Wintertime & Big Smallmouth Are Back
Written by Brandon Hunter - Published on March 23, 2023
A lot has changed since the last time I wrote a report. Only a few weeks have passed and winter time is back! The last time I wrote, spring seemed to be making its way here with warm nights and warm water temperatures. The fish had made their way back in the creeks just like they do every spring and then bam, big rains and cold temperatures.
And when I say cold temps, I'm talking down in the 30s again at night. You can only guess what happens to the water temps. They jumped way down, even back into the high 40s. Before these fronts moved through, we were seeing some great weights in local tournaments which is very encouraging.
Fish were up around current breaks and feeding! TVA has been moving a good bit of water through the system and making those pre-spawners easy to catch. Dirty water usually puts them right up there on the banks with the local heavy rains.
Lake Conditions and What's Happening on the Lake
Water Temps: 52-54 compared to 58-62 only a few weeks ago
Lake Level: 354- Keep an eye on the TVA Lake Info App as things are slow to creep up this year with more rain expected.
Water Color: Creeks and main river are stained and clearing daily, Local Heavy Rains will change the color of water this time of year and I expect to see water dirty up by the end of the week, with local heavy rains on the way.
The lake is fishing decent right now with some days better than others. If you have followed my reports in the past, you know what we are faced with. It seems like this time of year, most of the bass are up on the banks and feeding. It will show you what the lake truly looks like with numbers and quality. This is the time of year where you can actually run a pattern or particular areas and put something together.
My main focus recently has been smallmouth. With the water that's been moving through the system and fish pulled up, I have been targeting those areas that typically hold smallmouth. This is one time of the year that you can actually target those big brown ones.
Smallmouth can be found on the typical pre-spawn areas with rock or wood. Look around the east banks for gravel points or washes up on the banks. There have been a good number of fish up on the underwater points that run across the bays on the LBL side of the lake.
Smallmouth will start thinking about spawning and those flat rock areas and flat under water points or bars with wood or rock are where you will find those pre-spawners hanging out.
As for a largemouth bite, I haven't spent a ton of time chasing them, as they tend to be more affected by the cold nights and colder water temps. If water gets dirty and temps warm up, those fish will move right up on the bank and get super shallow. Secondary points with rock or gravel and even all the way backs in the creeks around transition banks will be good.
Techniques and Where
Jerkbaits - Main lake points around the first points in the creeks and current break rock points on the East Side of the lake, On the West Side look around the mouths of the creeks.
Specifics - 6th Sense Provoke and Provoke DD, Mega Bass, Spro McStick
Colors - Shad Colors like the 6th Sense Shad Pro or Jaint Juice
Umbrella Rigs- Same areas as the jerkbait
Specifics - 6th Sense Fishing Divine Umbrella Rig with 1/8oz jig heads and Divine Swimbaits
Colors - Shad Colors of your choice
Shallow Cranking - Channel banks in the creeks with rock transition and flat points with shallow water.
Specifics - 6th Sense Flat Finesse F4, Rapala DT6, Berkley Frittside
Colors - Red or Crawdad Colors, Yellow, Orange, and Mustard Colors
Spinnerbaits - Same areas as crankbaits but when it gets really shallow or alot of cover in the water, the spinnerbait comes into play more
Specifics - Accent Fishing 1/2 oz, 6th Sense Divine Spinnerbait
Colors - Spring Ding with the red kicker blade in the dirty water, Double willow in the cleaner water, Chart and White Skirt
Lipless - Windy flat rock points or Back in the creeks along rock transition and flats
Specifics - 6th Sense Quake has been best, Any lipless of your choice
Colors - Red or Craw Colors, Firetiger
For those of you who are not familiar with my service, I competed for eight years on the FLW Tour and continue to compete in the MLF Toyota Series Events. I am a full time, licensed and insured Captain, with first aid and CPR certification. I offer one-on-one training, technique-specific trips, fun bass fishing trips, and electronics training in your boat.
I would love the opportunity to share a day with you in my Caymas CX21 or in your own boat to get your electronics dialed in. I am here to help you and to help you become a better angler and to give you confidence in your equipment. If you're in the area on the north end of Kentucky Lake, make sure to visit us at Hitec Outdoors.
We are a full line boat dealership and marine electronics install center. We have lines from Caymas, Crestliner, Harris and Viaggio Pontoons. We also have a great selection of bait and tackle for your trip to the lake. Come see us! Follow me on Facebook and Instagram @brandonhunterfishing and @bhunterfishing for anything fishing.
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