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

Crappie Were on Fire Last Week, Then Went on Vacation

Written by Doug Wynn - Published on June 23, 2021

Hello from the Excel Storm Cat. What just happened?? The crappie have mostly gone on vacation to parts unknown. One day it is gangbusters, the next day it is Death Valley.

Late last week saw some of the best catches of the year then it slowed down to barely any crappie of keeper size. We are seeing the newly hatched shad start to move offshore as well as some willow fly hatches. The bigger hatches are coming soon.

Crappie will gorge themselves with both the larvae willow fly as they emerge from the lake bottom and the adults who make the mistake of getting too close to the water. It seems every kind of fish benefit from these hatches, but they can throw a huge monkey wrench into our crappie catching plans.

More food sources mean the tried and true trolling methods are less likely to attract crappie that are already full of their new food source. We saw the same thing a few years ago when we had a huge cicada hatch.

Even crappie were full of them. Nature adjusts to the easiest food source available. Sitting there waiting for willow flies to emerge from the lake bottom is much easier than chasing a 1.7mph minnow imitation. Catfish are slowing down too for the same reasons.

Thank goodness for the sauger. We are catching a higher percentage of keepers as we get further into the season. Please remember, these best tasting fish in the lake have a 14-inch size limit, 6 keeper fish per person per day. If you are interested in trying for some sauger, deep diver cranks like Pico INTs trolled along main lake channel breaks or in bays along deep banks should draw strikes.

Sauger will explode on a bait then feel like a slight weight on your line if they are hooked in the mouth. Sauger have a hard mouth full of razor-sharp teeth but watch out for those gill plates. They will cut like a knife. All sauger should be netted since many are barely hooked in that bony mouth.

Trying to lift one over the side of the boat will often make for a good day for the sauger and a bad day for you. When you get a sugar in the boat, hold it by mashing down those gills slightly to keep it from flaring them and showing you its best defense mechanism. Return short sauger quickly to the water.

I have mentioned the size of the white bass now being caught on Barkley. We are starting to see the same on KY Lake. Anglers are going to be pleasantly surprised with the quality of both the white and yellow bass. On a note: we are catching many fewer yellow bass than in years past. The size is good, but the numbers seem down. Granted, I’m not targeting these species. There are several guides here who do.

One thing KY Lake has no shortage of is white drum. These fish are called Sheephead, drums, white perch, etc. Some we are catching have been impressive. They hit like dynamite then midway of the fight, they seem to give up then it feels like you are dragging a concrete block.

I know folks have historically ate drum. I’ve cleaned several for clients but since my freezer stays stocked with crappie, I’ve had no reason to cook and try them for myself. I do hear that those drums up to 3-4 pounds make the best table fare. I’ll take their word for it.

I’ve been taking my very few days off to seek out new cranking spots, many in old haunts I haven’t visited in years. Once I take clients to many places, they suddenly become public spots that I have to take a number for. Finding new spots or gaining confidence in old spots allow me to spread out fishing pressure.

I encourage everyone to do this. It can turn a ruined day where somebody is camped out on your desired location to a great day where you also get to see new scenery.

The best crappie we have been catching have come from offshore structure along the secondary channel and in creek mouths of bays. One tactic I have been using is running one bait in my spread very shallow compared to the others. I’m talking 35-45 feet of line out. Some of the crappie are suspended very shallow for reasons unknown unless they are chasing shallow baitballs. The big black-out-the-screen baitballs are yet to appear. Here’s hoping they will. Crappie now are very thin after spawning.

I’m limping down the stretch till July 12th and a date with Dr. Derek Morgan for my hip replacement. I plan on coming back after it good as new. I’ll be booking dates starting the 3rd week of August till cold weather drives me off the lake.

To my potential clients for the fall, Sportsman’s Lodge is offering my clients a 30% discount on rooms, cabins, and boat slip rentals. You must mention you ae fishing with me and they will be verifying that info with me. That’s a great deal on lodging at a great facility. Improvements are being made daily on cabins, campgrounds, and the marina itself. The Memorial Weekend fire has all been cleaned up and the burned boats removed. Work should begin soon on the largest slips damaged.

Summertime boating is here at full bore. I recently had to urge a boat to give us some room when he thought the 40 yards between my boat and the bank was a better place to go than the 1 mile of open water on the other side.

Sure, that boat had as much right to go where he wanted as I had fishing that area. My beef was we were reeling in a large crappie and he cut across the back of my boat and lines very close.

I thought his move was very unnecessary. I live by the Golden Rule and I’m sure he wouldn’t have appreciated me making that move if the tables were reversed. No blood-no foul. BTW, I would have been in the 1 mile of open water to the east.

Be careful out there! Wear your PFDs. Leave the booze on the bank. Watch out for those who refuse to watch out for you. Help anybody who might need help. Give your fellow boaters plenty of room. The lake is big enough for all of us.

Welcome to our slice of Heaven!

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