Explore Kentucky Lake

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

Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 04/21/2017

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Kentucky Dam - 358.51  Surface Temperature - 68
Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 358.75  Surface Temperature - 68
Both lakes are about one half foot below summer pool.  Kentucky Dam was generating at an average rate of 52,000 cfs this morning.  Barkley Dam was generating at an average rate of 29,400 cfs this morning.  

Current Conditions:  Lake levels rose rapidly nearing the end of last week and reached summer pool levels earlier this week.  The TVA has dropped the lake levels about 6 inches over the past 24 hours.  Above average temperatures this week gave to a rapid rise in the water temperatures to present levels (4 degrees rise over the past week).  All of these environmental changes seemed to scatter the bass as they started traveling in large numbers to the shallows.  Some bass are on the beds now but there are still fish staging just outside the spawning areas.

My experience this week is that the spawning progression is different in each creek and bay and you just have to figure out if the bite is better on staging areas or back in the spawning areas in each creek or bay that you fish.  Certainly having the TVA starting to play with the water levels up and down right now during the spawn is not going to help matters any.  We managed limits every day this week but we had to work for them and numbers of big females were scarce for us.  We found the best bite for us over all was Texas rigged creature baits and whacky worms as well as some spinner bait bite around submerged flowers both in the spawning areas and on staging points just off the spawning flats.  Carolina rigged creature baits, shaky heads and jigs were also producing in the staging areas.  

The weather forecast for this weekend is not a good one.  A cold front passed through the lakes area last night and it is a strong cold front.  The forecast for Saturday is showing a high of 54/night time low of 46 with thunderstorms and wind NE at 20.  Sunday's forecast is showing a high of 63/night time low of 46 with rain showers and wind N at 15.  Monday is showing at high in the 70's/night time low of 52 with light winds and blue skies.  

Largemouth Bass: Largemouth are being taken on channel banks and secondary points just outside the spawning areas on  spinner baits, Carolina rigged creature baits, jigs and shakey heads. Largemouth are also being taken shallow in the creeks and bays in the spawning areas near vegetation and wood cover on topwater lures,  spinner baits, Texas rigged creature baits, jigs and whacky rigged worms.  These fish are on late prespawn and spawning patterns.

Smallmouth Bass: Smallmouth are being taken on main lake channel points and banks as well as on secondary points and channel banks in the front halves of the creeks and bays on medium running crank baits, Carolina rigged creature baits, tube jigs and jigs. The numbers are low but some nice fish have been taken. These fish are on post spawn patterns now. 
Productive Lures: Some of the productive lures reported this week are D&L jigs in "oops" and Cumberland craw, Slong's jigs in Cumberland craw, Last Cast jigs in green pumpkin, Charmer shakey head jigs and Slong's shakey head jigs with Charmer shakey head worms in green pumpkin and Zoom trick worm in green pumpkin/purple, Slong's spinner baits in white/chartreuse, Charmer lizards and timber pups on Texas rigs and Carolina rigs in green pumpkin and green pumpkin/blue, Zoom trick worms whacky rigged in green pumpkin, green pumpkin/purple and watermelon/purple.
Crappie: The rapid rise in water levels seemed to have scattered the Crappie somewhat this week. Some Crappie are on post spawn patterns and holding over cover in 10-15 feet of water by trolling small crankbaits or vertically fishing with small jigs and minnow/jig combinations. The are still some Crappie  staging around brush and underwater stake beds in 8-10 ft of water. These fish are being taken by vertically fishing with jigs and minnow jig combinations as well as slow trolling curly tail jigs. The reports indicate that the shallow bite on spawning Crappie in 3-6 ft of water is scattered but some fish are being taken on small jigs and minnows under bobbers and by casting curly tail jigs and road runner type lures.  

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.

Good Morning
Photo by Nancy Smith

Campers at Land Between The Lakes are often greeted by morning fog rising off of the water and a gorgeous view.