Lake Levels Down, Temperatures Up; Warm Spell Ahead
Written by Steve McCadams - Published on February 17, 2022
Fluctuation in lake levels continues for Kentucky Lake. A few short weeks ago folks were talking about how low the lake was only to see a quick rise in elevation that same week when the reservoir dropped down to the 353.7 range.
The last two weeks the reservoir has been up a couple of feet or so above its normal low ebb of winter pool, which is 354 feet above see levels according to Tennessee Valley Authority’s curve.
Just this week the reservoir has fallen back down to its low elevation of winter pool and was projected to be in the 354 range for a few days with a slow rise up to 354.5 by Sunday barring any heavy rains, which could occur as weather was in the process of changing as this report was being updated.
After a big dose of spring weather earlier this week a drastic drop in temps was approaching but the northerly blast wasn’t forecast to last too long. After a chilly start to the weekend it appears warmer days will return for anglers with daytime highs expected to be in the low to mid 60’s by Sunday.
Fishermen will see several consecutive days next week topping out in the 60’s so spring fever is soon to resume.
Sometimes rapid warm ups come at a price, that being strong southerly winds this time of year. Anglers will just have to wait and see how the breezes blow and seek the opportunity if light winds invite fishermen back to the open waters.
Water color remains clear across the reservoir. Surface temperatures have warmed slightly from last week but there were several cold mornings—a few below freezing---that started the week off. Presently surface temps have rebounded to the 38 to 42 degree range. Early next week should see even higher surface temps showing up.
Crappie fishermen were out in force a few days testing the water and found the fish sort of stubborn based on most reports from the Paris Landing and West Sandy sectors.
Most of the anglers were targeting deeper depth ranges and focusing their presentations of jigs and minnows across depth ranges of 18 to 25 feet. Falling lake levels have been part of the fishing scene for over a week and the vast majority of anglers were concentrating their efforts on deep structure.
Cool surface temps plus falling lake stages often influence winter crappie to fall back deeper as they follow their forage base, namely threadfin shad, that find a comfort zone in deep depths under such conditions.
That tactic paid dividends for a few fishermen but most reported the fish to be reluctant biters earlier this week. Even those who have mastered the art of Livescope sonar interpretation were somewhat humbled by the lack of cooperation from finicky deep water crappie that were playing games.
In short, fishermen were seeing fish but couldn’t get them to bite!
Several reports indicated fish were found in some deep venues relating to structure but were showing little interest in taking or following bait presentations. Both jigs and live minnows were offered but relatively unappealing it seemed.
No doubt things will change and improve in the days ahead. Watch for fish to have a mood swing once stability in lake levels returns coupled with some warm sunny days that raise the surface temperatures.
Once that happens look for more fish to return to midrange depths of 12 to 15 feet, perhaps even shallower than that.
Bass fishermen have been tossing everything from crawfish and shad colored crankbaits to hair jigs with various trailers attached. Some have occasionally tied into a nice smallmouth when casting small twister tail grubs and small spinner style presentations over deep gravel bars and around rip-rap banks.
For most the bass bite has been challenging. Warmer surface temperatures by next week should improve the bite, especially for those tossing crankbaits around gravel banks and long sloping points or rocky roadbeds.
Spring may be more than a month away but a few nice sunny days will bring quick improvements to the overall fishing scene.
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