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Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley Fishing
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Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 01/30/2002

Kentucky Lake:  Headwater Elevation - 355.18   Surface Temperature - 50 

Lake Barkley:  Headwater Elevation - 354.99  Surface Temperature - 51
The past week has a mixed bag of reports for Kentucky Lake and very little news for Lake Barkley.  Both dams have been spilling water over the past week with most of the gates open.  This spilling is because of the large influx of water coming into the lakes from upstream.  

Lake Barkley is muddy and Kentucky Lake is a mixture of muddy and slightly stained water.  There is a lot of debris being washed downstream with the lake levels fluctuating over the past week and the heavy current from the high water discharge rate.  

Record high temperatures combined with the colored water have raised the surface temperatures over the past few days and the above posted temperatures are being reported at the dams.  I have received reports of surface temperatures ranging from 46 to 51 degrees on both lakes over the past few days.  

I have not received any reports of fish being caught on Lake Barkley this past week.  On Kentucky Lake it seems that on days that the water has been rising that the Largemouth Bass have been biting some on the main lake ledges.  

I have received reports of Largemouth being caught on the tops of the ledges with small slow moving crankbaits and jignpig.  Rootbeer/Chartruese Bandit Crankbaits have been reported as productive on these fish.  I have also received reports of some Smallmouth being caught on the LBL side of Kentucky Lake on main lake pea gravel points using jerkbaits and carolina rigged tube baits.  Clown colored Rogues and Snoozer's Road Kill Cammo tubes seem to be the most productive baits on these Smallmouth.  

Overall the bass fishing at this time should still be considered slow.  There have also been a mixed bag of reports on the Crappie.  Again, on days that the water levels have been rising there have been some very good catches of Crappie at the mouths of creeks in 15-25 ft of water over brush and stumps by spider rigging small tube jigs tipped with Crappie nibbles  and small tube jigs tipped with minnows.  

As is normal for this part of the year, it seems that the Crappie are schooled tight and if you can find the active schools you can load the boat but if not you will come in with an empty livewell.  The key here is to troll along the ledges very slowly until you get a bite and then sit in place to fish these tightly schooled fish.  Tube jigs in 1/16 and 1/8 th ounce in red/chartruese and orange/chartruese have been reported as the most productive colors. 
The forecast for next week is for more seasonable temperatures with highs in the 40's and this will probably cool the water somewhat but hopefully they will not dip too far.  As soon as the lakes settle down from the flood waters passing through the bite should get better unless the surface temperatures take a nosedive.  

We could be in for an early spring season bite if the water temperatures remain near their present levels...Wouldn't that be great?....just the right cure for cabin fever!!
It was great to meet so many of you at the West Kentucky Boat and Outdoor Show last weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed talking fishing with so many nice folks.  I will be at the Jim Stader Outdoors Show in Louisville on February 15,16, and 17th at the Fishin.com  and Kentucky Hydrografx booths and I hope to meet a lot of new folks and renew old aquantances there.  

If you are going to the show be sure to stop by the Fishin.com booth and register for a free guide trip with me that they will be giving away at the end of the show.

More Kentucky Lake Fishing Reports

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

Eagle's Nest
Photo by Melodie Cunningham

This bald eagle keeps an eye out for it's mate from their nest high in a tree top in Land Between the Lakes. The average eagle's nest is five feet wide!