Explore Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley Fishing
Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Contact Us About Us
Switch Mobile/Desktop

Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 04/29/2010

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Ky Dam - 360.14  Surface Temperature - 65

Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 360.10  Surface Temperature - 65
Both lakes are one foot over summer pool.  This week has been a mixed bag of weather phenomena.  Early in the week we had cool weather with some high north winds and cold rain showers.  The weather warmed back up by Wednesday and it was a beautiful day with light winds and warm temperatures.  The warming trend continued, but today we had high south quadrant winds with wind warnings issued for the lakes areas.  

A wind warning has been issued for tomorrow also with continuing high south winds.  The weekend outlook is not good with heavy rain and thunderstorms forecasted for the lakes area starting tomorrow (Friday) night and continuing through Saturday.  The present forecast is calling for 1 to 3 inches of rain with locally heavier amounts in western Kentucky having the possibility of 3-5 inches of rain.

Sunday the weather forecast is for continuing scattered thunderstorms.  Everyone should be aware of the high winds and possible severe weather continuing through the weekend and if you are planning on being on the water, you should heed these warnings and not venture very far from safe havens.  
The base water temperatures dropped 1-2 degrees this week with the cool weather and cold rains we had earlier this week.  The Largemouth Bass fishing has pretty much remained the same as last week.  We are catching Largemouth on the spawning flats around the buck brush  as well as on lead in channel banks and associated secondary points off the spawning flats.  

We are also catching some on the staging ledges in the creeks and bays.  Most of the bigger fish are still being taken on the lead in banks and points off the spawning flats with the shallow fish being more smaller fish.  I reported last week that on the southern area of Kentucky Lake we had taken a number of nice fish moving shallow where as on the north ends of the lakes we were doing better on larger fish on staging areas.  I have not been south on Kentucky Lake this week but did receive two reports of some nice fish being taken shallow down around the Paris area this week.  

On the north end of the lakes this week, we took a couple of Largemouth in the 8 lbs class and some 4-6 lbs fish, all on staging banks and secondary points.  It is very interesting that some of these big fish had already spawned, no doubt when the water levels were high earlier this month or they had spawned in deeper water than normal.  Some of the big fish we took this week on staging banks and points were full of eggs.  

I believe we are going to see an extended spawn this year, with some fish still spawning late and post spawn fish all the way out to the ledges this month.  One thing is for sure, if the fish that are ready to spawn now, do not move in with the full moon today, then those fish may spawn deep as I am almost positive some of the earlier spawners have done.  This spring has certainly been a challenge for the bass anglers with all the different conditions we have faced from late winter and colder water than normal earlier to record breaking heat waves and high water and we now face the possibility of even higher water if the big rains come in as forecasted.  

But, with all this said, we are catching bass, good numbers of fish and now more bigger fish.  One has to be versatile and read all the changes and be ready to adjust your patterns on any given day.
The panfish anglers are having a field day right now on big Bluegill and Red Ears.  These fish are moving up shallow onto the flats and big numbers of nice fish are being taken by panfish anglers.  

Some folks are still fishing for the Crappie and the bite has been scattered and although some fish are being taken, most of the panfish anglers are now focusing on the Bluegill and Red Ears.  Catfish anglers are getting ready for the Channel Catfish spawn which should be getting underway very soon.  Some Channel Catfish are already being taken on shallow rocky flats but most are still being taken by anglers by bottom fishing the old creek channels.  
Largemouth Bass:  Largemouth Bass are being taken on the spawning in the backs of the creeks and bays as well as in spawning coves.  These fish are being taken on spinnerbaits, Texas rigged lizards and creature baits, jigs and whacky rigged floating worms.  Good numbers of fish are being taken on this pattern but most fish are being reported as small buck bass with occasional keepers.  

Largemouth are being taken on creek channel banks and associated secondary points as well as staging ledges in the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on crankbaits, Texas and Carolina rigged lizards and creature baits, jigs and shaky heads.  Good numbers of fish are being taken on this pattern with more numbers of nice fish being taken.
Smallmouth Bass:  Smallmouth Bass are on post spawn patterns and are being taken on primary points and secondary points and gravel banks in the mouths of the bays.  These fish are being taken on crankbaits, jigs, shaky heads and tube jigs.  The reports indicate some nice fish being taken but not large numbers of them.  
Some of the productive lures reported this week are:  Strike King crankbaits in sexy shad, Bandit crankbaits in rootbeer/chartreuse and splatterback,  Rapala DT series crankbaits in bluegill and black/silver, Hook Some Bass spinnerbaits and Slong's spinnerbaits in blue glimmer, Zoom lizards in green pumpkin, watermelon/red and watermelon/purple, Zoom trick worms rigged whacky style in green pumpkin and watermelon/red, Charmer timber pups in green pumpkin, watermelon/red and watermelon/purple, Charmer shaky head worms in green pumpkin and watermelon/purple fished on D&L shaky head jigs and Last Cast hairy bug jigs in green pumpkin with matching Net Baits paca chunk.  Hint:  Dip the tails of your green baits with chartreuse dye.
Crappie:  Some Crappie are being taken by vertical fishing brush piles on the old creek channels with small jigs and minnow/jig combinations.  The bite is reportedly scattered.
Bluegill/Red Ears:  Good catches of both Bluegills and Red Ears are being reported on both lakes.  These fish are being taken on gravel bars near the spawning flats and on the spawning flats by fishing with crickets and worms under bobbers as well as fishing worms and small spider jigs on split shot rigs slow reeled on bottom.  I have seen some very large Red Ears taken this past week at the cleaning stations.
Catfish:  Some Channel Catfish are being taken on shallow rocky flats on the main lake and also in the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken by fishing with nightcrawlers both on bottom and under bobbers.  Most of the Channel Catfish are still being taken in the creek channels as they are preparing to move shallow.  These deeper fish are being taken on nightcrawlers and cut baits fished on bottom rigs.
Memorable Day:  Today, I had the pleasure of fishing with Tim Farmer, star of the Kentucky Afield Outdoor Show.  Tim and I have been trying to get together for  quite a while now to film a bass fishing show and we scheduled this date last fall.  

With his busy schedule and mine it has been tough to get together.  Even though we had wind warnings on the lakes today, and believe me, the wind was bad today on both lakes with gusts up to the 30-40 mph range, we decided to go ahead and try to get the show done even though we both knew we would be very limited on where we could fish and the wind was going to hinder our best fishing.  Although we did not manage to catch any really big fish, we did manage to boat some bass as we fought the wind.  This is the first time I have ever had the pleasure of meeting Tim and fishing with him, and I would really like to say that Tim is not only one of the nicest guys I have ever had the pleasure of sharing a boat with, but he is also a very good angler and a trooper to have put up with the wind and conditions we had today. 

The show will be aired in a couple of weeks, so watch your TV schedules for the show as we went over a number of tips about bass fishing today as we filmed.  I thoroughly enjoyed fishing with Tim today and we plan on doing another show sometime in the future together as soon as we can get our schedules to mesh. 

More Kentucky Lake Fishing Reports

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.

Remarkable Sunset
Photo by Jennifer Dunnaway

This is one of my favorite photographs of a Kentucky Lake sunset taken from the eastern shore of Kentucky Lake near Fenton.