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Archived Fishing Report

Anglers Watching Lake Levels in Aftermath of Alberto

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 05/30/2018

Heavy rains this week in the aftermath of subtropical storm Alberto have Kentucky Lake anglers watching and wondering just how much change will take place in lake levels. No doubt the reservoir will rise in the days ahead as a lot of runoff has entered the TVA system.

Bass fishing on main lake ledges has produced some hefty stringers lately with most of the winners targeting the drop-offs. Anglers are tossing a variety of baits ranging from big deep diving crankbaits to swim baits and Texas rigged worms.

With the rising lake levels anglers can expect a few more fish to blitz toward shoreline buck bushes and willow trees. Visible structure along river islands will also appeal to anglers who prefer pitching and flipping techniques.

Not all the bass are deep as a few anglers are scoring decent stringers while tossing spinnerbaits and assorted topwater jerk baits around visible bushes where submerged grass is mixed in.

Bluegill were still hitting pretty good this week although they seemed to be scattered as to their bedding locations. Some decent ones have been taken around shallow buck bushes and weedbeds in 2 to 3 foot depths. Most anglers are using crickets but a few are trying redworms and wax worms in hopes of locating a few late spawning shellcracker.

Some of the deeper bedding areas that normally produce good numbers of males have been slow to pay dividends. Bedding areas out away from the shoreline have been unproductive in many areas. Anglers have searched deeper flats with side-scan sonar units but most of the better bedding bluegill have been taken relatively shallow.

In times past some hefty stringers have been taken by anglers backing off the banks and finding nice spawning beds in 6 to 8 feet or event deeper at times. That has not been the case this year.

Some nice male bluegill have been taken this week but overall numbers are down a bit compared to times past. Anglers have had to make a lot of stops and hit several different bedding areas before accumulating decent numbers.

Crappie usually begin to show more interest by late May and early June as they head toward midrange depths of 10 to 14 feet. However, most anglers are reporting the bite to be sluggish.

Not many decent stringers have been taken this week but most are hoping numbers improve in the days and weeks ahead. Boats trolling crankbaits or spider rig presentations were landing a few keepers while those vertical fishing stakebeds and brushpiles still struggled to accumulate decent numbers of keeper size fish.

Watch for the fish to take on a more structure oriented pattern as the month of June progresses.

Catfish have continued to bite well for boaters fishing rocky banks and bluffs. Working the back of pockets off the main lake areas has worked good too as the fish move up to feeder creeks where fresh water is coming in.

With rising lake levels and feeder creeks depositing a lot of water these last few days expect the catfish bite to improve. Rising lake levels usually stimulate the prowling behavior as the fish move up to roam new water.

Bluegill anglers targeting shallow bedding areas continue to tie into a lot of catfish daily. The catfish normally frequent the bluegill beds and seek out the newly hatched fry. It’s a nice surprise to tie into some hefty catfish on that light tackle too!

Those targeting catfish are using nightcrawlers as their top bait choice. 

With lake levels on the rise the whole fishing scene could change dramatically in the days ahead. Just how much change depends on how much lake levels jump above the normal summer pool elevation.

At midweek lake levels were just beginning to rise and were a few inches above the summer pool elevation of 359 at New Johnsonville and Kentucky Dam.

Anglers can expect a lot of current in the main channel area this weekend and throughout next week. Surface temperatures have been staying around the 79 to 81 degree range. Water color was beginning to show more stain in the main lake areas while some of the bays and pockets were seeing muddy to dingy water enter the picture due to all the runoff.

TVA will be adjusting their forecast twice daily as the whole valley absorbs the wrath of subtropical storm Alberto.

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Geese in Flight
Photo by Murray Blake

These Canadian geese are just beginning their yearly migration south to avoid the long, cold winter. They will return in spring to the welcoming waterways of the Kentucky Lakes Area.