Cooler Days Aid Anglers
Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 08/02/2018
Kentucky Lake’s fishing scene received a reprieve this week from the hot and humid conditions that have lingered for weeks. It’s ironic that a few cooler days with lower humidity arrived at the end of July and early August. No one is complaining about the unusual cooler weather as anglers deserved a break. Back in June the lion’s share of the month was hot and humid. July was about the same. Responding to the cooler conditions have been surface temperatures. Temps dropped this week down to the 83 degree range for a few days. Readings had been staying in the upper 80’s so that’s another break for fishermen. Water color remains clear and lake levels continue a path toward winter pool on TVA’s curve for annual drawdown. Things are about normal for this time of year. Lake levels are projected to be in the 357.5 this weekend in the Kentucky Dam sector while upstream around New Johnsonville the elevation will be slightly lower at 357.4. As always the projections depend on rainfall throughout the valley. With the exception of bass anglers not a lot of boats have been on the lake lately. That will change thanks to the cool snap but prior to midweek conditions most anglers had been hitting the lake in the early morning hours and pitching in the towel before midday. A host of young bass anglers have been testing the water this week in the B.A.S.S. High School National Championship out of Paris Landing State Park. The event has a big draw and the youngsters have been zooming about the lake as though it was a spring outing. Kentucky Lake can be intimidating to even veteran anglers. The summer months sometimes add another hurdle to the bass puzzle too! Most of the better stringers of bass continue to come from main lake ledges where boaters are targeting submerged humps, ledges and the edge of the main river channel itself. With lower lake levels now in progress shoreline habitat has diminished and the shallow bite has declined. A few fish have lingered around boat docks and piers where some cover and shade has appealed, especially if baitfish are present. A few scattered mayfly hatches have occurred and attracted some bass to shallow, steep banks at times but hatches have been inconsistent. Several bass were hanging around midrange depths of 10 to 14 feet where submerged crappie beds were providing attractive structure. Brushpiles and stakebeds always seem to hold bass even during the peak of hot summer months. A slow current has been present at times and when it’s there those deeper drop-offs seem to produce some finicky bass that move up to feed once shad schools are roaming and feeding on plankton. Still popular on the menu of anglers have been jig and split-tail trailers, big Texas rigged worms in the green pumpkin pepper or cotton candy color ranges, big deep diving crankbaits and even some giant spoons. Crappie anglers have endured pretty tough times overall. A few boats have been seen trolling crankbaits at times while others were vertical fishing live minnows and some jigs over midrange stakebeds and brushpiles. Several small fish are still the norm. Depths of 11 to 13 feet were holding some fish in the manmade structure. Deeper drop-offs with structure in the 18 to 25 feet haven’t produced very well. Seems a lot of the normal summer holes have not held fish as of late. Catfishermen are playing the current and finding a few fish around the Paris Landing Ned McWherter Bridge piers lately. Depths of 35 to 40 feet were holding fish pretty good and anglers were using nightcrawlers and chicken livers to score best. A few scattered boats were drifting along the main channel banks and utilizing bottom bumping rigs too. When current is present the bite has been decent. Without the current the fish are somewhat lethargic.
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