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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 03/20/2002

All of the rain in the local area this week combined with the flood waters coming in from upriver has caused havoc with the lake conditions here, especially on Lake Barkley.  Both dams are spilling in an effort to keep the waters below summer pool or above and this is working so far.  

Lake Barkley is muddy and full of floating debris such as trees and basically anything else that will float.  Kentucky Lake has debris in it also but not near as bad as Lake Barkley.  Kentucky Lake is muddy in the river channel but the strong current is keeping the creeks only stained thus far and fishable.  

The TVA site shows that the water levels should drop over the next couple of days but the site also shows more water coming in over that period than is going out so I am not sure how that is going to work.  

Prior to the flooding the Largemouth Bass on Lake Barkley were in full prespawn feeding and fishing was excellent with good numbers of fish being caught.  Hopefully the present conditions of the water there will clear over the next week and the great bite there will return.  

Lake Barkley is muddy now and fishing conditions should be considered poor at best.  If you venture out on Lake Barkley, be very careful, the strong current and heavy debris is making for hazardous small craft navigation. 

Kentucky Lake is fishable but there is debris floating and strong current so caution should be used while navigating the lake.  The Smallmouth Bass started biting some on late Monday afternoon when the TVA started pulling water and creating the current we have needed for a good Smallmouth bite.  The Smallmouth were hitting on the pea gravel banks and points on the LBL side of the lake and although I have not received any reports over the last two days, they should still be active as long as the current is being generated.  

The Smallmouth that started biting on Monday afternoon were taking Rapala Husky Jerkbaits in clown pattern.  The Largemouth on Kentucky Lake have started prespawn feeding and can be caught on main lake and secondary points as well as on the flats near wood cover.  The Largemouth are taking suspending jerk baits in clown and natural shad colors, crankbaits in crawdad and natural shad colors and carolina rigged tubes and lizards on the points.  The Largemouth that have moved shallow are taking rattletraps in blue/chrome, shallow running crankbaits in natural shad colors, and Texas rigged tubes in Road Kill Cammo near wood cover.

The Crappie bite has been somewhat slow on both lakes even before the flooding began.  I talked to 3 crappie anglers at Kentucky Dam on Sunday and the most any of them had was 6.  Today I talked to 4 more anglers fishing the creek channels and only two boats had caught a Crappie.  I am of the opinion though that if you were to fish some shallow brush that you could do better right now.  

I would suggest fishing minnows and minnow/jig combinations under bobbers over brush piles on secondary points and also in cuts in the bays.  The water is fluctuating up and down right now so keeping an eye on the water levels and concentrating on these areas when the water is rising should produce some Crappie.  

The Bluegill are biting around docks with brush and on secondary points with brush using wax worms.  I have not received any reports for Catfish or other species during the past week.  

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In Flight
Photo by John Mitchell

Gliding gracefully over the water, this heron keeps a stealthy eye out for his next meal. Herons are one of the more common species of birds that can be seen at Kentucky Lake.