Lake Conditions:  Fair - 81° / Lake Temperature  85° - 359.08'
Cadiz, Kentucky
Cadiz, Kentucky
Cadiz, Kentucky
Closer Than You Think

Lakes' Future Looking Very Promising for Anglers

Written by Doug Wynn - Published on June 10, 2021

Hey Folks from the Excel Storm Cat 230. Busy! Busy! Busy! would best describe my life right now. Very few days off between trips and throw in a Saturday tournament and it’s no rest for the wicked.

Justin Elder and I had the pleasure of fishing the West TN Crappie Trail event on Lake Barkley out of Dover on Saturday. We were accompanied by Carson Sinclair of Excel Boats. Excel is doing some promotional stuff with their Pro Staff and tournament teams.

Carson rode with us all day to film and experience a tournament from start to fishing. Thanks to the great folks at Crappie Masters for allowing him to ride along as an observer. The young man got an education in crappie cranking 101.

As somebody who hadn’t crappie fished, everything was new to Carson and many things called for questions and explanations. Justin is a people-person like me, and the day went smoothly EXCEPT for tons of floating debris, boat traffic, afternoon south wind on a long boat ride, and putting up with my driving while Justin snoozed the trip back to Dover away.

Fishing was very slow compared to what we had experienced just a few days earlier. We had to spend a lot more time than we would have liked trying to coax the crappie to come out and play. We finally hit a few quality fish right in the middle of typical Barkley Saturday bedlam.

One of those crappie ended up winning us the Big Fish prize for the event. As has been the case all late spring, Pico cranks along with a couple of others proved to be the ticket. The bait colors were all over the spectrum.

Kentucky Lake seems to have eased into the early summer feast or famine routine. It seems when we catch good numbers, the quality is lacking. When the quality is there, it is really there.

Last Friday I had the pleasure of hosting Linda and Jeff from Nevada. This was interesting for the reason I was born in Nevada and had never taken clients from there fishing. We had a great day with personal bests all over the place. Jeff caught a 6 pound plus largemouth and they both caught PB crappie.

We had a wonderful day and Linda got to catch her sauger she sought so bad PLUS a bald eagle landed just a few yards from us on one of our trolling passes. She had hoped that would happen but since I have very little influence there, it was a great photo opportunity for her.

Meeting new people and hearing their stories is one of the huge benefits of what I do. I get to know them and hopefully they will feel like they know me by the end of the trip. I don’t live a very interesting life in my eyes but to many, they are very envious of me doing what I do and getting paid for it.

It’s all those many hours before and after trips plus on my days off that folks never see and many never consider. Spooling new K9 Fluorocarbon on my reels, sorting my disastrous collection of baits, replacing hooks, constantly checking weather forecasts, cleaning and setting the boat up for the next trip, you name it makes my typical day run from 4 am until I crash and burn, hopefully by 9pm.

I’ll have folks come up to me and say it must be nice going fishing every day. I don’t go fishing. I take my clients fishing. I just run the boat and net the fish. Catching is for the guests.

Sunday found me very happy. I can put the top up and we can all tuck under it during showers. My clients were from Cleveland, OH and we really had a good time. The fish cooperated for the most part and even though we had rain, the wind was light and they left with a couple of quart bags of fillets. Monday, reality set in as it always does after a front moves thru. The quality of our crappie went down but at least they did bite enough to make it interesting.

Today found us on the main lake in an area that I catch a lot of post-spawn crappie. We lined up on a ledge and in less than 400 yards had a 14 incher and a 15 incher. I’m superstitious of catching big fish very early in a trip and those proved to be the largest of the trip, but a mixed bag of several species made for a good trip and new friends. We had to cover a lot of water.

What I’m seeing on these lakes has me encouraged. The sauger have made a HUGE comeback and I couldn’t be happier. Most we are catching are just short of keeper size and are released as quickly as possible. The sauger are very healthy. This is something I have wished for decades. Sauger trolling is where my passion for trolling started a couple of generations ago.

I’m seeing lots of just short of keeper sized crappie show up. Many of those should grow to 10 inches by fall. One thing I’m hopeful for but not convinced of is the reappearance of bait schools, or baitballs. I’m seeing some loose clouds on my Helix units that appear to be shad and I’m seeing some “flipping” action in shallow water areas.

While I’m spending my time in deep, offshore areas, the young shad should still be close to shallow cover for a while. We need an abundance of shad and other small food fish for these lakes to return to their past glory. I can always wish for the reappearance of the aquatic grasses and plants of the late 80s.

It's off to the land of the giants for Vicki and me. More on that later.

Please be careful out there. Wear your PFDs. Watch out for those who refuse to watch out for you. Help those who need help. Leave the alcohol on the bank.

Welcome to our slice of Heaven!

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