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Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 12/09/2005

Kentucky Lake:  Water level at Ky Dam - 354.98  Surface Temperature - 46

Lake Barkley:  Water level at Barkley Dam - 354.60  Surface Temperature - 46
The water temperatures dropped like a rock over the past couple of weeks and we have been experiencing lots of cold weather and high winds.  There has been very little fishing activity on the lakes this week.  We had the first winter storm move through the lakes area yesterday with rain, sleet and light snow.  Since there has been a lack of reports I decided I would give some tips for winter fishing here on the lakes this week.  
Largemouth Bass:  The best time to fish for these fish is during a warm up period which we normally experience during January and sometimes in February.  On a warm sunny day try suspending jerkbaits,  slow rolling crankbaits and crawling jigs on riprap banks that are located on the north and northwest side.  These banks will get more sun and sometimes will be a degree or two warmer than the surrounding water and the baitfish move into this warmer water.  
Smallmouth Bass:  The Smallmouth Bass are usually more active than Largemouth in the winter time.  Try suspending jerkbaits, slow rolled crankbaits and jigs on rocky main lake points on the east side of Ky Lake.  A technique that does work here that many folks have not tried is the float n fly.  I have had good success with this technique in the winter time here on Ky Lake fishing it off bluffs and deep rocky points on the east side of Ky Lake.  If you have not tried this technique you can do a search on the internet with "float n fly" and get information about this technique.  I found my most productive color in the fly here to be blue/chartruese.
Crappie:  Some of the best Crappie fishing for big Crappie takes place here in the winter time.  The Crappie are normally taken along the old creek channel ledges on the main lakes by using spider rigging with small minnows and jigs.  Bottom bouncing rigs with small minnows and jigs work also.  The key here is to move slowly along a ledge with your baits at different depths until you locate a school of Crappie and can key in on the depth at which they are located.  
Catfish:  Some of the biggest blue catfish of the year are caught during the winter.  These are taken especially on lower Barkley by fishing the river channel with bottom rigs and cut baits.  
Sauger:  Sauger is a winter time favorite for many local anglers here on the big lakes.  Sauger can be located on the main lake near current breaks such as bridge riprap and pilings and are taken with curly tail jigs tipped with minnows and a stinger hook.  Sauger will gather up along the deep drop offs in the canal also this time of year and if you hit the right day you can catch a lot of good Sauger.  
Make sure when you venture on the lakes this time of year that you do the following:
1.  Let someone know where you are launching from, where you are planning to fish and your expected return time.  Ask them to check to make sure you made it back...this is not the time of the year to be stranded on the lake as there is very little traffic out there to lend you assistance.  

2.  Wear your pfd when fishing, especially if you are alone....if you fall overboard the cold water will sap your strength very quickly.  

3.  Take an extra set of dry clothing with you as well as items you might need if you get stranded....basically a survival kit in a waterproof bag (matches, fire starter, flashlight, food, etc.).
I will resume my weekly fishing reports early next March.  Until then I will be writing reports only when I receive good valid information on the fishing.  I will also be traveling again this winter to do seminars at a number of outdoor and boat shows around the country.  At this time my show schedule has not been firmed up.  I will make another report as soon as I have a firm schedule and post it here so that folks in those areas that are planning a trip to Ky/Barkley next year can drop by and chat with me about the lakes.  

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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.

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.