Explore Kentucky Lake

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

Archived Fishing Report

Nice Conditions Luring Anglers to Autumn Outings

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 10/05/2016

If you’ve been waiting for nice fall weather, cooler conditions and a tint of fall colors in their early phase then wait no longer.

Kentucky Lake is a great place to be right now as autumn descends. Stable weather should be in the forecast for the next few weeks as mild temperatures greet fishermen, not to mention light winds.

Stability is the norm this time of year and while anglers have seen last week’s cool fall weather lose its grip to some summer style days, it appears a little cool snap this weekend will chase away the hot days that lingered all week.

Anglers may to endure a windy day or two this weekend as a cool front pushes through courtesy of brisk north breezes.

It has been a nice week overall with somewhat above average temperatures dominating the fishing scene. Surface temperatures edged back up to 75 degrees at midweek but fell to the lower 70’s late last weekend. Watch for surface temps to fall back a few degrees this weekend as cool nights are fast approaching. Daytime highs are expected to be some 10 degrees cooler by Saturday.

Lake levels are sleeping near the low ebb of winter pool. Elevation for the weekend is forecast to be 354.9 at Kentucky Dam and a few inches lower upstream at New Johnsonville where a reading of 354.8 is projected.

Water color remains clear across the reservoir. Hardly any rain has fallen this week across the TVA valley.

 Low lake levels are dominating the conversation among the ranks of recreational boaters and some fishermen too. It’s that time of year.

Actually, lake levels are normal as TVA lowers the reservoir to create more storage capacity as late fall and winter approach. However, many visitors to the lake area are somewhat intimidated by exposed mud flats and sandbars.

Boaters are urged to use caution throughout the fall and winter months. It’s imperative anyone on the lake pay close attention to channel markers and resist the temptation to take those shortcuts across open water sandbars.

Avoiding the buoy markers in late fall will run the risk of damaging your boat and lower unit, not to mention your own safety.

From the fishing scene comes pretty good reports from crappie anglers who are encountering large numbers of fish. Dominating the crappie scene are big numbers of small fish. Expect to encounter a lot of crappie just shy of the 10-inch minimum length limit.

Several boats reported landing up to 100 fish a day lately so you can have a lot of fun catching even if you are culling several. There are a few good ones mixed in however, so you will tie into a dandy now and then.

The 2014 year class is dominating the population right now on Kentucky Lake as it was a good spawn that year and there is an abundance of fish in the 9 ¾-inch range out there right now. Before you complain too much remember those fish indicate a strong rebound is on the way.

Most of the fish this week were taken in depths of 9 to 11 feet around the Paris Landing area but the falling lake levels appear to have pulled a lot of fish back to the deep sides of main lake ledges. Depths of 17 to 19 feet were giving up some fish too.

Although most boats were vertical fishing jigs or jigs tipped with minnows over brushpiles and stakebeds, some deep water presentations by anglers using straight minnows on bottom bumping rigs paid dividends.

Seems the combination of falling lake levels and warmer days sent several fish back to the deep sides of drop-offs the last few days.

The shallow bite will improve as soon as cloudy, rainy days and cooler surface temps return.

Bass fishermen have been beating the banks with shallow running crankbaits and spinnerbaits around gravel shorelines, boathouses, roadbeds and any visible crappie beds exposed in the low lake levels.

Not many decent size fish have been taken there however. Most of the better stringers are coming from the mouths of big bays where long sloping 
points or flats near deep water are beginning to attract a few schooling bass at times.

Watch for gulls to help you locate schooling bait fish this time of year. Tossing a variety of shad colored variations ranging from crankbaits and swimbaits to suspending jerk baits can pay dividends if you encounter the baitfish and feeding bass.

Ledge fishing continues to appeal to boaters too and some are fishing as though it were mid-summer as to their approach. Texas rigged worms and swim baits have worked well as have lure choices such as Strike King’s Red-eyed shad series.

A lack of aquatic vegetation has altered the plans of most bass fishermen on Kentucky Lake this fall but anglers are learning to adjust and fall back to secondary drop-offs and main lake flats in search of submerged structure or schooling bass in open water.

Not much topwater action has been reported lately but that can change quickly should anglers encounter baitfish on gravel banks feeding on midge hatches in the early morning or late afternoons.

Backing off the banks seems to be producing the best stringers as of late.

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.


White Egret
Photo by Melodie Cunningham

Commonly mistaken for a heron, egrets can commonly be seen wading in shallow water near the lakes edge.