Typical March Weather Challenges Anglers
Written by Steve McCadams - Published on March 15, 2023
One thing that’s predictable about March weather patterns; they will always be unpredictable!
Such has been the case this week for the Kentucky Lake fishing scene as anglers have battled the return of some winter weather for a few days - temps dropped below freezing a few night earlier this week - and nasty northwest winds whipped up whitecaps a few days out on the open water areas.
Not to worry as temps are moderating and the first day of spring officially arrives on Monday! After the cold front passed daytime highs rebounded the last few days into the upper 50’s and will reach the upper 60’s for a day or two.
That’s typical March weather as the mean month has always had a bit of winter and spring mixed in. Fortunate are the fishermen who have the flexibility to choose and pick their days based on the wind and weather conditions.
Lake levels this week have changed slightly and after falling several days have risen a few inches. Presently projections from Tennessee Valley Authority show the reservoir - after falling to a level of 354.5 range at midweek - will rise slightly to an elevation of 354.9 as the weekend approaches.
Surface temperatures have fallen due to the cold front’s bite and are down around to the 49 to 50 degree range after rising last week up to the 54 degree range. Water color is in good shape and very little stain is present.
The fishing scene had an unfortunate report of a boating fatality last Friday in the West Sandy sector when one boat collided with a crappie fishermen who was slow trolling spider rigs. Two anglers survived but one of the boaters in the boat under power did not. None of those involved were wearing life jackets according to Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
Meanwhile, from the fishing scene comes some decent reports from successful crappie anglers logging nice catches from a variety of depths. Most have had to dodge winds and fish where they could instead of where they wanted to most days.
However, nice stringers were caught in the 10 to 14 foot depth range again this week. There are still some boats targeting deeper depths too and finding fish on the ledges or some deep structure out in the 18 to 22 foot depth range.
A few fish up Big Sandy were taken in 5 to 10 foot depths at times but numbers were quite scattered in shallow areas.
Crappie are staging in midrange depths and deeper awaiting a warm up of surface temperatures. That’s normal for mid-March as fish will begin stair stepping their way toward shallow zones these next two weeks. Once surface temperatures climb into the upper 50’s and low 60’s watch for a real blitz to take place.
That hasn’t happened just yet - although low numbers have been caught shallow on warm days - but watch for dramatic changes to occur once a few days of warm weather gets here and stays here.
Right now the fish are staging in their usual prespawn pattern and hanging out away from shallow shorelines and around creek channels, humps and ledges while relating to some type of cover such as brushpiles, stumps, and a variety of manmade fish attractors.
Jigs such as Bobby Garland solid body style grubs in the blue/chartreuse, Monkey’s milk, threadfin shad and several other color combinations have worked well as have tube skirts and hair body type jigs. Most crappie anglers are experimenting throughout the day with a variety of color presentations and often tipping with either a live minnow or Berkley Power Bait crappie nibble in the white, chartreuse or pink color.
Those using vertical presentations with multipole offerings are doing well. And, slow trolling spider rig style fishermen are catching enough to keep them interested too.
There are always a variety methods underway by the army of anglers out there this time of year. Some have been casting jigs and caught fish while others using single pole tightline techniques have fared well at times.
They like watching their sonar units or Livescope screens and stalking fish that way.
Bass anglers have scored decent stringers the last week or so. Crankbaits are still the king as March patterns usually have the fish relating to rocky banks and points, rip-rap levees, roadbeds and such.
Some suspending jerk baits have produced well as have deep diving crankbaits in shad colored variations. Rattle Trap style lure choices have worked well too in chrome/blue and chrome/black color combinations.
Slows presentations of jig and craw combos plus jig and pork chunks worked around rock banks always seem to appeal this time of year as well. The crawfish colors always deserve respect.
Warmer days are approaching with southern breezes. As long as March is on the calendar anglers best prepared for the worst and hope for the best.