Anglers Hope Weird Weather Loses Its Grip
Written by Steve McCadams - Published on May 25, 2022
Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene is holding up well despite a few hurdles from Mother Nature in the form of high winds and some thunderstorms earlier this week.
May generally has a reputation for stable weather but the last week or so anglers faced high winds several days that were reminiscent of March. The week started off in the aftermath of a cold front that had a fall feel Monday as fishermen were donning hooded sweatshirts and jackets.
It appears the forecast for the upcoming Memorial Holiday period will be a good one as the summer boating season kicks off. Sunny days with warm temperatures are in the forecast, which will make a lot of fishermen, pleasure boaters, campers and all sorts of lake dwellers happy.
Lake levels continue to remain stable across the reservoir as the elevation has danced around the summer pool mark of 359 the last few weeks. The Tennessee Valley Authority was projecting an elevation of 359.1 as the big holiday weekend approaches.
Water color has been clear across the lake with minor stain in some bays. Surface temperatures have been in the 74 to 78 degree range this week.
Bedding bluegill are still holding up to their reputation for providing fun and excitement for any age bracket of anglers. The small but powerful bronze bombers are still biting pretty good and holding on to bedding areas in relatively shallow water.
Some bluegill were taken back off the banks this week in 4 to 6 foot depths at times. Shellcracker, biologically known as red ear sunfish, were still evading the hooks of fishermen as only a few scattered ones have been caught this spring.
Odds are the bluegill bedding will slowly begin to fade in the next week to ten days as the fish begin to vacate spawning beds and scatter. Anglers can still catch them but during peak spawning phases the larger and darker colored males congregate and protect the small craters where the females deposit their eggs.
The panfish will still bite around shallow weed beds and buck bushes but in the weeks ahead the bite will be mixed in with small sunfish and female bluegill, both which love to steal your bait.
There’s still some great times ahead to get both kids and novice anglers in on some good bluegill fishing around the banks. Seeing that bobber disappear never goes out of style.
Catfish are still coming in on a regular basis from anglers using nightcrawlers around the rocky banks up and down the lake. Some late spawning is still underway around rip-rap shoreline and levees or any rocky type shoreline as that’s where the cats come to spawn.
Crappie fishing has shown some improvement lately as the fish are slowly transitioning back out to midrange depths as their spawning phases are now in the rearview mirror.
Anglers can expect to see more crappie moving to the 7 to 14 foot depth range in the days and weeks ahead as surface temperatures heat up.
The fish will also return to a structure oriented mood now that the post-spawn phase is passing. Stakebeds and brushpiles in midrange depths that have been reluctant to produce fish during late April and most of May will now have more appeal.
Vertical presentations of jigs and live minnows around the submerged structure will begin to yield more fish. Other productive techniques will be trolling crankbaits out over main lake or secondary flats in midrange depths.
Trolling jigs or spider rig style presentations will work too. The last few weeks crappie have been suspended at times and many are stressed from the spawning phases but watch for more consistency from the crappie as June rolls around.
Bass fishermen are torn between an early summer pattern of backing off the banks and working main lake ledges or hitting shallow shoreline stickups and weedbeds looking for baitfish that lure a few nice bass to remain in shallow areas.
Early morning and late afternoon time frames will find the lowlight conditions appealing to some topwater action. From buzz baits and floating fluke style worms to jerk baits worked slowly over grass or around bushes, the topwater offering will pay dividends at times.
At times some nice bass are still relating to shoreline habitat, especially if a little cloud cover enters the picture or perhaps current is visible around main river island rims. Current can be a bass fisherman’s friend as it pushes baitfish to structure to hide in the eddies behind willow trees, buck brush and blowdowns.
Some decent stringers were taken lately by anglers still tossing Texas rigged craws and lizards in the green pumpkin pepper, cotton candy and red shad colors. Those visible weed beds are holding small bluegill and various other bait fish so bass will stay in those areas as long as the forage base is there.
A spinnerbait will have an appeal too as anglers can work shallow grass or bushes rapidly and search for the schools of newly hatched fry. Finding the schools of these tiny pin minnows will lead you to the bass.
Other patterns producing have been the summer style techniques of tossing big Texas rigged worms, Carolina rigged worms and lizards, large deep diving crankbaits and jig and pig combos along the ledges.
That summer pattern will continue to produce as more fish back off the banks in the weeks ahead. The deeper main lake ledges are about to heat up.
Seems there’s always a few fish lingering around shallow shoreline structure whenever schools of baitfish fry can be found. Even in warmer weather the shallow bite can be good once schools of pin minnows are found hanging around weeds, buck bushes and blowdowns on main shorelines and river islands.