Lake Conditions:  Fair - 66° / Lake Temperature  78° - 355.18'
Cadiz, Kentucky
Cadiz, Kentucky
Cadiz, Kentucky
Closer Than You Think

Steve McCadams' Fishing Report

Even Fishing Scene In Need of Rain and Cooler Temps

Report for September 27, 2023

You know it’s dry when even the fishermen want it to rain! Such is the case across the Kentucky Lake fishing scene and the entire region has been quite dry lately, not to mention the rather warm temperatures that have been reluctant to loosen their grip.

Fall officially arrived last week but summer weather has lingered as of late. Fishermen were hoping the first week of October would deliver some of those jacket mornings. That doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

Surface temperatures this week have not cooled off from last week. Morning readings are starting the day off around 79 and warming to 82-plus range by midday.

Water color remains clear across the reservoir. No rain has fallen so runoff has not entered the Tennessee River watershed as of late.

Lake levels this week have fallen to the 355.1 range, which is right on the threshold of the low ebb of winter pool.

Boaters running about best pay close attention to channel markers. This is not the time of year to take shortcuts across main lake sandbars as it will get you in trouble.

Current has diminished as well. TVA is pushing only 20,000 (cfs) through Kentucky Dam this week so that has somewhat curtailed the main channel catfish bite.

A few catfish have continued to move up to midrange depths of 15 to 20 feet. Some areas of 10 to 12 feet have given up catfish lately as several nice ones have been taken by crappie fishermen while working midrange bruspiles and stakebeds.

That’s a nice surprise to tie into a hefty catfish while fishing a light action rod with light monofilament line. While expecting a light strike and a somewhat sluggish battle the show changes quickly when a hefty catfish makes a run, tearing holes in the water and making the line sing.

Sometimes it’s a tackle tester as a big cat will break the line once he makes a run and dives back into the structure from which he came. Not much an angler can do but hold on and loosen the drag on the reel.

Having a dip net handy might help you land ole’ whiskers!

Kentucky Lake’s early fall crappie bite has been fair but somewhat sluggish in the shallow to midrange depths. The fish have not moved up in big numbers just yet, a likely result of warm surface temperatures hanging around.

There have been a few crappie taken in 5 to 8 foot stakebeds and brushpiles but anglers are encountering a lot of small fish there. Also challenging has been the battle with the bait stealing yellow bass who always seem to possess an appetite and attitude.

Both the yellow bass and crappie will coexist in the shallow crappie beds at times as they’re in competition for shad in the zone. However, if you’re using live minnows---and a lot of anglers are---expect to go through a lot of bait in your quest to find a few keeper size crappie.

Some crappie are still lingering out in the 16 to 20 foot depth range. A few bigger fish have been taken there lately on deep structure.

Most anglers are using tightline techniques and vertical presentations of live minnows or jigs tipped with minnows around deeper structure. Bites have been light as the fish are somewhat finicky.

A few cloudy or rainy days would help the shallow bite. These beautiful clear days are nice to be out on the lake but the high skies and high barometric pressure days make shallow fish even more spooky.

And, stagnant days without wind add another dimension to already finicky crappie. Most anglers prefer a little chop on the water from a light wind.

Sooner or later some real fall weather will arrive and cool off the fishing scene. The early mornings have already been nice and some tint in the foliage is already beginning to show up on the hillsides.

Bass anglers have been pulling out all the stops in their attempts to pattern illusive early fall bass. Some are staying with a summer pattern and working main lake sandbars, humps and ledges. Other have beat the banks and trying to trick some fish on gravel shorelines and various exposed crappie beds.

The shallow bite has been tough for most. Tossing spinnerbaits, Texas rigged worms, shallow running shad colored crankbaits and even some topwater have been sluggish to produce.

Those fishing deeper water have had success while tossing finesse baits on main lake sandbars at times.

Another pattern producing has been finding white bass schooling. Locating them in jumps means the schools of shad are there and largemouth and smallmouth are likely running with them.

Sooner or later those foggy cool mornings will be here. A long sleeve jacket will be needed until mid-morning and all will be right with the world!

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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.

Steve McCadams
Professional Fishing/Duck Hunting Guide
655 Anderson Drive
Paris, TN 38242
(731) 642-0360