Falling Temps Coincide with Falling Lake Levels
Written by Steve McCadams - Published on September 8, 2021
There’s been a touch of fall in the air lately and some cool, foggy mornings have really stirred the fishing pox for a few anglers who are anxiously awaiting autumn’s arrival.
The official transition of seasons doesn’t take place until September 22 but that doesn’t stop fishermen from coming under the spell early. A few chilly mornings will do just that.
Now that Labor Day has come and gone the amount of recreational boat traffic will diminish greatly. Add cooler conditions to the picture and fishermen will be able to get back to checking out some high use areas, especially on weekends.
Some popular fishing areas are surrendered by anglers at times when increased activity around popular launch areas and bays with marinas pretty much take select areas out of the equation.
That’s okay as the lake belongs to everyone but it’s that time of the year when such areas open back up to fishermen who, for the last few months, have yielded to jet skis plus big wakes from jet boats and pontoons that had waters stirred up.
Late summer and early fall is a great time to fish Kentucky Lake. Among the amenities are stable weather patterns and light winds.
Stability is a word anglers love to hear. Spring has a reputation for changing conditions in both the lake level and wind department. Cold fronts come and go, changing the fishing scene overnight at times.
For the next few weeks Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene will be the beneficiary of nice weather and light winds. There will be a few more hot days but a cooling trend is already in progress.
Those jackets mornings and shirt sleeve afternoons are knocking on the door. A few foggy starts help usher in the fall season and also help filter out a bright sun. Fish and fishermen love a cloudy start.
Lake levels this week have been falling slowly as TVA has pulled the reservoir down to the 355.9 elevation range in the Kentucky Dam sector. Upstream around the New Johnsonville sector the reservoir is resting around the 356.1 range. That’s down several inches from last week.
Surface temperatures this week reflect the presence of cooler nights as daytime highs have also moderated. Readings are presently starting the day out around 77 to 78 degrees and warming to 80 to 81 at midday.
Water color is clear in most of Big Sandy with a slight stain present up Big Sandy and throughout most of West Sandy.
There’s been a lot of current on the main Tennessee River channel lately since TVA has been pulling water and with that has come some dingy water as to the main river area.
Despite considerable current anglers have managed to catch several catfish as of late. By this weekend anglers can expect diminished current as projections show that scenario will improve and likely enhance the catfish bite.
Several decent stringers have been taken from boats working the 25 to 40 foot depth range. Baits of choice have been nightcrawlers, chicken livers, big minnows, cut shad and some commercial stink baits.
Crappie anglers are finding a few fish too and still crediting most of their success to live minnows. However, not all the reports are favoring live bait as there have been some jig fishermen scoring good stringers too.
Depths of 14 to 16 feet were giving up fish in Big Sandy at times while a few boats were attempting to catch them in manmade fish attractors located in 9 to 13 feet.
Seems some of the deeper depths have been the most productive. Since lake levels have been falling all week that’s understandable as such conditions usually pull baitfish and crappie toward somewhat deeper venues.
Once the reservoir stabilizes as to lake levels---which may occur by this weekend---watch for more crappie to move up to shallow zones. Cooler surface temps should begin to pull more shad back to those areas very soon.
Still struggling to put consistent patterns and numbers together are Kentucky Lake bass anglers. There have been a few decent fish taken but most boaters are not landing big numbers of fish.
Efforts to located some schooling fish in the backs of big bays or out on main lake ledges and flats have been mostly unsuccessful.
It’s beginning to be that time of year when shad occupy the backs of big bays and anglers tossing chrome colored variations of Rattle Trap style lures flog the bays and fan cast open areas looking for schooling fish. That technique hasn’t paid dividends as of yet but watch for it to start working soon.
Gone are the days when aquatic vegetation attracted and held big schools of shad in the backs of bays but there are times when the baitfish and the bass still occupy those areas to some degree.
Some boats are still on the summer pattern of working main lake ledges and humps. Tossing big Texas rigged worms, swim baits, Alabama rigs and huge crankbaits have been sluggish to produce at times. Fish out there have been scattered despite some good current that usually works in favor of the ledge bite.
Although shad haven’t shown up just yet along gravel banks that should change soon. The early morning and late afternoon hours usually stimulate a midge hatch and the tiny insects draw the shad during lowlight conditions.
Transition time is fast approaching and while summer hasn’t vanished from the calendar just yet its days are numbered. Fall is indeed fast approaching!