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Archived Fishing Report

Sluggish Start for September Anglers; Watch for Improvement Soon!

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 09/07/2016

Kentucky Lake anglers are off to a sluggish start as the second week of September rolls around. 

After a nice reprieve last week from the long hot summer temps wasted no time rebounding back to the low 90’s earlier this week.

A brisk northeast wind escorted the start of the long Labor Day holiday, delivering excellent weather as the curtain fell on the last big fling of the recreational season. The honeymoon with cool weather ended quickly.

Surface temperatures this week have been in the 82 to 84 degree range. Anglers are hoping another cool spell will slip in the door and help bring surface temps back down into the upper 70’s soon.

Lake levels were in the 355.5 range this week at New Johnsonville and projected to be in the 355.6 range at Kentucky Dam. Water color is relatively clear across the reservoir as not much rain has fallen recently.

As lower lake levels return recreational boaters and anglers need to respect those shallow sandbars shortcuts and pay close attention to channel markers.

Shad have already begun moving up into shallow flats and schools are edging their way across the top of main lake sandbars. That should influence more bass and crappie to follow their trail in the weeks ahead.

This past week the high barometric pressure dominated and hardly any cloud cover entered the fishing picture. Fish seemed sluggish and downright finicky at times.

Crappie especially showed a diminished interest in striking when the winds were in the northeast last weekend and showed slight improvement as the direction switched back to the south on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The overall bite was still a bit off at midweek as several small fish were hitting but larger fish were hard to locate. A cloudy morning or two and a little cooler conditions could see that improve.

I found a few fish holding tight to stakebeds and they made no effort to meet the jig half way. The presentation had to be smack dab down in the cover and slow. Tipping jigs with live minnows or Berkley power bait didn’t seem to change their stubborn attitude either.

Depths of 9 to 11 feet were giving up a few scattered crappie as were some deeper ledges. Brushpiles on the deep sides of make lake ledges in depths of 17 to 19 feet were holding schools of smaller crappie but very few keeper size fish were mixed in.

Things could improve by early next week if both cooler surface temps and cloudy days team up to produce more favorable conditions, especially for the shallow bite.

Bass fishermen were still stalking main lake ledges and finding a big fish now and then. However, most anglers report numbers are down. The ledge bite has been hit and miss too.

Shallow style bass fishermen have been stalking schools of shad that move up in the later afternoon lowlight conditions or very early morning. Some are tossing topwater but the most activity has come from tossing such baits as Strike King’s Red-eye shad style presentations.

Not many schooling bass have been seen blowing up on the shallow schools of shad, although that usually begins this time of year.

Despite a sluggish week watch for things to turn around quickly. High skies can play tricks on the fish and fishermen for a few days but no doubt a rebound is on the way.

It doesn’t take much to jumpstart this early fall fishing.

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Colorful Bridge
Photo by Shane Dunnaway

In the back of Hematite Lake in LBL are a series of boardwalks and bridges. In autumn, spectacular colors of foliage are scattered throughout, as seen here on this "colorful" bridge.