawn going wide open.

I am seeing and hearing of some good redear and bluegill catches but they are sporadic at best. Redears will spawn first, and some big females have been showing up in rocky shallow areas.

Popeye jigs with waxworms or redworms on drop-shot rigs seem to be working best. The bait must be right at or slightly above the bottom.

I know I’ve stressed this before, but one can’t be too stealthy with redears. I was talking to a guy this week who was complaining about finding some good bluegills and redears mixed but the bite was over very quickly.

As I questioned him about his tactics, the word "anchor" came up.

Seems he had anchored right among the biting fish and the bite stopped. I cannot say this enough and the late Jack Devor stressed it also - do not drop your anchor closer than a long cast distance from a bedding area.

Redears especially will not tolerate a boat overhead in shallow bedding areas. You should locate the bedding area then back off several feet away before considering dropping your anchor, putting down power-poles or even Spot Lock.

Long casts will have the best results. Sometimes you are better off leaving a bedding area and letting it settle down before actually coming back and fishing for spawning gills. If your chosen area is a "community hole", you have little choice but to start fishing it soon.

On that note, I have noticed every year the courtesy shown to fishermen by other fishermen has become a thing of the past. If somebody is fishing a small area, leave them alone and go find another area to try. A few years ago, a friend and I found bedding bluegills and redears in the back of a very narrow arm of a larger bay.

We anchored bow and transom and started catching some very nice fish. Soon, we were attracting a crowd. More than once, boats tried to wiggle past us in an area that wasn’t much wider than my boat was long. If those boats had moved past us, the bite would have been over for everyone.

I love to catch fish as much as the next guy but I’m not going to be rude or pushy to others to do it. I expect the same from others. More than once this spring I have had boats move along side of mine so they could gauge where I was fishing along a channel or area of structure then move immediately in front of me, causing me to have to turn away from the path I was on to avoid hitting their boat.

I have feelings too and much of my temper from my youth and such actions get me upset when I am trying to have the best catch possible for my clients. Let’s be considerate of others!

Our best catches have come from deep flats along channels and in areas of scattered cover in 12-20 feet of water. I think the fish we have been targeting are those who are just hanging out, waiting for the prime water temperatures so they can move shallower to spawn.

We haven’t been seeing big numbers, but the quality has been exceptional this spring. We are also catching many more short crappie than in several years. I look at this as a sign of good times to come as many of these short crappie will be 10 inch crappie this fall.

I grew up trolling these lakes for sauger. We are starting to see a noted reappearance of good numbers and good quality of sauger on our crankbaits. Please keep in mind that sauger on Kentucky and Barkley Lakes must be 14 inches or longer to keep.

Also keep in mind that not only must one watch out for that mouth full of teeth, but the most lethal part of a sauger is their razor-sharp gill plates.

Go to take a sauger off a hook and it will instantly flare those gill plates. I have been cut badly more than once over the years by sauger.

May should bring good times on the lakes as the recreational traffic picks up, school is out many places, and warmer water brings increased fish activity. Please be considerate of others. Please stop and try to help those who have broken down boats.

I see boats being towed several times a week. Wear your PFDs. Remember the new law says you MUST have your kill-switch attached to your person when above idle speed in your boat. Leave the alcohol on the bank for after your day on the water. Let’s be careful out there!

Friday my wife and best fishing buddy, Vicki, will undergo surgery. If you have a minute, offer up a prayer for her and the doctors and nurses who will attend to her. She has been nursemaid for me recently through several surgeries so now I get to return the favor.

Welcome to our slice of Heaven!

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