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Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 03/17/2011

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Ky Dam - 362.50  Surface Temperature - 52

Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 362.40  Surface Temperature - 52
 
Both lakes are 3.5 feet over summer pool and 8. 5 ft over winter pool which is where we are supposed to be at this time in March.  The lakes are still rising and are forecasted to be at the 363 level by midnight tonight.  The forecast for Friday and Saturday indicates some leveling off at around the 363 level but this of course could change.  The water color on both lakes varies. 
 
On Kentucky Lake the main lake color is slightly stained to stained.  Some of the creeks have heavily stained water in the back halves of the creeks with stained to slightly stained water in the front halves of the creeks.  The bays on the LBL side of Kentucky Lake range from stained to slightly stained from back to front respectively.  
 
On Lake Barkley the main lake color is stained to heavily stained.  Some of the Bays on the LBL side of Barkley are clearing with stained to slightly stained water and some are still heavily stained.  The creeks on the east side on Lake Barkley range with some muddy to heavily stained from back to front respectively and some heavily stained to stained from back to front respectively.  
 
Overall the bite on Largemouth Bass slowed last weekend and this slower bite continued through early this week as water temperatures dropped with the passage of two cold fronts and of course rising water.  The best days could be considered fair overall.  My phone has rung off the hook all week with bass anglers reporting a slower bite.
 
A prime example of this is the BASS Weekend Series this past Saturday had 59 boats which is a pro-am format.  28 of the 59 boaters weighed only one keeper or zero keepers in the tournament.  40 of the non-boaters out of 59 total weighed only one keeper or zero keepers in the tournament.  It only took 17lbs to win the tournament on the boater side and 5th place was 14lbs.  On the non-boater side, it only took 10 lbs to win and 7 lbs took 5th place.  These weights are very low for what we normally see this time of year. 
 
 I noticed that the bite started picking up some over the past couple of days with the water temperatures recovering, but the bite is still scattered and only fair overall.  The best bite that is being reported to me and has been likewise experienced in my boat this week is on slow rolled crankbaits and shaky heads on shallow banks and points on the main lake near channels and also in the creeks and bays on secondary points and channel banks especially in the middle parts to back of the bays.  Jerkbaits are producing on the main lake points also as are jigs.  

Some shallow water bite in the backs of the creeks and bays is being reported also on flats off the brush with lipless crankbaits as is some fish being taken out of the brush by flipping jigs and tube jigs.  As you can see the bite is scattered which is pretty normal when the water rises as fast and as much as it has in the past 10 days.  Most of the reports I have received over the past few days is indicating 3 or 4 keepers and between 10 and 20 fish being taken.  Some nice single big fish are being reported..not just numbers of them.  
 
If the lakes do level off in the next few days, we should start seeing a slow fall of these levels as soon as the Ohio and Mississippi River levels stabilize and begin to drop below flood stage.  As of right now the Ohio River downstream of the lakes is still rising and major flooding is occurring from  the mouth of the Ohio and downstream on the Mississippi but these pools are forecasted to start cresting this weekend.  

The Ohio River upstream from the lakes are beginning to crest and are forecasted to start falling in the next day or so.  If these forecasts do not change, we will probably see the lakes start dropping possibly next week as these rivers drop below flood stage.  Of course, all this is based on no more major rain events up river on the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers and also no major rain events on the Ohio tributaries up river from the lakes in the near future.     
 
The Crappie anglers have been reporting a slower and scattered bite over this past week also with the rapid rise in the water levels.  Most of the Crappie being taken this week have been reportedly taken in the creeks and bays over staging brush piles in 15-20 ft of water from the front of the creeks and bays to about halfway back by vertically fishing.  A few Crappie are being reported moving to flooded shoreline brush in the warm part of the day and these fish are being taken by casting curly tail jigs and slow reeling minnows and small jigs under bobbers.  
 
The weather forecast looks good though mid week with only a slight chance of rain on Saturday, with daytime highs ranging from the mid 60's on Saturday to low 70's through midweek.  Another cold front is forecasted to arrive around mid week with a chance of thunderstorms and then a drop back to more normal daytime highs in the upper 50's to low 60's.  Of course, this is March and as everyone knows, the forecast can change rapidly so make sure you check the latest wind and weather forecasts before venturing on the water.  
 
The good news here is that with the forecast, the water temperatures should only continue to rise which should serve to increase the bite, the bad news would be that when the lakes do start to fall, the fish will be moving again so anglers will still be seeing a scattered bite and will need to adjust their locations as the levels change.  
 
Largemouth Bass:  Largemouth Bass are being taken on a myriad of patterns.  Largemouth are being taken on main lake points and channel banks on suspending jerkbaits, slow rolled crankbaits, jigs and shaky heads.  Largemouth are also being taken on secondary points and associated creek channel banks in the creeks and bays on slow rolled crankbaits, shaky heads and jigs.  Some Largemouth are also being taken on lipless crankbaits on the flats in the backs of the creeks and bays as well as by flipping jigs and tube jigs in flooded over brush.  
 
Smallmouth Bass:  Smallmouth Bass are being taken on main lake channel banks and points on suspending jerkbaits, slow rolled crankbaits and jigs.  This bite has been reported as slow overall with few numbers although some nice single fish are being taken.
 
Some of the more productive lures reported this week are:  Lucky Craft Pointer in Table Rock Shad, Rapala Husky Jerk in clown, Smithwick Rattlin Rogue in hot rod and clown.  Spro Little John medium running crankbaits in spring craw, Rapala Shad Rap in crawdad, hot steel and fire tiger, Norman Little N in firetiger, Strike King Red Eye Shad in red craw and gold sexy shad, Charmer Shaky Head worms in green pumpkin and green pumpkin/blue on Slong's Shaky Head jigs and Slong's football head jigs in Bass Buster with green pumpkin and Alabama craw Net Baits trailers.  
 
Crappie:  Crappie are being taken over brush piles in 15-20 ft of water in the creeks and bays by vertically fishing  wish jigs and minnow/jig combinations.  Some Crappie are being taken during the warm part of the day from shoreline brush by casting curly tail jigs and by fishing small jigs and minnows under bobbers.
 

More Kentucky Lake Fishing Reports

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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.


Water Break
Photo by Melodie Cunningham

This young buck has taken a quick break for a drink. Deer are one of the more common types of wildlife that can be seen in this region.