Steve McCadams' Fishing Report
Heat Curtails Some Anglers' Plans
Report for July 28, 2021
Despite a series of hot and humid days lately the Kentucky Lake fishing scene hasn’t been all bad for some anglers who hit the lake early.
Wise are the anglers who rise and shine in the wee hours and launch their boats before the sun comes up these days. It’s not too bad out there early, especially when a little cloud cover enters the picture escorted by light winds.
A lot of fishermen are on the lake long before sunrise lately and getting in several hours of fishing before that midday heat and humidity takes over. Most anglers are tossing in the towel before midday, loading up the boat and looking for the nearest iced tea drinking contest.
Hot days have no doubt been a factor but in spite of it all some decent stringers of catfish continue to come in plus a few nice summer crappie.
It’s that time of the year when the quality of the catfish bite depends greatly on the current. When TVA is pulling water through Kentucky Dam and generation of hydro power is in peak demand there’s usually a decent flow in the main Tennessee River channel.
When that happens the catfish bite has help up pretty good as moving water stirs up baitfish activity. Some mornings the current has been slow to get going and somewhat stagnant conditions linger until midmorning for whatever reason.
Without current the fish just don’t seem to show much interest. Their lethargic attitude is hard to overcome as sluggish behavior seems to be the norm and the fish turn a blind eye to even the best bait presentations.
Throw in a little flow and it’s an entirely different ballgame. Once the current kicks in schools of baitfish start to meander and that stimulates catfish to go on the prowl.
Seems moving water creates a feeding spree as the catfish know schools of shad are out and about, moving along and feeding on plankton and algae that’s in the water column courtesy of a little current.
Still producing have been depths of 35 to 45 feet with some even deeper at times. And, several seasoned catfish anglers will tell you they’re monitoring their sonar units closely and targeting suspended fish at times.
Nightcrawlers are still producing best with a few anglers resorting to chicken livers and some big minnows at times. Surface temperatures this week are starting out around 83 degrees in the morning and warming to 87 or so by midday. Water color remains clear across the reservoir.
Lake levels are down a few inches from last week as the gradual drawdown by TVA continues. Elevation this week was 357.8 in the Kentucky Dam sector. Upstream around New Johnsonville lake levels were slightly higher with readings of 357.9.
A few crappie have been taken by boaters working mostly live minnows in depths of 13 to 16 feet. Some fish were actually taken lately in 12 feet in the early morning hours.
Bass fishermen working the main lake ledges and humps are finding a few scattered fish but no schooling activity to speak of.
A few nice size fish were taken on deeper venues of 14 to 16 feet at times by anglers fishing huge Texas rigged worms, spoons, Carolina rigged worms and craws and some swim baits.
Some bass were chasing schools of shad up over the shallow sides of ledges and pushing the baitfish up into 8 to 12 feet at times. A few signs of surface feeding activity have occurred, especially if white bass were entering the chase.
Mayfly hatches have continued to show up each week but no real pattern as to when they’re occurring.
Some bass anglers are resorting to night fishing lately and tossing spinnerbaits along rip-rap areas and on sloping points out near the main river channel areas.
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Steve's reports cover Kentucky Lake from Paris Landing to New Johnsonville.
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About Steve McCadams
A member of the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and Legends of the Outdoors, Steve McCadams is a professional guide and outdoor writer from Paris, Tenn.