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Archived Fishing Report

Dog Days Dominate; Anglers Tolerating Sizzling Summer

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 07/13/2016

Despite a lingering spell of hot and humid conditions Kentucky Lake anglers are still benefitting from a pretty good summer bite.
    
Seems the dog days of summer are calling the shots lately as to the overall weather pattern but area anglers got lucky last week and dodged the bullet of heavy downpours that smacked nearby Barkley Lake.
    
Flooding conditions in neighboring Stewart County played havoc with lake levels there as high water and muddy conditions took over but Kentucky Lake experienced a slight surge in lake stages for a few days before a quick crest.
    
Lake levels this week are falling slowly as TVA pulls the reservoir back to its normal curve in the early stages of winter drawdown. The curve begins in early July each year and sees lake levels start a slow but gradual decline as fall and winter months approach.
    
Projections for the weekend show lake levels will be in the 358.6 range at both Kentucky Dam and upstream in the New Johnsonville sector. Normal summer pool is 359.
    
Surface temperatures reflect the warm nights and hot days. Readings this week have been in the 86 to 87 degree range. Water color was stained in some areas but beginning to clear rapidly.
   
After several thunderstorms across the region last week that dumped a lot of water that surged lake levels a few inches Kentucky Lake has been headed back down and that’s created quite a bit of current in the main river channel this week.
    
Bass and catfishermen benefited from the current as action improved on the ledges and along the main river channel banks.
    
Decent stringers of bass were taken by anglers tossing big Texas rigged worms, spoons, Carolina and Alabama rigs and the ever popular deep diving crankbaits. A few fishermen were tossing jig and craw combos and also adding swim baits to their menu.
   
Most of the better stringers are coming from main lake ledges, which is pretty much the norm for summer bass patterns here. Yet there are always a few shallow bass willing to tap some topwater in the early morning hours, along with spinnerbaits.
    
Not much aquatic vegetation is visible in the Paris Landing sector but some anglers are finding submerged fragments of milfoil in the New Johnsonville area. With lower levels now entering the picture anglers can expect to find more grass showing up on shallow flats and island rims.
    
Some summer bass fishermen choose to beat the heat by opting to fish at night. Rolling a big spinnerbait along those sloping points and gravel banks can be productive.
    
Crappie continue to bite for a few summer anglers stalking the deep stakebeds and brushpiles. Depths of 12 to 14 feet have been productive. Watch for a few more crappie to pull back toward deeper sides of ledges in the weeks ahead as lower lake levels enter the equation.
    
Although live minnows continue to be productive, jigs tipped with Berkley power bait in the white and chartreuse colors are working too.
    
Catfish perked up a bit this week courtesy of the current along the main channel. Some fish were taken around bridge piers too on the down current sides.
   
Depths of 25 to 30 feet were giving up fish. Nightcrawlers, shrimp and chicken livers were the baits of choice.
    
Scattered mayfly hatches were showing up at various locations from Blood River north down to the New Johnsonville area to the south. A few bluegill were biting around steep banks and overhanging trees on river islands but the mayfly hatches were not massive like those of yesteryear.
    
Kentucky Lake’s summer fishing scene has actually been pretty good. Rise and shine early and get your fishing done before that midday heat takes over.

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If you've dug this deep in our Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley fishing reports, you are probably just itching to come down and visit the South's biggest lakes.  Get started by finding that perfect place to stay!  Find a Kentucky Lake cabin or a Lake Barkley campground, a full-service resort or a marina.  Heck, there are even dozens of hotels off the water to choose from! 

Don't have a boat?  No worries!  Bank fishing is always an option for panfish. But if you're heart is set on largemouth or smallmouth, you can rent a fishing boat at many of our local resorts!

The perfect place to start looking for a place to stay at Kentucky or Barkley Lakes?  Right here on our main lodging page.


In Flight
Photo by John Mitchell

Gliding gracefully over the water, this heron keeps a stealthy eye out for his next meal. Herons are one of the more common species of birds that can be seen at Kentucky Lake.