Summer Temps Arrive Early for Anglers; Catfish/Bluegill Bite Good
Written by Steve McCadams - Published on May 26, 2021
Summer temperatures arrived a bit early this week for late spring anglers who got a pretty good dose of heat and humidity while out there on the water.
The rising temps seemed to have a positive impact on the spawning phases of bluegill this week as the warm spell coincided with a full moon at midweek and the scenario stimulated a mood swing. Bull bream seemed to take on a more aggressive mood the last few days and the bite improved.
Once rising temperatures arrived it seemed to stimulate active spawning phases and the males took on a more protective attitude. That worked in favor of fishermen as a full moon in May is known to activate bedding activity anyway.
Increased number of nice bull bluegill were caught this week by anglers tossing crickets, redworms and wax worms around shallow weeds and shoreline bushes. A few redear were taken as well but it has been mostly bluegill for the legion of panfishermen casting light tackle armed with slip bobber style setups.
Anglers should see another week or two of decent bluegill fishing before they scattered somewhat and enter the post spawn phase. Until then best hit the lake and partake of this great fishing phase.
Bluegill on the bed will cure whatever ails you as that bobber disappearing never seems to go out of style. Whether you’re 8 or 88 years of age makes no difference. Seeing a bobber disappear will return your youth for at least a day or two when under the spell of these aggressive panfish.
Meanwhile, lake levels have experienced minor fluctuations this week and TVA was projecting an elevation in the range of 359.2 for the Memorial Day weekend in the Kentucky Dam sector. Surface temperatures have reflected the hot days and warm nights and have climbed to the 74 to 76 degree range across the reservoir.
Warmer days have sent bass anglers out toward deeper water in an attempt to located post-spawn fish transitioning toward humps and main lake ledges.
Some fish have been taken out there too on days when some current stimulated the ledge bite. Moving water always seems to increase movement of shad schools and that enhances the ledge style of fishing.
Several anglers were opting to keep pitching and flipping shoreline structure where some buck bushes and willow trees were producing decent fish. From pitching Texas rigged craws and worms to lizards and jig and craw combo anglers opting for the shallow pattern were scoring.
Some small schools of pin minnows were observed by anglers working both island rims and bushes in the backs of bays. The schools of shad fry were small but the observation is a good sign for the weeks ahead as that should provide a good forage base and attract fish to shallow cover as summer approaches.
Out on the main lake ledges anglers are already tossing big crankbaits and covering a lot of water in their quest to locate some bass that have already backed off the banks and began their summer holding patterns.
Catfish have been biting this week and some hefty stringers were taken along the main river channel when current was present. Depths of 35 to 50 feet have given up a lot of fish recently as most anglers were bottom bumping double hook rigs armed with nightcrawlers or chicken livers at times.
Not all the fish have gone deep yet as some bank fishermen working rocky banks were still encountering plenty of fish. Some late spawners were still relating to rip-rap rock banks and rocky bluffs at times.
A few crappie were taken in depths of 12 to 14 feet at times but the fish have been scattered for most anglers. Most fishermen were vertical fishing live minnows and jigs around midrange depths and picking up scattered fish at times around manmade fish attractors.
With rising surface temperatures now entering the picture look for more crappie to reside in the midrange depths of 12 to 15 feet in the weeks ahead. The bite should improve as June is a month with stability as to weather and lake levels and the crappie will better relate to structure in the weeks ahead.