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Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 04/28/2017

Both lakes are about one half foot below summer pool.  Kentucky Dam was spilling at an average rate of 183,000 cfs this afternoon.  Barkley Dam was spilling at an average rate of 121,500 cfs this afternoon.
Current Conditions:  Lots of changes in the past week and more to come.  The cold front last weekend dropped the water temperatures a few degrees but they have recovered to the present levels over the past few days.  The lake levels rose to one half foot over summer pool earlier this week but the TVA drew the lakes down one foot to present levels since yesterday.  As you can see there is a lot of water flowing through the lakes right now.  The lakes upriver are flooding from heavy rains over the past week and they are sending the water down stream.  The TVA projected lake levels are changing daily if not hourly right now.  
Some of the river pools on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers down stream are approaching flood stages.  The local region (Southern Illinois, SE Missouri, West Kentucky and West Tennessee) are forecast to receive 4-7 inches of rain between now and Sunday.  The question now becomes:  If we get all this rain and the Ohio and Mississippi start flooding, is the TVA going to slow down the outflow here on Kentucky and Barkley and back the water up.  My gut feeling is they will and the lakes will flood, but I have been wrong before so we will just have to wait and see.  
Blue skies and high pressure earlier in the week slowed the shallow water bite although we did manage to catch a few but mostly small buck bass.  The better bite this week was on the staging banks and points off the spawning areas in the creeks and bays.  We have bass spawning and some post spawn bass as well as bass still in the staging areas to come in.  So basically, we are in the middle of the spawn with the TVA playing with the lake levels.
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. 
Smallmouth Bass: Smallmouth are being taken on the main lake in current breaks 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 watermelon/purple and Zoom trick worm in green pumpkin/purple and watermelon/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: Most of the 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 around brush and stake beds in 5-8 ft of water but they are scattered.  
Bluegill/Red Ear:  A few Bluegills and Red Ears have moved shallow but I have not seen any signs of bedding yet.  Most of these fish are being taken in small cuts just off the spawning flats in the backs of the creeks and bays around the flooded flowers.  These fish are being taken with red worms and meal worms under bobbers and on split shot rigs fished on bottom with red worms.

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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!

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Photo by Jill Asher

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