October Has Been (Mostly) Nice for Anglers
Written by Steve McCadams - Published on October 12, 2022
It’s mid-October and overall the weather this fall has been pretty kind to autumn anglers here on Kentucky Lake.
The pumpkin month has a reputation for delivering stable conditions and while there are always a few exceptions the lion’s share of the month usually lives up to its reputation. When compared to spring the fall weather is much easier on fishermen trying to pattern fish from week to week.
We’ve had a few hurdles this fall when some uninvited northeast winds slipped through the door and put whitecaps in the open waters, dictating how and where anglers could fish.
Temperatures have been mild and just this week was a prime example as chilly mornings gave way to warm afternoons that had fishermen shedding jackets in favor of short sleeve shirts.
It looks like another cool snap may enter the picture for the Kentucky Lake fishing scene early next week as temps are expected to fall dramatically beginning Monday. Anglers know the sunny days and mild temps can’t last forever so taking a few rides on the weather roller coaster are just part of fishing.
Meanwhile, it’s been a month since rain paid a visit to the region. A little shower was forecast at midweek but it has been a long drought.
Lake levels have remained stable the last couple of weeks as no runoff has entered the Kentucky Lake watershed. Tennessee Valley Authority was projecting an elevation in the range of 354.8 as the weekend approached.
Only minor fluctuation has occurred lately and discharge rates out of Kentucky Dam have diminished, resulting in reduced current along the Tennessee River channel. Water color remains clear across the reservoir.
Surface temperatures this week responded favorably to cool nights and dropped several degrees. The lake is starting out the mornings around 66 to 67 degree range and warming to the upper 60’s at midday.
With cooler weather in the forecast for early next week fishermen can expect surface temps to cool even more by Monday and Tuesday of next week.
Low lake levels are normal for fall and winter fishing but adding to the challenge are missing buoys which direct boaters to deep and safe boating routes. In the Paris Landing area several key main channel and secondary channel markers are missing and that’s a high hurdle for any boater, especially those not family with the area who may be here visiting.
Tennessee Valley Authority is responsible for maintaining the secondary channel markers while the U. S. Coast Guard is in charge of the larger main channel buoys.
Some crappie anglers have chalked up come decent stringers lately while targeting structure in midrange depths of 8 to 15 feet. There have been a few fish taken on main lake ledges at times around drop-offs where 16 to 22 feet gave up a few scattered fish but no schooling fish have been reported by those testing the deep spots.
Midrange depths of 8 to 13 feet have been giving up the most fish as of late. Seems the crappie are holding in that midrange depth and found their comfort zone there the last few weeks.
While some shallow stakebeds and burhspiles have produced a few fish the shallow bite has not been consistent. It has been a one here, one there scenario for boaters stalking the shallow structures.
Despite an abundance of shad showing up across the shallow flats crappie just haven’t entered the shallow zones of seven feet or less in significant numbers. That may change as surface temps fall in the days ahead.
Most crappie anglers credit their catches to jigs lately, although there always some anglers offering live minnows to finicky fish. Anglers have been experimenting with color combinations with such choices as Bobby Garland grubs in Monkey’s Milk, chartreuse/blue, gold with sparkle and lime and white at times.
Tipping jigs with either live minnows or Berkley Power bait seems to have enhanced the appeal.
Bass fishermen are still reporting the route to success being uphill. Seems the fish have played hardball the last several weeks with no consistency working for even veteran anglers.
Shad colored crankbaits have produced a few fish around main lake ledges and along rocky points. Some Rattle Trap style lures have produced some white bass on main lake sandbars and a few largemouth mixed in when the fish were chasing schools of shad.
Some anglers were still targeting smallmouth and tossing hair jigs and grubs on ledges and points on the east side of the lake.
Catfish were fair this week but the bite diminished once the current died down. Without the current the baitfish just don’t move around as much and that has a negative impact.
There are several good weeks of fall fishing ahead for Kentucky Lake bass, crappie and catfish anglers. While there may be a few bumps in the road the cold fronts and windy days will remain in the minority as history indicates great days are ahead when light winds and warm temps will deliver great opportunities.
Already the hillsides and shorelines are changing and each week the colors put on a new face for all to see.