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Archived Fishing Report

Anglers Encounter Rising Lake Levels/Lower Temps

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 11/09/2017

Late fall fishing has seen a variety of weather patterns challenge anglers this week. In the aftermath of heavy rains earlier this week lake levels have jumped a couple of feet while temperatures have fallen courtesy of a bone chilling cold front.

Lake levels were at a low ebb last week at this time but have risen daily due to runoff from several thunderstorms. Elevation is forecast to be in the 356.4 range this weekend at Kentucky Dam. Upstream at New Johnsonville the water flowing down the Tennessee River shows in readings there with a forecast of 356. Odds are those forecasts could change as TVA will be revising projections on a daily basis.

Surface temperatures started off the week quite warm with readings in the 61 to 62 degree range after a warm weekend. However, by midweek cold nights and chilly days had an influence as temps fell back into the upper 50’s.

A lot of dingy water has entered the reservoir since Sunday night and Monday night’s thunderstorms. More stain is now present across the entire reservoir with muddy conditions now present in West Sandy and the upper end of Big Sandy.

Dingy color also present in many bays along the Tennessee River and in the main channel area from New Johnsonville north to the stateline sector.

Water color in the Paris Landing sector is pretty good in the mouth of Big Sandy but a bit more dingy in the main Tennessee River channel area.

Crappie anglers were finding some good numbers retreating back to deeper main lake ledges earlier in the week. Depths of 18 to 24 feet were holding decent schools of fish favoring the drop-offs and deep sides of the breaks.

Tightlining bottom bumping minnow rigs or jigs were producing. Seems a lot of fish backed off shallow areas last weekend in the Paris Landing areas when surface temps climbed back to the 62 degree range after falling lake levels.

There were still a few scattered fish in midrange to shallow stakebeds but deep water was clearly more productive earlier in the week.

Popular jig colors ranged from purple/chartreuse to red/chartreuse, lime/white, black/chartreuse and pink/chartreuse with glitter. Most anglers were experimenting with a lot of different colors during the changing conditions.

Rising lake levels will like see some fish move back toward shallow zones or occupy midrange depths which is usually the case when rising lake levels occur quickly. Baitfish tend to move up fast, bringing the crappie and bass with them.

Some cold, clear days will be part of the fishing scene as a high pressure takes over. That will likely make the bite a bit tougher for a few days until south winds return and weather moderates.

Bass fishing continues to challenge even some of the local veteran bass anglers. The bite has been tough for most and somewhat uncharacteristic for late fall.

Recent tournament anglers in the FLW Costa Championship saw just how tough it can be. Only one angler in the entire field managed to weigh in a limit all three days of the competition and overall weights really diminished each day of the competition.

The tournament had several warm days and most of the better stringers came from anglers fishing the New Johnsonville area using topwater jerk baits in shallow flats. A few guys tossed shallow running crankbaits and even some Carolina rigs to entice finicky fish to bite.

Finding schools of shad has been pretty challenging all fall as the forage base seems to be down across the reservoir as that’s the common denominator among the ranks of both bass and crappie anglers.

By late this weekend or early next week stability could return to the fishing scene and improve the overall bite for all anglers.

That annoying north and northeast wind lately have not been a friend to fishing! Things could change quickly now that cold fronts have moved on.

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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!