Fall Fishing Officially Arrives
Written by Steve McCadams - Published on September 23, 2021
Seasons transitioned on Wednesday and a significant change in the weather sure helped push summer out of the way while opening the door to fall.
Heavy rains, falling temps and some high winds escorted fall’s arrival at midweek but after a short disruption nice, stable weather has returned to the fishing scene.
Autumn angling is now officially underway and Kentucky Lake anglers are embracing the cooler days, falling leaves and surface temperatures while digging in the closet and donning a long sleeve shirt for early morning outings.
While more warm days will return at least a few jacket mornings and shirt sleeve afternoons are also on the horizon.
After some cool nights that dipped down into the upper 40’s and low 50’s a midday warming trend is underway and by early next week high will rebound slowly to the low 80’s.
Surface temps are starting the morning out around 76 and warming to 78 by midday. Anglers can expect a foggy morning or two in the days ahead.
Lake levels have continued a slow decline this week as TVA has maintained a steady flow of water through Kentucky Dam that has had ample current in the main Tennessee River channel. Projections for the weekend indicated lake levels will be down to the 355.4 range at the dam, which is several inches lower than last week at this time.
Thunderstorms at midweek dropped a lot of rain upstream with some localized flooding. Upstream in the New Johnsonville sector the reservoir had jumped to the 358 range after absorbing runoff. However, the reservoir is in good shape as to water color and lake levels in the Paris Landing sector.
Fall crappie anglers are getting back in the groove and finding a few more fish moving up toward midrange depths of 8 to 12 feet. Up Big Sandy and West Sandy a few boats reported catching fish in 4 to 8 foot depths this week.
Some anglers are vertical fishing jigs and live minnows over manmade fish attractors such as stakebeds and brushpiles. Both have paid dividends as of late.
Other techniques producing results have been spider rigging with a few boats still trolling crankbaits at times. And, when fishing shallow structure some boats will opt to back off and cast twister tail grubs or use slip-float bobbers to slowly twitch a jig or live minnow around or over the submerged structure.
Kentucky Lake seems to always offer a variety of depths and techniques at the same time. Even with the cooling trend of fall there are still a few boats who stalk the deeper zones of main lake ledges and manage to find a few scattered crappie there too.
Catfishing has held up well and the bite is still on. Some hefty coolers full of blue and channel cats have been taken lately by anglers using both nightcrawlers and big shiner minnows.
There’s been plenty of current out there and some days a bit too much but the overall bite has been good. Catfishermen can expect more good action as the fall bite has a good reputation for longevity.
Bass fishermen are slugging it out in the trenches and finding enough fish to keep it interesting but not enough to brag about it seems.
It’s high time fan casting the backs of big bays with chrome colored Rattle Trap variations should be producing fish that are in hot pursuit of shad schools. Activity should also be showing up on sloping gravel banks where shad move up in the early morning and late afternoon hours in pursuit of shad that partake of lowlight midge hatchings.
Tossing assorted topwater should be working as well as shallow running crankbaits. That bite hasn’t materialized like it should for Kentucky Lake bass fishermen these last few weeks but perhaps the cooler trend will stimulate that shallow bite pattern.
Some bass anglers are staying with a deep water summer pattern and targeting ledges and humps out on the main lake. That has yielded some fish but very few anglers report seeing schooling activity or surface feeding frenzies.