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Archived Fishing Report

Bass Bite Holds Up; Crappie Somewhat Sluggish

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 06/22/2017

The summer fishing scene has been sluggish for some and good for others. It depends on what you’re fishing for these days as bass anglers are pretty satisfied with what’s going on. Crappie anglers not so happy.

Summer officially arrived last Tuesday but summer patterns have already been underway for both crappie and bass anglers on Kentucky Lake.

Surface temperatures are holding in the 82 to 84 degree range. Water color is clear across most of the reservoir.

Lake levels have fallen slightly the last few days so a little current has been present at times in the main river channel and on main lake ledges, which usually works in favor of a better bass bite but also helps crappie and catfish anglers as well.

Projected elevation for the weekend shows TVA will have the reservoir around the 358.6 range at Kentucky Dam. Upstream in the New Johnsonville sector lake stages will be slightly lower at 358.3. Normal summer pool is 359.

Decent stringers of bass continue to come in from anglers working main lake ledges. Most of the larger tournament stringers are coming from anglers targeting drop-offs in the 8 to 14 foot depth range. Some are fishing even deeper at times.

Popular lure choices continue to be big Texas rigged worms in the 9 to 10-inch length, big deep diving crankbaits, shaky head worms, Carolina rigged worms/craws and assorted colored swim baits.  Productive worm colors have ranged from green pumpkin-pepper to black/blue combos.

Not all the bass are deep as a few anglers are still pounding shallow weedbeds and outside bushes or logs and blowdowns on river island rims. Tossing a spinnerbait, buzz and topwater jerk baits, floating fluke style worms and Texas rigged worms have produced for the shallow style approach.

Some rainy days now entering the picture could enhance the shallow bass bite.

Crappie anglers are still finding challenging times greeting them. June has a reputation as being a good month for crappie as stability is the norm for both weather and lake levels.

The typical early summer pattern has crappie parking in midrange depths of 12 to 14 feet. The fish usually stage there throughout June before hotter weather backs them out to deeper venues in July and August.

Most anglers are having trouble finding decent numbers of keeper size fish lately in the traditional areas. Several small fish are showing up but just not many mid-size fish. Occasionally a nice slab is showing up but numbers of big fish has been below average.

Sometimes the early summer crappie bite can be influenced by mayfly hatches but the lethargic attitude of the larger crappie has existed for several weeks running, a scenario that has puzzled the majority of veteran anglers.

Some fish were showing favoritism for live minnows this week over just jigs. Several were taken by anglers tipping jigs with minnows however. A few were opting for a jig tipped with chartreuse or white Berkley power bait.

Strikes have been quite light as the fish are finicky. Mixed in with a few crappie and bass bites in those stakebeds and brushpiles have been several channel catfish.

Catfish have mostly vacated their shallow spots of a few weeks ago and now staging in midrange depths where they’re testing the tackle of crappie anglers now and then. Tying into a hefty cat on light tackle is quite a surprise and dandy tug of war too!

Bluegill are quite scattered but still biting in a variety of depths. Some are nagging at crappie anglers’ bait when fished in midrange depths. Others are still lingering around shallow shorelines in places awaiting a mayfly hatch where they blitz when the natural buffet occurs.

As the first full week of summer officially greets anglers it appears typical summer weather is in the cards. The backlash of a tropical storm now entering the Gulf of Mexico will spill quite a bit of rain across the TVA valley these next couple of days.

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Fallow Deer
Photo by Murray Blake

There are only a few small herds of fallow deer in Land Between The Lakes, but occasionally a lucky explorer will catch a glimpse of one.