Hot Days Return; Summer Officially Arrives Sunday
Written by Steve McCadams - Published on June 16, 2021
Remember back in the spring when cold north winds and below average temperatures lingered far too long? A lot of anglers said---after freezing out several days in March and April---they wouldn’t complain once hot weather arrived but just this week many of us have eaten those words!
Heat and humidity returned to the fishing scene last week and lingered throughout the weekend. The week kicked off on Monday with highs around 92 degrees and with almost no breeze across the open water of Kentucky Lake it was a scorcher.
Fishermen got a reprieve on Tuesday and lower temps combined with lower humidity to deliver some more enjoyable conditions despite some north wind.
Summer officially arrives on Sunday but it sort of felt like the season changed a few weeks ago once things heated up.
Surface temperatures this week have climbed to the 82 to 83 degree range as the combination of hot days and warm nights had an influence. Water color is clear across the reservoir despite some heavy rains at times across portions of the region.
Lake levels remained stable this week as TVA projected the reservoir’s elevation will stay around the summer pool mark of 359 as the weekend approaches.
A mayfly hatch has already occurred across portions of the reservoir last week and watch for more to keep showing up in the days and weeks ahead.
Both bass and bluegill fishermen sometimes seize the opportunity to fish around a mayfly hatch. The sudden buffet provided by Mother Nature lures several species of fish to shallow banks and island rims when massive mayfly hatches occur.
Bass move up and target the shady overhangs where flies fall from willows to the surface, offering abundant forage opportunities.
Tossing Texas rigged worms or topwater jerk baits can work well in such scenarios as can shallow running crankbaits.
Lots of bluegill move in when the flies hatch and the bass often feed on the smaller fish that are there for the taking.
With warmer surface temperatures already part of the fishing scene a lot of bass fishermen are turning their backs to the banks and targeting main lake ledges, humps and various depth variations in main lake areas.
There has been current at times in the main Tennessee River channel and that enhances the ledge bite as the schools of threadfin and gizzard shad move around more feasting on plankton that gets stirred up by the current.
It’s that time of the year when big 10-inch Texas rigged worms, giant deep diving crankbaits, jig and pig combos, Carolina rigs, huge spoons and swim baits are part of the summer bass angler’s arsenal.
However, the shallow bite has been pretty good lately as the abundance of pin minnow schools relating to visible structure such as buck bushes, treelaps, weedbeds, boat docks and any blowdowns around island rims is attracting minnows.
Seems the summer bite is holding up for shallow bass anglers tossing spinnerbaits, Texas rigged worms and assorted topwater in the early morning and late afternoon hours. Find the minnows and you’ll find the bass.
Catfishing is still holding up with several fish moving up to midrange depths this week it appears. Depths of 12 to 15 feet were holding decent numbers of catfish as crappie anglers trolling crankbaits or vertical fishing manmade fish attractors were tying into them on a regular basis.
Out on the main riverbank anglers still stalking the blue cats in 35 to 45 foot depths were finding that bite still alive and well.
Crappie showed some improvement this week with a few more fish occupying that midrange depths zone of 12 to 14 feet. Some fish were taken in 9 to 12 feet at times too.
Anglers were having to make a lot of stops to chalk up numbers but there were decent size fish taken as several stringers had fish in the 1 to ¼-pound range showing up.
Live minnows are working well and some anglers continue to tip their jigs with minnows to entice bites. Others are still adding Berkley Power Bait to jigs. Popular color combinations have been black/chartreuse and some black/red/gray combos.
Some boats have been pulling crankbaits in main lake areas and targeting the 9 to 14 foot zones. They have found a few scattered crappie and also wrestled with several channel catfish that were prowling the tops of the ledges.
The bluegill bite is changing as most of the fish are now in post-spawn phase and while still biting have scattered a bit. That’s not unusual when mayfly hatches occur and the fish leave bedding areas and move about more.
You can still encounter a lot of bluegill activity but expect to also encounter several small fish mixed in together whereas a few short weeks ago it was mostly larger mature males on beds that kept small fish at bay.
There’s even a few scattered sauger biting at times but a lot of the fish a shy of the minimum length of 15-inches. Still, it’s good to see a few back in the fishing picture as the last several years has not given up many sauger.
In times past the late spring and early summer sauger bite was quite popular as anglers trolled crankbaits around main lake ledges and did well. Let’s hope the sauger rebound and work their way back into the fishing scene.