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Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 03/20/2018

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Kentucky Dam - 354.12  Surface Temperature - 53
Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 354.20  Surface Temperature - 53

Both lakes are at winter pool.  Kentucky Dam was spilling at an average rate of 115,400 cfs this morning.  Barkley Dam was spilling at an average rate of 65,200 this morning.

I am a couple of weeks late in getting my weekly fishing reports started this season but the demand for my Eliminating Water classes this winter delayed me from getting back on the water at my usual early March starting time.  I am happy to have the new season underway and am happy to now be back on the water.  It has been a crazy late winter so far this season with unseasonably warm water temperatures in late February due to flood water coming through the lakes from down south, an early season flooding of the lakes earlier this month where we went from winter pool to 5 feet over summer pool in a few days and a fast draw down over this past week back down to winter pool levels.  A return of cooler weather has dropped the water temperatures from the mid 50's to present levels also.  

As you can imagine, these large fluctuations in the water levels over the past couple of weeks have kept the bass patterns changing.  Hopefully we have seen the last of the flooding for a while and the fish will now settle back into an early pre spawn pattern.  

Current Conditions:  We still have a lot of water moving through the lakes from up the rivers so there is strong current on both lakes.  Kentucky Lake water clarity ranges from stained to clear now and Lake Barkley ranges from heavily stained to stained.  There is some floating debris on both lakes but especially on Barkley.  Most of the debris has cleared on Kentucky Lake but keep an eye out while running for safety's sake.  

The fast draw down of the lakes has somewhat scattered the bass this past week.  Bass are being taken from the shallows in the creeks and bays to the deep points and ledges on the main lakes.  The wind lately has made fishing a challenge on the main lakes for most anglers.  This was reflected in the results of the first FLW Bass Fishing League's tournament this past weekend.  Although there were 2 really nice bags of fish taken in the tournament, there were only 7 limits of 5 fish weighed in and it only took 8lbs to get a check.  Over two thirds of 150 boats weighed only two fish or less with the largest majority of those folks not weighing any fish.  

LARGEMOUTH BASS:  Largemouth are being taken on the ledges and deep main lake points with current breaks on Alabama rigs and jigs.  Largemouth are also being taken in shallow cuts on the main lake near deep water on spinner baits, lipless crank baits and jigs.  Largemouth are being taken on creek channel banks and secondary points in the creeks and bays on Alabama rigs, jigs and slow rolled crank baits.  Largemouth are also being taken in the shallows in the creeks and bays on spinner baits and lipless crank baits.  As you can see, the fish are scattered.  Most of the shallow fish are small fish with an occasional nice fish.  The majority of the larger fish are coming from deep points and ledges on the main lake and around the mouths of the creeks and bays.

SMALLMOUTH BASS:  Some nice Smallmouth have been taken as they are on their pre spawn bite right now.  Most of these fish are being taken on main lake points and deep points in the mouths of the creeks and bays on Alabama rigs and jigs.  

PRODUCTIVE LURES:  Alabama rig with Keitech swim baits in French pearl and Pro blue, Big Hammer swim baits in pearl white and sexy smelt, Rapala DT 10 and DT 6 crank baits in crawdad patterns, Rapala Shad Raps in crawdad patterns,  Strike King Red Eye Shad in red craw, chrome sexy shad and blue chrome, Rattle Traps in red craw and chrome shad, D&L jigs in black blue and oops patterns, Slong's jigs in black blue, Slong's spinner baits in white/chartreuse.

More Kentucky Lake Fishing Reports

Now That You're 'Hooked' on Fishing... Come See Us!

If you've dug this deep in our Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley fishing reports, you are probably just itching to come down and visit the South's biggest lakes.  Get started by finding that perfect place to stay!  Find a Kentucky Lake cabin or a Lake Barkley campground, a full-service resort or a marina.  Heck, there are even dozens of hotels off the water to choose from! 

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.


Water Break
Photo by Melodie Cunningham

This young buck has taken a quick break for a drink. Deer are one of the more common types of wildlife that can be seen in this region.