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Archived Fishing Report

Cold Front Sidelines Late Fall Anglers

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 11/08/2018

The Kentucky Lake fishing scene has once again been tossed off course by inclimate weather. After heavy rains earlier this week, which preceded a cold front that’s now in progress, anglers have taken a back seat to falling temps and brisk northwest winds that put quite a chill in the air.

Lake levels are rising in the aftermath of drenching rains earlier in the week. Last week the reservoir was down below its normal winter pool elevation but things are changing daily as TVA reported a level of 356.1 at midweek. That’s up about two feet from last week at this time.

Water color has changed too. Dingy runoff has entered the upper Big Sandy and West Sandy area this week. The main Tennessee River channel now has some stain too as current is present. The Paris Landing sector is still in good shape but all bays in that sector have changed to a dingy to muddy color the last few days.

Surface temperatures were in the 59 to 61 degree range this week but watch for a significant drop as cold weather will dominate the weather picture this weekend and well into next week.

Anglers can expect some bone chilling north to northeast winds these next few days. That’s not exactly what late fall fishing is supposed to be all about.

Temps these next several days are forecast to be 10 to 14 degrees below normal. Cold nights are also expected to dip below the freezing mark. That will influence surface temps for sure.

Crappie anglers have continued to struggle in their attempts to establish consistent patterns. Finding decent numbers of keeper size crappie has not been easy.

A few catches have been recorded by anglers working the Tennessee River portion of the reservoir. That area has been more productive than the Big Sandy and West Sandy sectors this fall.

Boaters fishing the Big Sandy have just not found crappie cooperating in any particular depth range this fall. Several veteran crappie anglers feel the fish are just not there to catch.

When experienced crappie fishermen using several different techniques in different depth ranges all come up empty handed over and over it pretty much tells the story.

A few boats stalking the deep main lake ledges have fared better than those fishing midrange stakebeds and brushpiles, which are usually productive during the late fall phase. Depths of 8 to 12 feet should have been producing decent numbers but that has not been the case.

A few more fish have been taken by anglers targeting deep water in depths of 18 to 20 feet. Tightlining jigs and jigs tipped with minnows on the deep sides of drop-offs have produced a few fish at times.

When fishing the open water areas, however, anglers are vulnerable to windy days. That open water turns to whitecaps when high winds enter the picture and dictates where anglers can fish. Often times some good spots are simply taken out of the equation.

Bass fishing has been tough for most anglers but a few recent tournaments recorded some decent winning stringers that tipped the scales in excess of 20 pounds. However, on down in the field saw some pretty light stringers for most anglers entered into competition.

Tossing Rattle Traps and Red-Eye Shad style baits have been productive for anglers who located schools of shad on main lake flats and near the river channel.

Shad colored crankbaits are still productive when fished around gravel banks, roadbeds and rip-rap banks. Some boats were flipping a Texas rigged craw around boat docks at times while others were tossing spinnerbaits and shallow running crankbaits around docks, boathouses and exposed crappie beds.

With cooler surface temperatures about to enter the picture the topwater bite is likely to diminish.

A few smallmouth have been taken by anglers tossing grubs and suspending crankbaits while fishing long rock points and submerged humps on the east side of the reservoir.

It appears anglers may have to go into stand-by mode for a few days with the arrival of the cold front and forthcoming winds that are likely to be bone chilling! Hang in there; better days will return soon.

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Eagle Eye View
Photo by Ray Stainfield

This eagle has "puffed up" his feathers to appear more threatening. He hopes to intimidate a nearby enemy.