Thunderstorms Threaten Summer Fishing Scene
Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 07/07/2016
Kentucky Lake anglers best keep an eye in the sky these days. Watching that southwestern sky for thunderheads or keeping a keen ear open for distant rumbling is just part of the summer fishing scene. These days you best consult the cell phone’s radar on a frequent basis. When those red and yellow graphics show up to the west it’s time to alter your route and yield to oncoming weather. Anglers had to dodge several storms this week and some packed high winds. Hot and humid are two words in the vocabulary of all weathermen these days. Practically every forecast will make mention of the possibility of those “afternoon and evening thundershowers”. The big pond can get nasty when gale winds descend. Vast open water areas here can go from placid to whitecaps in a matter of minutes. Meanwhile the summer fishing scene is holding up pretty good for bass, crappie and catfish anglers despite the heat and humidity. Some days offered light winds and cloud cover and that combination proved to be nice fishing conditions. Lake levels have been in the normal summer pool range throughout the Kentucky Dam area this week where readings were in the 359 range. Upstream around New Johnsonville lake stages have been slightly lower with readings in the 358.8 range. TVA begins its traditional drawdown each year after the Fourth of July holiday period on Kentucky reservoir so expect a slow but gradual decline in elevation for the weeks and months ahead. Surface temperatures have been in the 84 to 86 degree range. Water color remains clear despite a little runoff in some areas in the aftermath of thunderstorms and high winds. Bass fishing has been holding up well for anglers targeting the main lake ledges. Fish are in their usual summer patterns with some schooling activity showing up at times on select drop-offs. Deep diving crankbaits in such colors as chartreuse/blue, Tennessee shad, pearl/orange and chrome/red have been producing. Big 10-inch Texas rigged worms in pumpkin pepper, plum, black/blue, tequila sunrise, and red shad have been popular choices. The summer bass anglers’ arsenal also contains Alabama and Carolina rigs plus jig and craw combos and swim baits. There has been current at times and that has worked in favor of ledge fishing as it stimulates baitfish movement. Ledge fishing is always hit and miss. At times some bass will school and chase shad up on the shallow sides of sandbars in a feeding mode while other times they lay off the deep side and ride out the day in a sluggish mood. At times anglers can trigger some strikes once a deep school is located. Big spoons and swim baits sometimes open that closed door. A few fish have been taken around shallow grassbeds and blow-down trees along river islands and main lake area shorelines when schools of minnows can be located. Some topwater action has paid dividends for a brief early morning bite. Catfish activity improved this week with a few more fish taken around main river channel banks. However, there have been a few mayfly hatches and when that happens the fish seem to gorge themselves on the natural buffet for a day or two. When that occurs it’s tough competition for anglers for a day or two. Mayfly hatches have occurred this week at various locations along the reservoir. Seems the low pressure periods during and after thunderstorms trigger the hatches. A few bluegill have been taken by anglers casting ultra-light tackle beneath the hatches. Crickets are popular bait selections as are some small artificial grubs and beetle spin type lures. A few bass have also been feeding around the flies at times. Summer crappie are still biting. Decent stringers have been taken lately by anglers working the 12 to 14 foot depth range. Jigs tipped with Berkley power bait in the white and chartreuse color have paid dividends as have live minnow presentations. Those deep stakebeds continue to hold summer crappie as are a few of the main lake ledges where submerged structure is located. The overall summer bite continues to hold up pretty good for bass, crappie and catfish anglers.
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