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Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 08/16/2018

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Kentucky Dam - 357.21  Surface Temperature - 85
Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 357.20  Surface Temperature - 85

Both lakes are 2 feet below summer pool and on a slow draw down.  Kentucky Dam was generating at an average rate of 33,000 cfs this morning.  Barkley Dam was generating at an average rate of 17,600 cfs this morning.  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. 

As the lake levels drop boaters should be cautious when navigating the lakes.  There are a number of areas where old foundations, stumps, humps and ridges are just waiting to ruin your trip and cause damage to you and your boat.  If you are not familiar with the lakes, follow the navigation buoys and be very careful when navigating outside the buoys.

Current Conditions:  There really has not been any real change in the fishing conditions here since my last report.  The early morning shallow water bite where some bass are feeding on schools of fry continues to be the most productive pattern for putting some keeper sized and larger bass in the boat.  The numbers have not been great but we have not had any mornings this week without a few keepers sized bass in the boat as well as some smaller fish.  

Some days are better than others of course.  We had one morning this week with a limit of bass anchored by a 7lb and a 5lb fish.  The next morning we only had 2 keepers with the largest at 3lbs and a few smaller fish.  We fished the ledges this week also but with the same results we have been having and that is a slow and scattered bite with only a few fish. 

We have been seeing a good number of schools of fry that have moved to deeper water over the past couple of weeks.  The numbers of shallow water fry are depleting in a number of the creeks and bays now as these fry are starting to mature and move deeper but one can still find some back shallow with a little searching.  Some of these schools can be found on channel points and banks with wood cover in the creeks and bays as they are migrating to deeper water.  The question is:  are these shad fry or Asian carp fry? 

Personally, I believe it is some of both.  We will know for sure when the fall transition begins.  If they are shad fry they will move back to the shallows during the early part of the transition in large numbers.  The fall transition typically begins when the morning water temperatures reach the mid 70's.  I have seen years when this happened the first week of September and some years not until early October.  Water temperatures key the seasonal migrations, not calendars.

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, 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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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.


Geese
Photo by Melodie Cunningham

These geese float gracefully on a warm autumn day. Honker Lake was actually named for the number of Giant and Interior Canadian geese it attracts.