Lake Conditions:  Overcast - 70° / Lake Temperature  82° - 359.30'
Cadiz, Kentucky
Cadiz, Kentucky
Cadiz, Kentucky
Closer Than You Think

Interest in Redear and Bluegill High This Year

Written by Doug Wynn - Published on May 20, 2021

A special Hello from the Excel Storm Cat 230.

Miss Vicki is recouping well from her surgery and felt well enough today to make a short fishing trip to Lake Barkley. It was her first time to fish from the Storm Cat. She had ridden in it a couple of hours during the engine break-in but never fished from it. She made the best of a cloudy and windy day.

Vicki is one of the best at pulling cranks for crappie and anything else even though she doesn’t like catfish. Today we got into a bunch of some of the largest white bass I’ve seen in a decade plus some nice crappie. PICO INTs in Purple Splatter and Yellow Jacket were the top baits.

I finished up a trip Tuesday with a hug from a great Lady from Ohio and her husband (no hug from him). As I got ready to head up to the parking lot to back my trailer in at Sportsman’s, I was stopped by four different people. Each asked about how fishing was, but each also wanted to know how Vicki was doing.

She got the 20 staples out of her neck Monday afternoon and is feeling much better. She and I both want to express our heartfelt appreciation for all the prayers, texts, PMs, message on media, calls, cards, and folks stopping by our table when we are out to eat.

Vicki and I both are so grateful that the issue was discovered and surgery was successful. Had it not been found when it was, the results could have been tragic. I want Vicki to be my fishing buddy for many more years!

We are finally seeing the surface temperatures reach 70 degrees. The crappie we have been catching on Kentucky Lake have spawned but not on Lake Barkley. I talked to Adam Martin of KY Fish and Wildlife a couple of days ago and we both agreed this spring has all been turned upside down. Barkley spawn will normally occur before Kentucky Lake. Lets all be hoping for great spawns since we’ve had reasonably stable water levels.

Crappie have been in a post-spawn funk on Kentucky Lake for several days. We are still catching some nice fish, just not in the numbers of a couple of weeks ago. The saving grace has been the number of sauger we are catching and the huge numbers of catfish, blues and channels.

I hear so many folks express their extreme surprise when a keeper sauger or two shows up in their catch. Lots of short sauger are being caught, too. Please keep the 14-inch size limit for sauger in mind.

I had a reader contact me a few days ago and he was excited about catching a 15-inch keeper sauger and a few more over 14 inches he released, thinking the size limit was 15 inches. Those will still be hanging around for a while until they head for the depths for summer.

Crank baits have been on the menu on the Storm Cat daily. My clients love to tear into a 5-pound catfish with 80 feet of line out and the boat moving ahead at 1.8 mph. Some days the bulk of our catch have been catfish with some bass, sauger, perch, and even a 3-foot spotted gar coming aboard (not for long!).

The catfish are definitely moving toward spawning areas of sandy or gravel bottoms. Rocky banks and points as well as areas of rip-rap will all hold spawning catfish. One doesn’t have to take the heaviest of tackle for cats and since they are amazing fighters, the sport of catching them is even more fun on light to medium tackle.

My late Father loved for us to go to the roadbed areas of Lake Barkley armed with medium bass type tackle, slip bobbers, and a box of nightcrawlers. Many times, we caught big catfish in areas that wouldn’t have gotten our knees wet had we chosen to wade them.

While all our catfish have been taken on cranks, most any natural bait or something that smells so bad your wife won’t let you keep it in the fridge, will catch hungry catfish.

There is a ton of interest this year in bluegills and redears. I get all kinds of questions about what they are doing, when the spawn will peak, and how to catch them. I’d be lying if I said I had been after them very seriously yet.

The full moon is coming on the 26th and that should be the premier time to be after them. Check out shallow inlets with deeper water nearby. Bays and creeks with channels flowing in and sandy bottom with gravel scattered in will be the prime place to start.

Several folks l’ve talked to while they clean gills have been fishing very shallow but not catching many large gills or redears. I always start my hunt in eight feet of water or so and fan cast the area with long casts, dragging my bait along the bottom until I find a bedding area. Bedding gills in deeper water will almost always be bigger gills.

New in my arsenal of gill seeking devices is my Humminbird Mega 360. It produces a picture that is a Mega side image in a continuous circle. I can set it out to 100 feet and scan every inch of the bottom checking for active beds.

Active beds will appear as crater, similar to those on the moon on side scan. The beds that contain fish will have a white or lighter line in the bed. Those are the beds of spawning fish. The redear beds will be deeper and normally slightly away from the bluegills.

Boat traffic has picked up daily and the bravest of souls are showing up on jet skis in the cool water. Please be careful out there! Wear your PFDs. I will say many of my clients choose not to wear them but zero of them have not been offered one. Step into my boat and there will be a PFD in or on your seat.

Many times, the clients will start out not wearing theirs until they see the chop and waves the Kentucky Lake is famous for, then they decide to put theirs on and tighten the straps. Any time my engine is above trolling speed, my auto-inflatable vest and kill switch will be on. That goes back to my bass tournaments days of a previous life.

I still have a few open dates in June but very few. I’m getting calls from clients who fished with me recently and want to book again. Let me tell you, that makes my old heart warm, knowing I must be doing it the right way.

Welcome to our slice of Heaven!

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