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Archived Fishing Report

Fishing Scene Heats Up

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 05/16/2018

Seems like mid-summer already. That’s what most anglers were thinking this week as Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene really heated up courtesy of record high temps a couple of days.

Surface temperatures reflected the hot days and warms nights too as readings were in the 78 to 82 degree range. That’s above average readings for mid-May.

Water color has cleared considerably from last week at this time. Lake levels have held steady all week. The reservoir is resting slightly above the summer pool mark and stayed at 359.3 this week at both Kentucky Dam and New Johnsonville.

The hot and humid weather had thunderstorms in the forecast at midweek but that’s typical when a summer pattern arrives a month early.

Bluegill and shellcracker continue to bite for anglers working shallow shorelines and bushes where submerged grass is mixed in. Most of the fish are bedding in shallow areas and haven’t shown much interest in backing off the banks and fanning deeper spawning beds just yet.

That could change as higher surface temperatures and clear water influence some fish to fall back in the days and weeks ahead. The next full moon occurs on May 29 so watch for a surge in spawning activity to increase as that phase approaches.

Some days the bull bluegill have been sluggish but seemed to take on a more aggressive attitude once light winds and cloud cover enter the picture. Watch for action to improve even more these next two weeks.

Bass action has been fair with most anglers still targeting the shallow shorelines where weedbeds and buck bushes are scattered about. Some anglers feel a few late spawning bass are still there.

Tossing Texas rigged craws, worms and lizards has been popular as have several topwater jerk baits and floating fluke style worms twitched gently around shallow stickups.

Spinnerbaits have been popular too around shoreline habitat and boatdocks where some fish are relating to the shade and cover of piers and docks. Tossing suspending jerk baits 
around boat docks has been popular as well.

There are some boats backing off the banks and testing the secondary points, humps and submerged ledges as a few bass transition away from spawning territory and ease their way out to deeper venues.

Crappie have shown slight improvement this week as more fish have been taken by anglers dragging long lines or crankbaits. Some spider rigged techniques have worked too and those vertical fishing jigs and minnows around manmade fish attractors have picked up scattered fish.

The crappie bite is still somewhat below average but fish are in a post-spawn phase, which usually means they’re scattered and suspended. Depths of 8 to 14 feet have given up a few fish this week.

As surface temps rise look for more crappie to take interest in structure as opposed to a somewhat lethargic mood as seems to be the case at present.

Catfish have been biting good this week as they continue to seek out spawning spots. Good numbers have been taken by anglers targeting rock bluffs and rip-rap areas. Bluegill anglers have been tying into catfish on a regular basis as the fish are often cruising around spawning beds and feeding on both the eggs or newly hatched fry.

Anglers wouldn’t mind a few cooler days with cloud cover or perhaps some rainy mornings. A light wind would help too as those stagnant days make the fish even more finicky.

The overall fishing scene is pretty good despite unusually hot weather. An unusual spring continues!

More Kentucky Lake Fishing Reports

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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!