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Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 05/05/2017

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Kentucky Dam - 357.90  Surface Temperature - 66
Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 357.85  Surface Temperature - 66
 
Both lakes are one foot below summer pool and water levels are rising.  Kentucky Dam was generating at an average rate of 36,000 cfs this morning.  Barkley Dam was generating at an average rate of 21,900 cfs this morning. 
 
Current Conditions:  In last week's report I told you that the TVA had pulled the lakes down one foot below summer pool as they anticipated that the heavy rains forecasted for last weekend would possibly put the Ohio and Mississippi rivers into flood stages as they were already reporting some minor flooding down stream from the lakes.  Well, the rains did come and southern Illinois and southeast Missouri received constant major rains over the weekend.  Because of the rapid rise in the water levels on the Ohio and Mississippi, the TVA pulled lakes down another 2.5 ft right after my last report putting the lakes at 3 ft below summer pool.  Earlier this week, the river levels down stream of us continued to rise with some now in major flood status.  

When this happens, the Corps of Engineers takes control of the outflow on Kentucky and Barkley in order to minimize the flood damage downstream, which they did a couple of days ago.  The COE directed the TVA to slow the outflow of the lakes which has in turn caused the lakes to begin to rise again, which is now taking place.  The latest projection is that the lakes will be 6 inches over summer pool tomorrow and one and one half feet over summer pool on Sunday.  These forecasts are changing every day and we still have not received any indication as to how high the lake water's may reach before leveling off.  One thing is for sure, the water is rising rapidly and conditions will be changing.
 
When the lakes were drawn down late last week, this pulled the bass that were shallow either spawning or getting ready to spawn back to the staging areas.  As mentioned in last week's report, there were bass on the staging areas, both post spawn and prespawn.  The end result of this occurrence of the lakes being pulled down stacked a lot of fish on the staging points and banks.  In addition to the fluctuating water levels, we have had lake wind warnings out most days this week.  Despite all of these conditions, the bass have been feeding good and lots of fish have been caught by those braving the elements.  Another pattern also has developed this past week in that some of the early spawning Largemouth are now starting to show up on the early ledges and some nice fish have also been taken off the ledges this week.  
 
We had two cold fronts come through the area last night bringing us more rain and high winds.  The rains have pretty much moved east of the lakes this morning but we have lake wind warnings out today.  Tomorrow's forecast is for a high of 70/night time low of 45 with a 20% chance of rain and wind WNW 15-20.  Sunday's forecast is for a high of 68/night time low of 48 with wind light and variable.  
 
No doubt the rising waters will send some bass back shallow, there will still be post spawn bass on the staging banks and some will be moving to ledges over the next few days.  It will be pick your pattern time.  It is also time for the shad to spawn, actually I did receive a couple of reports of some shad spawning this past week.  No doubt this added to the good numbers of fish being taken.  
 
Largemouth Bass: Largemouth are being taken on channel banks and secondary points just outside the spawning areas on crank baits, spinner baits, chatter baits, Carolina and Texas rigged creature baits, jigs and shaky heads.  Largemouth are being taken on creek channel ledges on the main lake and in the mouths of creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on deep diving crank baits, Carolina rigged creature baits and jigs.
 
Smallmouth Bass: Smallmouth are being taken on the main lake points and secondary points in the front halves of the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on jigs, Carolina rigged creature baits and tube jigs.  The numbers are low but some nice fish have been taken.  I did receive a report of some Smallmouth being taken on ledges (same as above) on crank baits, jigs and Carolina rigged creature baits.  
 
Productive Lures: Some of the productive lures reported this week are Bandit crank baits in rootbeer/chartreuse and rootbeer, Rapala DT 6 and DT 10 in bluegill and sexy shad, Strike King XD 6 in sexy shad and chartreuse sexy shad, 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, Chatter baits in white/chartreuse,  Charmer lizards and timber pups on Texas rigs and Carolina rigs in green pumpkin and green pumpkin/blue,
 
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: Bluegills and Red Ears pulled back off the shallow areas they were in before the draw down but they were biting some this week even so as in 3-5 ft of water on the flats in the backs of creeks as well as in the feeder coves.  No doubt these fish will be moving back with the water rising and we should see them bedding in large numbers this coming week.  Crickets, red worms, wax worms under bobbers and red worms and pinched night crawlers fish on bottom on split shot rig is the ticket for these tasty fish.
 

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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!

The perfect place to start looking for a place to stay at Kentucky or Barkley Lakes?  Right here on our main lodging page.


Big Bass
Photo by Brandon Hunter

Nathan Long holds up two nice bass while fishing with guide Brandon Hunter recently on Kentucky Lake.