Steve McCadams' Fishing Report
January Fishing Off To Good Start
Report for January 18, 2023
Kentucky Lake’s winter fishing scene has gotten off to a pretty good start since the new year began. Decent weather and mild winds have worked in favor of winter fishing lately.
Lake levels have seen minor fluctuations lately so that hasn’t altered the apple cart too bad. Elevation this week has stayed around the 354.6 range. Tennessee Valley Authority has been pushing around 99,000 cubic feet per second of water through Kentucky Dam, which is up from 76 cfs last weekend.
Water color is relatively clear. The increased discharge will increase the current by this weekend and likely into next week as a few days of rain and possible thunderstorms were already underway this week.
It appears the honeymoon with above average temperatures anglers have enjoyed this week will come to an end as cooler days are in the forecast for both this weekend and well into next week. Temps reached near record highs earlier this week when the mercury climbed to 70 degrees a few days but that is now history.
Surface temperatures had been in the 50 to 52 degree range but will likely fall a few degrees in the days ahead.
Crappie fishermen have been scoring some nice stringers as of late with a little bragging taking place from some lucky anglers landing slabs from deeper water. Depths of 18 to 25 have given up some nice slabs lately.
Winter crappie anglers were favoring deep structure mostly off the deep sides of main lake ledges this week. Some are using live minnows while others are tightlining jigs in and around the deep cover.
A few anglers rely on double hook bottom bumping rigs armed with both minnows and jigs. On one look they offer a live minnow while offering a jig on the other one. The hooks are usually tied about 18-inches apart and some 18 inches or so off the bottom.
Several anglers opt for a jig only presentation using 1/8 to 1/16-ounce leadheads. Often they apply a light lead split-shot just above the jig to add more feel or control of the presentation when fishing deep water or perhaps battling the wind.
A few sauger fishermen have ventured out lately testing the ledges and deep holes along the Tennessee River channel. Reduced current late last week and earlier this week worked in their favor and a few fish were taken.
It’s that time of the year when fishermen have to play the wind and weather. Catch a few warm days with placid waters and you better be out there. It doesn’t take much wind this time of year to disrupt the open water fishing scene.
And, a nasty cold front can rearrange the whole winter fishing scene for a few days too! So, best seize the moment when unusually warm days descend this time of year.
Report Information & Archives
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.