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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 02/07/2002

Kentucky Lake:  Headwater Elevation - 354.36  Surface Temperature - 49

Lake Barkley:  Headwater Elevation - 354.30  Surface Temperature - 51
 
Although the dams are still pulling water they have slowed the discharge rate considerably over the past few days.  The water on Lake Barkley is still muddy with little stained water.  The water on Kentucky Lake is stained for the most part with some muddy water areas.  

The weather we are having continues to be early March like in nature with temperatures in the 50's one day and snow flurries the next.  Since the water temperatures have not dropped drastically and are hovering around the 50 degree mark still, the Bass and Crappie are getting more active.  

Some good catches of Crappie are being reported in shallow water on warm sunny days.  These Crappie are being caught on shallow secondary points with wood cover on them by using minnows under bobbers and small jigs tipped with minnows under bobbers. These fish are being caught in depths of 3 to 8ft of water.  

This pattern is one that seems to take place about this time every year and although active fish are not easy to find shallow, when you find them they will be tightly schooled and large numbers can be caught.  

Good reports of Crappie being caught in deeper water on the main lake creek channels and in creek channels near the mouths of the bays.  These fish are being taken by spider rigging minnows and small tube jigs over brush and stumps in 15 to 25 ft of water.  Jigs being used are bright colored because of the stained water and some productive colors being reported are:  red/chartruese, red/orange, and pink.
    
The Smallmouth Bass are starting to bite a little better and hitting suspending jerk baits, small crankbaits, and tube jigs along pea gravel seondary and main lake points on the LBL side of Kentucky Lake.   Right now the bite there should be considered as slow to fair but this will change soon as these fish start feeding up before the spring spawn.  Unless the water temperatures drop again I expect these fish will turn on in the next week or two.  

Lures that are reported as productive are Clown colored Rapala Husky and Rogue Jerkbaits, Shadraps in Crawdad pattern, and Snoozers Road Kill Cammo tubes.  The Largemouth Bass are being caught on main lake secondary points and on the tops of the ledges in 5-10 ft of water on Carolina rigged tubes and small crankbaits.  These fish should be considered slow to fair.  Lures reported productive on these fish are Snoozer's Road Kill Cammo tubes and Bandit crankbaits in Rootbeer/chartruese pattern.  

Although I have yet to receive any reports of shallow Largemouth being caught in the bays I noticed that on sunny days some shad are getting active in shallow cuts in the bays and I would expect that there should be some bite there near these baitfish on a rattletrap or spinnerbait.  This is the time of the year that the big single females will sometimes prowl the flats on warm sunny days and these two baits can produce a good trophy sized fish.  I have not received any reports on any other species of fish and would consider them slow.  

More Kentucky Lake Fishing Reports

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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.


Paddleboarding
Photo by Cliff Grizzard

Karson takes advantage of the last few minutes of daylight by paddleboarding on Kentucky Lake.