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Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 07/20/2018

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Kentucky Dam - 358.74  Surface Temperature - 90
Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 358.65  Surface Temperature - 90

Both lakes are about one half foot below summer pool and on a slow draw down.  Kentucky Dam was generating at an average rate of 35,000 cfs this afternoon.  Barkley Dam was generating at an average rate of 17,400 cfs this afternoon. In accordance with the TVA River Operating System Schedule, the TVA has started the slow draw down of the lakes to winter pool levels.  Barring any unforeseen influx of water, you can expect the lakes to be drawn down about one foot per month now until we reach winter pool levels. 

Current Conditions:  The heat wave we have been having over the past few weeks continued into this week with daily heat indexes exceeding 100 degrees.  We did get a reprieve from the humidity yesterday and today but the heat will return tomorrow as a front approaches the lakes area.  We have been doing half day trips during the early morning hours to avoid the heat of the day.  The ledge bite continues to be slow and scattered.  The better bite has been early in the morning in the creeks and bays where bass are feeding on schools of fry.  We are having better success by going extremely shallow in the backs of the creeks and bays before the sun is up with top water lures and then backing out to fish channel banks and secondary points with wood cover after the early morning top water bite is over.  

Although the bite is over all slow for keeper sized and better fish, we are managing to catch a number of short fish with an occasional nice fish mixed in.  Our best fish this past week was a nice 6 lb Largemouth on top water early in the morning.  

LARGEMOUTH BASS: Largemouth are being taken on the ledges on the main lakes and around the mouths of the deeper creeks and bays.  The ledge bite is slow. These fish are being taken with  Carolina rigged creature baits, Texas rigged large worms, jigs, drop shots, shaky heads and swim baits.  Largemouth are also being taken early and late in the day in the backs of the creeks and bays on top water lures where they are feeding on schools of fry. Largemouth are also being taken in the creeks and bays on channel banks and secondary points, especially those with wood cover.  These fish are being taken on spinner baits, shaky heads, Texas rigged creature baits and finesse jigs.  

SMALLMOUTH BASS:  Smallmouth are being taken on main lake points and on the ledges.  These fish are being taken on Carolina rigged creature baits, jigs and swim baits.  This bite is slow also.

White Bass:  White Bass are being taken by vertically fishing with blade baits and inline spinners along the river channel ledges.  White Bass are also being taken around Mayfly hatches early in the morning in the creeks and bays on inline spinners.  We have been catching some White Bass also while bass fishing during the early morning hours on top water baits in the shallows in the backs of the creeks and bays before the sun gets up on the water.  

PRODUCTIVE LURES:  D&L jigs in Cumberland craw and oops patterns, Slong's jigs in mustang, Charmer timber pups on Carolina rigs and Texas rigs in green pumpkin, green pumpkin/blue and watermelon/purple, Charmer 10.5" ribbon tail and paddle tail worms in plum and green pumpkin on Texas rigs, Big Hammer swim baits in bay smelt and Robo worms on drop shot in mean green. Yamamoto Senko in green pumpkin/black, green pumpkin magic and Charmer Slim Jim in blue craw on shaky heads. Strike King top water splash bait in white and whopper plopper top water in monkey's butt and Slong's spinner baits in blue glimmer. 

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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.


Shy Doe
Photo by J. Kent Harmon

The dense forests in Land Between The Lakes make the perfect hiding place for deer and other native species. You never know who might be peeking at you from the treeline.