Explore Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley Fishing
Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Contact Us About Us
Switch Mobile/Desktop

Archived Fishing Report

Fall Officially Arrives Next Week; Shallow Bite Shows Some Improvement

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 09/14/2016

Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene has seen mild weather hang around this week after a brief cool snap late last weekend brought a touch of fall to the morning air.

Shorter days and slightly cooler nights continue to hint fall conditions will soon dominate. Temps the last few days managed to creep back into the low 90’s for the high but it appears some cooler days are in the forecast for the weekend.

Both bass and crappie anglers have seen some improvement when cloudy days were present. Seems the low pressure or cloud cover stimulated the bite compared to the bright sunny days when no clouds were present.

Surface temperatures this week held on to the 82 degree range, which is similar to last week’s readings. Water color remains clear across most of Kentucky Lake.

Lake levels have been stable this week. Projections for the weekend indicate elevation will remain stable at both Kentucky Dam and upstream around New Johnsonville. TVA projects a reading of 355.7 at both locations, which is up slightly from last week at this time.

Bass fishing is holding up for a few anglers working a wood pattern with spinnerbaits in some areas. And, there are still several boats targeting the ledge bite with a variety of presentations.

Not much current was present this week but some boats are concentrating on drop-offs as they toss big shad colored crankbaits, swim baits, Alabama rigs and Rattle Trap style baits.

Some schooling shad have been observed roaming into shallow flats and backwater areas within big bays or inside river island chutes. The shallow bite should continue to improve as the fish follow their forage.

Some shad should be working gravel banks in the early morning and late afternoon as they move up to feed on midge hatches in the lowlight conditions. Cloudy days should also aide the shallow pattern.

Tossing shallow running crankbaits on gravel banks, roadbeds, bridge piers and boat houses should produce some fish too as they begin chasing shad.

Stephen Barga of Benton, KY won last Sunday’s BFL tournament with a two-day total of 40 pounds, 2 ounces while throwing a spinnerbait around relative shallow wood structure in the Jonathan Creek area.

The early fall bass pattern has been a bit different without the presence of aquatic vegetation.

Crappie have shown some improvement this week as a few more appear to be moving up toward shallow venues. Depths of 9 to 12 feet have produced several small fish this week but a few decent ones are mixed in there with them. I found a few scattered fish in some shallow structure in the 6 to 8 foot range as well.

Anglers can expect to encounter an abundance of yellow bass at times around the submerged crappie beds as these little aggressive rascals really tag your jig or jig and minnow combo. They’re competitive and always seem to have an appetite too. They posses a fight to the finish attitude.

A few deeper ledges were holding crappie in 15 to 17 foot depths. Some cooler nights can change the crappie picture quickly as fish will move up rapidly, especially on a cloudy, rainy day which seems to stimulate the bite.

Baits of choice have been white/orange and white/chartreuse shades of jig skirts or leadheads. Some anglers are always tipping a jig with a minnow and that has worked too.

Not many boats are working the main river channel for catfish, an indication the bite there has been slow as of late.

Cooler days are fast approaching so don’t give up on fall weather just yet. The season officially arrives next Thursday, September 22.

More Kentucky Lake Fishing Reports

Now That You're 'Hooked' on Fishing... Come See Us!

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.

Shy Doe
Photo by J. Kent Harmon

The dense forests in Land Between The Lakes make the perfect hiding place for deer and other native species. You never know who might be peeking at you from the treeline.