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Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 03/28/2008

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Ky Dam - 363.15   Surface Temperature - 54

Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 363.35  Surface Temperature - 53
Both lakes are 4 feet over summer pool.  The lakes are projected to be on a slow draw down of about 6 inches over the next two days.  Anyone planning on fishing here in the near future needs to monitor the TVA website for any updates in lake levels.  

The reason the lakes are flooded above summer pool is that the Ohio River below the dams has been experiencing moderate to major flooding as has the Mississippi River.  Although we have not received much rain here in the lakes area the past few day, there has been some significant rain in southern Illinois and southern Indiana which has streams and rivers that flow into the Ohio.  

Also, another wet weather pattern is forecasted to come thru the area early this next week with 2 to 4 inches of rain in the forecast.  What this basically means is that we could see higher lake levels next week or we could see lower lake levels...it all depends on mother nature and how this recent rain and forecasted rain affects an already flooded Ohio River.  
Kentucky Lake is stained.  Lake Barkley is heavily stained in the river channel but I am finding the creeks and bays to be just stained.  I am taking bass on both lakes in good numbers on most days.  The forecast for the weekend is for cooler temperatures in the mid 50's for Saturday and Sunday with rain beginning on Sunday.  

We have had a lot of high winds this past week, some higher than forecasted.  Be especially observant of the latest wind forecasts and plan your trip according.  I highly recommend that anyone fishing these lakes carry a weather radio with them to monitor the latest forecasts and storm warnings.  This is the time of year that we tend to get a lot of spring Thunderstorms popping up on warmer days before a cold front and being caught out on the open water with high winds and lightning is definitely no fun.  

Our water temperatures are below normal for this time of March by about 4 or 5 degrees.  Hypothermia is a real possibility if you have an accident so be prepared with a change of clothes and survival kit in the event you get wet and get stranded out on the lakes.  We have already had at least one tragedy on Kentucky Lake this past weekend with an over loaded boat being swamped...please take care and make this recent tragedy the last one this year.  
Now for the fishing report.  With the lakes up and water temperatures slowly rising and the fact that we are not experiencing any hard Arctic cold fronts, a lot of shad have moved shallow into and around the flooded brush.  

A lot of Largemouth have followed these shad in and a very good shallow water bite has been developing since the rise in the lake levels.  This pattern seems to be getting better and should last until the lakes are either drawn down or we get an Arctic blast lowering water temperatures significantly.  On the other hand, the rise in lake levels has really scattered the Crappie and all the reports I am getting on the Crappie are that some fish are being taken but not in numbers one normally expects this time of year.  

The good news about the Crappie is that our water temperatures are below normal so the spawn is probably going to be a little later this year.  How much later will depend on water temperatures and lake level fluctuations but if the water temperatures continue to rise slow like they have been it appears that mid April or later may be the time to be Crappie fishing this spring.  
Largemouth Bass:  Largemouth Bass are being taken on a number of patterns.  Largemouth are being taken on the flats and around the flooded button brush and timber in the backs of the creeks and bays on both lakes.  These fish are being taken on jigs, Texas rigged creature baits, spinnerbaits, and lipless crankbaits.  Some reports of schooling fish on the flats just outside the flooded brush have been received and I have experienced the same in my boat.  Largemouth are also being taken on the secondary points and creek channel lead in banks in the creeks and bays on crankbaits, spinnerbaits, Carolina rigged creature baits, jigs and shaky head worms.  The Largemouth Bass bite has been very good overall.
Smallmouth Bass:  Smallmouth are being taken on the main lake points and first secondary points in the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on crankbaits, Carolina rigged creature baits, tube jigs and jigs.  Overall the Smallmouth bite has been reported as slow.  Hopefully we will see the Smallmouth get more active when the lakes are drawn down and we get more current generated.
Some to the productive lures reported this week are:  Rapala shadraps in crawdad, Bandit crankbaits in crayfish patterns and rootbeer/chartreuse, Hook Some Bass spinnerbaits in blue glimmer, white and white/chartreuse, Strike King spinnerbaits in firetiger and white,  Lewis rattletraps in black/red, blue chrome and firetiger, Strike King red eye shad in black/red and sexy shad, Zoom brush hogs in green pumpkin and green pumpkin/red, Last Cast jigs in green pumpkin and black/blue, Jewel jigs in gourd green, P.J. jigs in black/blue, Zoom trick worms in green pumpkin and River Bottom finesse worms in green pumpkin fished on shaky heads and Hook Some Bass tubes in green pumpkin and road kill cammo.  
Crappie:  The Crappie bite is reported to be scattered.  The better reports indicate Crappie being taken in 12-20 ft of water over brush piles fished vertically with small jigs and minnows.  A few reports of Crappie being taken in shallow water (4-8ft) on minnows and jigs fished under bobbers around wood cover.  Most reports indicate that very few limits are being taken.

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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.

Good Times
Photo by Angela Smith

Being on Kentucky Lake is always a treasure. You hear it, feel it, see it, and sometimes smell it. It's always a good time at Kentucky Lake.