Weather Saga Continues for Spring Fisherman
Written by Steve McCadams - Published on April 13, 2022
From this week’s Kentucky Lake fishing scene comes yet another roller coaster of weather patterns that have kept anglers guessing on just when to get out there. It has been a mixture of rainy days with daily thunderstorms and at midweek the weatherman was crowing about severe storms, gale force straight line winds and possible tornados across the region.
Inclement weather has dominated the fishing scene now for several weeks and in a variety of ways. This week the region finally saw temperatures moderate but it has come at a high price. Daytime highs finally crawled out of the cellar and reached the low to mid 70’s but that has spawned a lot of disturbance as daily thunderstorms with lightning and some strong winds have just not favored fishermen.
It appears this mean band of weather will move out, paving the way for a decent weekend and better days ahead by the start of next week.
The spring crappie spawn has been thrown off balance by all this mess as have anglers attempting to test the water under adverse conditions. Stable conditions have just not been in the cards as anglers have had to play whatever hand they were dealt by the weatherman.
Despite unstable weather patterns a few anglers have managed to land some crappie but the bite has been inconsistent. Crappie have been on the threshold of moving up toward spawning territory for a couple of weeks but Mother Nature has not cooperated.
Here it is at the mid-April mark and not many fish have made the blitz toward shallow spawning territory as is usually the case by now. Things are changing daily as fish are on the move.
Anglers are still yearning for back to back sunny days with light and variable winds. Fishermen haven’t had many of those this spring.
Surface temperatures this week have creeped up to the 58 to 62 degree range. A few days of sunshine will see temps climb even more. It appears next week could see spawning begin as surface temps reach the 62 to 66 degree range.
Females have been bloated with eggs for a couple weeks and ready to spawn but conditions haven’t been ideal. Sometimes females will hold their eggs for an extended period and if things don’t feel right to them reabsorption will slowly take place.
Anglers are hoping the messy weather moves on and spawning kicks in next week. Traditionally, active spawning phases are well underway across Kentucky Lake by mid-April but this year has been different.
Meanwhile, lake levels are rising. Several days of rains have drenched the region and a lot of runoff is entering the reservoir. Most bays are seeing muddy to dingy water in the upper ends as creeks bring in the silt.
Projected lake levels for the weekend around the Kentucky Dam area show the reservoir rising to 357.5. That’s up almost two feet from last week at this time.
TVA’s target date for summer pool elevation is May 1 each year so we’re a little ahead of the curve at this time due to all the rain we’ve had.
Water color has been clear out on the main lake but dingy to light stained in big bays and up Big Sandy and West Sandy.
Techniques of long-lining Road Runner style jigs and curly tail grubs have been producing several fish as have spider rig presentations from boaters pushing the multipole buffet of baits set at different depths.
Some fish have transitioned toward shallow to midrange depths of 4 to 8 feet but not in big numbers according to most reports. Most of the long lining or pullers are targeting midrange depths of 9 to 14 feet as of late.
Watch for more fish to move up toward shallow zones in the coming days. Manmade fish attractors in the midrange to shallow areas should start appealing to more fish as those areas have not paid dividends as much as they usually do during the prespawn phase.
Male crappie are sporting their deep purple color, a clear indication spawning time is at hand. Dogwood and redbud trees have already been in bloom. All signs point toward spawning time if Mother Nature will just settle down and let it happen.
Catfishermen have been scoring some nice catches lately as rising lake levels usually stimulate the fish to move up toward shallow bays and flats.
Several boats have been seen jug fishing and they’ve reported some nice stringers too. Most are fishing back in the bays and finding catfish biting decent on nightcrawlers and some commercial stink baits.
Bass anglers are still slugging it out and having to earn their catches. The bite has been sluggish for most but things are changing out there as lake levels rise, which should see more bass moving up into secondary pockets or occupying creeks where runoff enters the reservoir.
Shallow running crankbaits and spinnerbaits have been popular choices as a few more shoreline structures now have enough water on them to appeal to roaming bass just now moving up in pursuit of shad and crawfish morsels.
Still appealing are gravel banks, big rock points, roadbeds and shorelines where rip-rap rocks are present.
There has been current out on the main river channel and that will likely continue in the aftermath of all the rain.
Meanwhile, crankbaits are still the go-to bait for most early spring bass fishermen along Kentucky Lake. Some are tossing Texas rigged craws plus jig and big combos. Others are fan casting Rattle Trap style lures in an attempt to cover a lot of water and find scattered bass.
For most Kentucky Lake fishermen it has been a mean spring that has resulted in fish not being where they usually are this time of year. Both bass and crappie have no doubt been influenced by adverse conditions and just not followed their normal spring patterns.
Probably because it has been anything but a normal spring!