Bluegill Bedding Continues/Catfish Bite Good; Stable Lake Levels Too!
Written by Steve McCadams - Published on May 18, 2022
You can’t reverse the aging factor but you can feel young again when fishing the peak spawning time of bluegill. Seeing that bobber disappear over and over will ail whatever bothers you!
Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene has been the beneficiary of another week of stable lake levels and summer like temperatures. The overall fishing scene has been good for bluegill and catfishermen. A few bass anglers have landed decent stringers as well with some scattered catches of crappie coming in.
May is fading fast and the popular Memorial Day holiday, which pretty much kicks off the summer boating season, is just about here. Soon fishermen will see their favorite species transition into a summer pattern, especially if the warm weather lingers.
Lake levels this week stayed around the summer pool range of 359 across the reservoir. Only minor fluctuations have occurred. Water color remains clear in most areas.
Surface temperatures heated up in response to a few hot and humid days that brought an occasional thunderstorm to the picture but as usual most passed through the area quickly but not before sending anglers darting to the docks and boat ramps in an attempt to dodge rain and lightning.
Morning surface temps are starting out around the 74 degree range but warming to the 78 degree range by midday. It has indeed been hot out on the lake a few days but not too bad in the early morning and late afternoon hours. Especially if a light breeze is present.
Catfish are still on the prowl as some dandy stringers were taken this week around shorelines and around rocky banks. Rip-rap levee areas and rocky bluffs are still appealing to spawning catfish.
Anglers bluegill fishing around shallow weedbeds and buck bushes have also encountered several catfish which often move in to feed in and around bedding bluegill.
Nightcrawlers, chicken livers, leeches, cut-shad and assorted commercial stink baits have been producing well. And, some jug fishermen are still scoring too and at times using some big minnows on their drifting buffets.
Kentucky Lake’s bluegill have been bedding now for about two weeks and the overall bite has been pretty good for anglers working shallow shorelines with crickets, redworms and wax worms.
Some nice catches have been coming in lately as the dark males move in to guard the spawning beds and that’s a recipe for fun and excitement for fishermen of all ages.
Most fishermen are using light spinning tackle or even ultra-light at times with the aid of a slip-bobber, which is designed for casting, or a spring loaded Carlyle style bobber which allows for easy depth adjustment.
Some veteran bluegill anglers choose to cast a small hair or grub style jig and opt to tip it with a red worm or wax worm to entice bites. Crawling the small jig around the bedding areas will normally produce strikes from bull bream who are guarding the nest from intruders.
Crickets are pretty hard to beat for consistent action as they are the bait of choice most days.
Shell cracker, biologically known as red-ear sunfish, have been playing games this spring with anglers. While a few have been caught overall numbers are down across the reservoir. Seems the red ear are just not as abundant this spring around spots that have produced in times past.
While bluegill numbers seem to be okay the red-ear have been somewhat timid. Normally bluegill fishermen are landing a few mixed in with their catches but this year the numbers have been somewhat scarce.
Grassbeds and buck bushes are holding bluegill but generally speaking the multitude of sunfish that love to steal your bait are rampart around shallow grass. Move out just a few feet and odds are the better size bluegill will be there.
Bluegill anglers are having to cull a lot of fish as some beds are producing somewhat smaller ones at times but there are enough nice ones to keep it quite interesting.
Bass anglers this week were finding some decent numbers roaming shallow grassbeds. Tossing a Texas rigged craw in a green pumpkin pepper color or similar shade had worked well. Some anglers are throwing a floating fluke style Slugo worm and catching fish but buzzbaits and jerkbaits have not produced as well as the easy entry of a floating worm once it hits the shallow water.
Some bass fishermen are already backing off the banks and working Texas rigged worms, Carolina rigs and big deep diving crankbaits around secondary sandbars and long sloping points. They’re targeting fish that are already in the post-spawn phase and left the banks.
However, there always seems to be a few bass running the shallow shorelines when buck bushes and weedbeds have ample water on them. Soon anglers should be seeing small schools of shad fry and other schools of tiny fish that have recently hatched out swimming the shallow shoreline habitat.
Tossing spinnerbaits and Texas rigged worms plus shallow running crankbaits will be part of the arsenal if not already.
Crappie remain sluggish and scattered for most anglers, many of which have turned to bluegill fishing for a few weeks. However, there are always some stringers showing up and a few boats trolling crankbaits have managed to pick up a decent numbers of post-spawn fish this week.
Once crappie spawn they often scattered and suspend out in open water areas with little desire for relating tight to structure. In that scenario covering a lot of water searching for fish suspended out in midrange depths can be productive.
Anglers still attempting to find fish with tightline single pole presentations of both jigs and minnows have not fared well as of late. The fish don’t seemed to be interested too much in hanging around a brushpile or stakebed at the present time, although that will change in the weeks ahead.
While a few boats are still trolling Road Runner style jigs most are opting for deep running crankbaits such as 200-series Bandits and similar brands that dive to the 8 to 12 foot depth range. Sometimes color choices make a big different and those sporting a loud florescent color can be productive as clear waters prevail.
Now is a nice time to be on the lake for a variety of species and a variety of reasons.