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Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 05/12/2011

Kentucky Lake: Water Level at Ky Dam - 366.41  Surface Temperature - 71
Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 366.55  Surface Temperature - 71
Both lakes are a little over 7 feet above summer pool and on a drawdown from the recent floods.  The lakes are dropping about a rate of about one foot a day.  The TVA forecast indicates this drawdown rate may slow slightly to around 9 inches per day beginning this weekend but this can certainly change at any time.   

The water clarity on Lake Barkley is heavily stained in the river channel with creeks and bays ranging from heavily stained to stained.  Kentucky water clarity is stained in the river channel with creeks and bays ranging from stained to lightly stained and some are now clearing.  There is wood debris on both lakes but Barkley has more than Kentucky.  Boaters should remain wary of logs that have gotten hung up on the bottom in all areas, even the river channels.  

I have seen some big logs poking their heads above the water line as the lakes are falling, not as many on Kentucky, but there are some.  Boaters should also be aware that at the present levels there are still many objects such as stationary docks, rip rap jetty's etc still submerged around marinas and private lakeside lots.  Please use caution and be courteous by slowing to idle speed around areas like this where your wake could cause more damage to shoreline property.  
We have had some July type weather this past week with daytime highs reaching to near the 90 degree mark and lows in the 70's.  This is some crazy weather we have had so far this season.  It was only a week ago I was making my morning runs in gortex and gloves with morning temperatures in the 30's and now this week we are running in short sleeved shirts.  

But, just as we are getting used to the hot weather, here comes another change.  The forecast for tomorrow is for highs in the upper 70's with scattered thunderstorms as another cold front approaches the area.  Frontal passage is forecast for sometime during the day on Saturday with highs Saturday in the mid 60s and more scattered storms.  Sunday will be post frontal with north quadrant winds and highs around 60.  This slow moving cold front will keep highs in the lower to mid 60's and north quadrant winds through early next week.
Despite the floods and dropping water the Largemouth Bass fishing has remained good with a myriad of patterns to choose from.  Some folks are still flipping and pitching the trees and visible brush lines and are slowly backing out on this pattern as the lakes are falling.  

Some folks like me, have been concentrating more on the still submerged brush, especially around the mouths of the ditches and creeks where one would normally be fishing in a late prespawn and spawning pattern if the lakes were at normal pool.  As I mentioned last week, I learned a long time ago that the majority of the Largemouth during the late prespawn and spawning time will relate to the old shoreline and spawning areas in more numbers rather than go back shallow with flooding waters.  

We have has a great week on this pattern as more and more of the bass that did move shallow are now joining the fish that were still relating to these areas as the shad are moving in numbers back out to deeper water as the lakes are dropping.  We are catching both late prespawn and post spawn fish on this pattern as well as getting pickups from obviously spawning females on the nest.  

Some Largemouth are also being taken on primary points and secondary points in the front halves of the creeks and bays.  These are some of the big fish that always spawn early and although there are nearly as many numbers there on these spots, some nice big one and two fish bags are being taken.  To add to this bite, the Smallmouth are rested up from the spawn and are visiting these points also.  Some nice Smallmouth have been taken but it has been more of one fish here and one fish there, in otherwise not big numbers.   Bluegill and Red Ear anglers are reported some very good catches as the Bluegills moved to bedding areas this past week and some of the Red Ears did also.  

Catfish anglers are reporting good catches in the shallows, especially in rocky areas where the Channel Cats are starting to spawn.  Crappie anglers are reporting a slow bite as the Crappie are seemingly reluctant to bite with the falling water levels.
Largemouth Bass:  Largemouth are being taken on a myriad of patterns.  Largemouth are being taken around flooded brush near the mouths of the creek channels and ditches in the backs of the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken mainly on Carolina and Texas rigged lizards and creature baits, shaky head worms, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jigs.  Some early morning topwater is being reported but the topwater bite is scattered but should get better very soon.

Largemouth are also being taken by flipping and pitching creature baits, tubes and jigs around flooded trees and brush.  Largemouth are also being taken on primary points and the secondary points in the front halves of he creeks and bays.  These fish are taking deep diving crankbaits, Carolina rigged creature baits, Texas rigged large worms and shaky head worms.  
Smallmouth Bass:  Smallmouth are being taken on primary points and the first secondary points in the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on deep diving crankbaits, Carolina rigged creature baits, jigs and shaky heads.  Some nice fish are being taken but not large numbers.  
Some of the productive lures reported this week are:  Strike King series 6XD in Tennessee shad and chartreuse sexy shad,  Strike King series 3 in chartreuse sexy shad,  Bandit 300 series in red craw,  Rapala DT 10 in parrot, Slong's spinnerbaits in sexy shad and white/chartreuse, Zoom lizards in green pumpkin and watermelon/purple, Charmer timber pups and timber dogs in green pumpkin and green pumpkin with orange and purple flake, Charmer tubes in green pumpkin, Zoom trick worms in green pumpkin and green pumpkin/blue, Charmer shaky head worms in green pumpkin and Slong's flattop jigs in phantom and black/blue with matching Net Baits Baby Paca Craw trailers.  
Crappie:  Crappie are being reported as slow with the best catches coming from over brush piles in 15-20 ft of water in the creeks and bays by vertically fishing with small tubes and minnows.
Bluegill/Red Ear:  Some Bluegill and Redear are still being taken in flooded over grass and on gravel ramps but the better bite this week is being reported on gravel bars and gravel flats in 5-8 ft of water.  These fish are being taken on crickets and worms fished under slip bobbers and on split shot rigs slow rolled on the bottom with small spider jigs tipped with worms.  The bite is reported as good this week.
Catfish:  The Catfish bite is being reported as good with good catches coming on rocky shorelines and rocky flats with nightcrawlers fished under bobbers and on bottom rigs.

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Photo by Melodie Cunningham

This majestic elk eyes the camera cautiously. To see bulls with fully developed racks, visit the Elk and Bison Prairie in the fall!