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Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 05/26/2011

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Ky Dam - 359.24   Surface Temperature - 71

Lake Barkley:   Water Level at Barkley Dam - 359.55  Surface Temperature - 71
Both lakes are a just slightly over summer pool with only a little fluctuation each day.  The lakes have pretty much returned to normal now after the drawdown from the record flood.  Water clarities are normal again with only a few exceptions such as a little more stain than normal in the river channel on Lake Barkley.

Although we do not have the strong current on the lakes now as we had during the flood and ensuing drawdown, we do have sufficient current on both lakes to enhance the fishing.  The weather forecast for the holiday weekend is very good with highs over the weekend in the upper 80's to near 90 and a southerly flow of wind.  It should be a beautiful weekend to kick off the summer season.  

There will be a lot of boat traffic on the lakes this weekend so everyone please be careful, courteous and practice defensive driving while on the water.  Although not a lot of debris is still floating on the lakes, there is still some, especially on Lake Barkley.  Also boaters should be aware of obstructions such as logs which have gotten hung up on the flats during the recent floods.  I have noticed quite a few of these obstructions showing up on Lake Barkley as the water levels dropped.  
Our water temperatures are still lower than normal for this time of year by about 5 or 6 degrees, but this is not a bad thing.  These lower water temperatures have extended the spawn of many fish such as the Largemouth Bass, Bluegill and Red Ears.  There are still some Red Ears and Bluegill spawning although the major spawning period for these fish have come and gone.  

Many of the Largemouth have spawned and are now on post spawn banks and points with some of them having moved to the ledges around the mouths of the creeks and bays.  I have seen quite a few shad spawning this week on the rocky banks with Largemouth feeding on them.  One thing that is very unusual we have noticed and also I have received numerous reports from a lot of my information sources is that a good number of the larger female Largemouth we are taking on the post spawn banks and points are still full of eggs. 

This obviously has to do with the fact that the lakes were drawn down rather quickly after the flood and these fish moved out to deeper water.  I have noticed this before after major floods during the Largemouth spawn but the numbers this time seem quite a bit higher.  I am not sure if these bass will return to the spawning areas or not.  

My gut feeling is that some will but most may absorb their eggs this year and will not spawn but do not be surprised if you see some bedding Largemouth in June or later this season.  I really am not too concerned that a number of these Largemouth will absorb their eggs  because we have had such good spawns over the past few years that I do not feel this will hurt the future Largemouth population much, if at all.  
Largemouth Bass:  Largemouth Bass are being taken on a myriad of patterns.  Largemouth are being taken on primary points, secondary points and creek channel banks in the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on deep and medium diving crankbaits, spinnerbaits, Carolina and Texas rigged creature baits and worms, jigs and shaky heads.  Largemouth are also being taken on ledges around the mouths of the creeks and bays.  

These fish are being taken on deep diving crankbaits, Carolina and Texas rigged worms and creature baits and jigs.  Some of these fish are schooling and the bite is fast and furious when you get into a school of newly arrived ledge fish.  Largemouth are also being taken on the shallow flats near the buck brush and willow trees.  

Most of these shallow fish are bucks guarding nests but don't be surprised by an occasional larger female still feeding on late prespawn or spawning patterns.  These shallow fish are being taken on spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits, chatterbaits, Texas rigged creature baits, jigs and shaky heads.  I have received a couple of reports of some topwater bite on these shallow fish but the reports are not indicating yet any large numbers on this fun pattern but I expect it will get better very soon.  The Largemouth Bass fishing is overall good.
Smallmouth Bass:  Smallmouth Bass are being taken on main lake points and the first secondary points in the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on crankbaits, Carolina rigged creature baits, tube jigs and jigs.  Some nice fish are being taken but not large numbers.
Some of the more productive lures reported this week are:  Strike King Series 6XD and series 3 crankbaits in Tennessee Shad and Sexy Shad, Rapala DT 16 and DT 10's in parrot, Bandit 300 series crankbaits in rootbeer/chartreuse and black/red, Slong's spinnerbaits and chatterbaits in blue glimmer and sexy shad, Zoom lizards in green pumpkin and watermelon/purple, Charmer timber pups in green pumpkin, green pumpkin/orange flake and watermelon/purple, Slongs football head jigs in phantom and Last Cast hairy bug jigs in green pumpkin (both with matching Net Baits trailers.  Charmer tubes in green pumpkin and road kill and Charmer shaky head worms in green pumpkin.  
Crappie:  Crappie fishing has improved with the lakes now having leveled off.  Some nice catches are being reported over brush piles in 10-17 ft of water in the creeks and bays as well as on the main lakes at the mouths of the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken by vertically fishing with small jigs and minnows as well as jig/minnow combinations.
White Bass:  One of the benefits of the current we have are that the White Bass catches are being reported a little earlier this season than normal.  These fish are schooling along the old creek and river channel ledges and are being taken with vertical presentation of inline spinners and small spoons as well as by trolling these lures behind deep diving crankbaits.  I have not received any reports of surface feeding fish.
Bluegill/Red Ears:  There are still some Bluegills on spawning areas in front of the buck brush on the flats in the creeks and bays.  These late spawners are being taken on crickets and worms fished under bobbers, especially near the brush and around willow trees.  There are still a number of Red Ears spawning and these fish are being taken on gravel bars in 3-5 ft of water by fishing with small creature jigs tipped with worms on split shot rigs being slow rolled over the nesting areas.  The fishing for these fish is reported as good.
Catfish:  We still have received a number of reports of Catfish being taken along shallow rocky bottom flats and near rocky banks as many of these fish are still spawning.  These fish are being taken on night crawlers and shrimp fished under bobbers and also on bottom rigs.  The fishing for these fish is reported as good.
This weekend is shaping up to be a great weekend to be on the water after all the floods and bad weather we have had this past couple of months.  The weather patterns and water conditions are such that there will be a lot of fish caught and a lot of enjoyment will be had just being outdoors in the great weather.  

Please have a great weekend and enjoy yourself but I would like to remind you to take a little time out to remember the reason we celebrate Memorial Day.  Please set aside some time this weekend to give thanks and remember those that gave their all so that we can continue to enjoy the freedoms and fruits of living in such a great country.  

As many of you know, I retired with 26 years military service.  These days it is the custom for folks that I meet to thank me for my service.  I do appreciate it when folks thank me for the sacrifices that I and my family endured by serving my country, but I would be happier if everyone just took a little of their time to pay homage to my brothers and sisters that gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we remain free....they are the real heroes and heroines that too often we forget.

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Photo by Ray Stainfield

No camping excursion is complete with a serenade from the resident bullfrog. There are a vast variety of amphibians to be found throughout the Land Between The Lakes Area.