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Archived Fishing Report

June Fishing Off To Hot Start

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 06/02/2016

Seemed like summer already arrived here on the Kentucky Lake scene as hot and humid days kicked the week off for anglers in the wake of the Memorial Holiday period.
Surface temperatures really jumped this week in response to the warm spell and occupied the 79 to 82 degree range. Despite some midweek thunderstorms water color remains clear across most of the reservoir.
Lake levels this week were falling slowly after rising late last week and climbing several inches above normal summer pool. Once the reservoir crested last weekend it began a slow descent and is projected to be in the 359.3 range this weekend at Kentucky Dam. Upstream at New Johnsonville elevation will be in the 359.1 range.
Early summer patterns are slowly emerging for bass anglers who are concentrating on ledges and midrange depths as the fish transition toward main lake drop-offs as surface temps climb. That’s doesn’t mean all the bass have left shallow weedbeds and island rims or blowdowns where pin minnows will soon attract them.
The shallow bite will hold up for several small fish that chase the abundant schools of shad fry growing by the day. A little current this week has put the minnows around island points and treelaps which helps shallow style fishermen find activity as they toss spinnerbaits, Texas rigged worms and assorted topwater lures.
With the warmer surface temps most of the heavy stringers will continue to come from main lake ledges as the bigger fish back off the banks and find their early summer hideouts on sandbars in the 10 to 15 foot zones.
It’s that time of year when the big crankbaits shine on Kentucky Lake, allowing anglers to cover a lot of water as they search for schooling fish or just a few big bites during tournament time. Jig and craw combos along with the huge Texas rigged worms have a time and place too as do swim baits and some Alabama and Caroline rigs.
Crappie have shown improvement each passing day too and are now relating to deep stakebeds in the 12 to 15 foot depth range. Some fish have been taken in the early morning hours around 9 to 11 foot structure. Several small fish are still biting but you can find a few good ones mixed in, although numbers of keeper size fish have been scattered.
Some days the bites are light, requiring anglers to methodically work deeper structure with a keen eye on the rod’s tip while watching the line at all times for feather light strikes. Even a decent size slab will exhibit a lethargic attitude at times.
Watch for the crappie bite to keep improving with the best days occurring when cloud cover and some light wind coincide. June is traditionally a decent month for crappie and often overlooked and underrated by most anglers.
Jigs tipped with minnows are paying off but tipping with Berkley power bait is producing too. It’s not unusual to make several stops before finding a keeper or two but that next stop might be the one!
Bluegill and shellcracker bedding phases seemed to back off a bit the last week or so yet decent numbers are still being caught. Seems the bigger bull bream and shellcracker have been a bit tentative as to fanning beds or protecting those craters with the attitude they possessed a couple of weeks earlier.
Odds are the fish are on the back side of their peak spawning phases but traditionally make a late run at it during the first week to ten days of June. So, you can still get in on the fun before the males scatter and disperse out away from the shorelines.
A few good shellcracker were taken this week but most anglers report them to be quite scattered while those bluegill are still showing signs of bedding out away from the banks in depths of 5 to 7 feet in places. Dragging a cricket along the bottom has produced strikes but the ole’ slip bobber or pegged style float still pretty hard to beat for detecting light strikes and producing thrills once it disappears.
Catfish are still biting on a regular basis for anglers working shallow gravel banks and rocky bluffs. Several catfish are still sporting eggs so some of the late spawning females are roaming the shallows and looking for a place to drop eggs, which is a pretty good scenario for bluegill fishermen who continue to test their tackle once a nice surprise catfish surges toward deeper water and makes the reel’s drag sing.
The weatherman indicates a little cooler weather will arrive by the weekend, escorted by an afternoon thunderstorm now and then. Those afternoon dark clouds are just part of the picture so keep the raingear handy and pay close attention to those mushrooming thunderheads in the southwestern sky.
Once that distant thunder starts it’s best to heed the warning and get closer to the marina or boat ramp before a squall gets you. That “just one more fish” or “one more cast” mentality will get you in trouble at times!

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Photo by Shawn Dunnaway

These boys had a blast bank fishing on Kentucky Lake. Take your kids on a fishing trip to Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley!