Late August Fishing Scene Not All Bad
Written by Steve McCadams - Published on August 18, 2021
Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene has offered anglers some decent mornings with cloud cover, light breezes and a dose of light rain this week.
For the third week in August conditions haven’t been all bad as the heat usually deals the cards. While hot days are still part of the picture, especially at midday and throughout the afternoon, the early mornings have offered nice fishing conditions for anglers who rise early and beat the heat.
August anglers can get in several hours of fishing before the midday lull takes over and the heat and humidity pretty much tells fishermen it’s time to pitch in the towel.
As to lake conditions the Tennessee Valley Authority has been pushing water through Kentucky Dam this week as a slow but gradual drop in lake levels has been underway. The week began with lake levels at Kentucky Dam starting out around 358.9 but by this weekend projections for the reservoir show it will be down to the 357.6 range.
Water color remains clear across the reservoir. Surface temperatures are starting out the morning in the 83 degree range and climbing to 87 by midday.
Although August doesn’t have much of a reputation for crappie fishing there have been a few boats scoring decent stringers lately. By hitting the lake early some anglers found crappie in midrange depths of 12 to 15 feet. Some scattered reports indicated a few fish taken in the 10 to 12 foot range.
Live minnows have been the best bait choice which is common during hot weather periods. Most fishermen are tightlining minnows in and around stakebeds and brushpiles or similar manmade fish attractors.
When slow trolling or spider rigging most anglers opt to use double hook rigs and present the bait at two different depths. That allows the anglers to catch finicky crappie, some of which may be slightly suspended just over the structure or perhaps put the bottom bait right smack dab in the face of fish that are relating tight to structure.
Others are choosing to present just a single pole and bait approach so as to work it around the cover and avoid frequent snagging.
The bite often diminishes as the morning sun climbs and the fish take on a lethargic attitude as they are light sensitive. That’s why anglers prefer cloud cover this time of year as it filters out sunlight and prolongs the morning bite.
From the catfish category comes a few reports of successful anglers who are still at the mercy of the current. When TVA is pulling water the current definitely helps the summer catfish bite. Without moving water the scenario often results in a stagnant bite.
Without some flow the fish just don’t show much interest. Schools of shad move about and feed on algae and plankton when flowing water stirs things up. If the shad aren’t moving and feeding it has a negative impact on the catfish bite as they go somewhat dormant for spells until current resumes.
Depths of 35 to 50 feet were giving up catfish lately as anglers are still finding some fish suspended at times if balls of baitfish are meandering out over the main channel or near the edge of the riverbank itself.
Bass fishing has been somewhat sluggish for most boaters who have continued targeting ledges, humps and any structure they can find out away from shorelines. The overall bite has been tough for the majority of August bass anglers.
Some are catching a decent fish or two at times but the bulk of anglers are not finding any schooling fish to speak of so overall numbers are down.
Typical summer presentations of Texas rigged worms in the 9 to 10-inch length, spoons, swimbaits, huge deep diving crankbaits, Carolina rigged worms and jig and craw combos are always in the summer arsenal for Kentucky Lake bass fishermen.
Not many white bass schools are showing up but a few pontoons and bass boats have been out there searching for them. On calm days any surface feeding frenzies will show up along the main channel areas.
Finding white bass in the jumps used to be a consistent fishery during the dog days of summer up and down the reservoir but white bass numbers have greatly diminished over the years.
Still, it’s worth it to log a few long hours of searching if you happen to find a school of white bass tearing up the surface as they push shad over shallow sandbars. Anglers in the midst of an aggressive school of white bass will certainly provide fast action as they possess a fight-to-the-finish attitude.
Keep those rods and reels ready in case you encounter these aggressive gamefish. Stripes, as most people refer to them, are most likely to school and bust the surface this time of year.