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Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 07/07/2011

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Kentucky Dam - 359.00  Surface Temperature - 84

Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 358.95  Surface Temperature - 83
Both lakes are at summer pool and on a slow drawdown.  Barring any unforeseen influx of water from heavy rains, expect both lakes to be one foot below summer pool by the end of the month in accordance with the current TVA River Operating Guide.   Currently Lake Barkley has about 27,000 cfs current draw around the clock.  

We had a little over 50,000 cfs going around the clock earlier this week on Kentucky but the flow was cut down last night to around 13,000 cfs.  The flow was stepped back up around noon today and as I write this report it is now 35,000 cfs.  The forecast for the next 3 days is for an average daily outflow of 20,000 cfs, so unless this changes, I expect we will once again start seeing low current levels during the night and morning hours and then a step up during the afternoon hours which is what we normally now see this time of year.  

Of course this can change if a lot of rain hits us here or upriver.  The reason I mention this about the current flow, is that if we get into the normal afternoon draw patterns as I suspect we are going to start seeing, the better ledge bite will be just as they are stepping up the current in the early afternoon, which of course is the hottest time of the day and some bass anglers that only want to fish early or late in the day because of the heat can miss out on a good feeding period.  
We have been having hot days this week with heat indexes reaching near the triple digit mark in the afternoon.  The wind has been light or non existent many days this week until the heat and humidity spawns scattered thunderstorms and some locally high winds during the afternoon.  

We have had a stationary front to our south pumping hot humid air to our area all week.  A cool front is now dropping south and is due to pass through the lakes area late tonight or early tomorrow.  Some severe storms are forecasted tonight and early tomorrow.  The forecast for the weekend is for sunny and hot post frontal weather with heat indexes reaching the triple digit marks again by Sunday.  

At the current time, the storms we have been having are out of the forecast until early next week, but with hot and humid conditions this weekend, everyone needs to keep an eye on the sky just in case.  These afternoon storms can pop up quickly and move fast as a number of boaters found out this past Sunday afternoon.  We went from very little wind to over 40 mph wind in a few minutes last Sunday on N. Kentucky Lake and as a result some boats that were caught out on the lakes sustained damage before they could get to a safe port.  

I know I have cautioned this before, but if you see a storm building and moving your direction, get to a safe port immediately.  These storms can produce dangerous lighting and high winds very quickly.   Otherwise, make sure you have plenty of cold water or your favorite sports drink on hand and don't forget the sun block.  
The Largemouth Bass bite was fair to good earlier in the week but slowed some over the past couple of days.  The lakes being drawn down a foot and a half over the past week and then flat water and blue skies slowed the ledge bite.  We are catching fish but you need to be patient to get any numbers of keepers the past couple of days.  There are some small Largemouth mixing in with the White Bass along the ledges and chasing up shad to the surface.  

A lot of anglers are targeting these smaller fish on the tops of the ledges but the bigger fish are holding over deep on the ledges and the better fish are coming in 16-25 ft of water with slow moving techniques such as Texas rigs, Carolina rigs, jigs and shaky heads.  The early and late shallow water bite is still there, but as good as it was before the recent drawdown.  We are still catching Largemouth on the shallow flats near wood cover during the day also.  
Largemouth Bass:  Largemouth are being taken on the old river and creek channel ledges on the main lakes and around the mouths of the deeper creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on deep diving crankbaits, slow rolled ledge spinnerbaits, swim baits, Texas rigged large worms, Carolina rigged creature baits, jigs and shaky heads.  The slower moving techniques have been the best producers this week although we have taken some fish on the faster movers too.  

Largemouth are also being taken early and late in the day on shallow flats in the creeks and bays on topwater lures, chatterbaits and small spinnerbaits.  Largemouth are also being taken during the day on the flats near wood cover on Texas rigged worms and creature baits as well as shaky heads.
Smallmouth Bass:  Smallmouth are being taken on the old river channel ledges during the day on Carolina rigged creature baits and jigs.  I had some reports that the night fishing this week was sporadic on the Smallmouth with a couple of good nights and a couple of tough nights.  The night Smallmouth were being taken on Texas rigged creature baits, tube jigs and jigs.  
Some of the productive lures reported this week are:  Yozuri Pop n Splash in lemon ghost pattern, Rebel Pop R in white, Norman DD22 in Tropical Shad, Big Hammer swim bait in shad, Slong's spinnerbait and chatterbaits in blue glimmer,  Charmer 10.5" ribbon tail worm in plum, Charmer timber pup in green pumpkin and watermelon/purple, Zoom trick worm in green pumpkin on shaky head, Charmer shaky head worm in watermelon/purple, D&L football head jigs in Cumberland craw and Slong's football head jigs in phantom.  
White Bass:  White Bass are being taken along the old river and creek channel ledges on the main lake and around the mouths of the bays.  I have seen quite a few White Bass in the jumps this week but the jumps are short in duration.  Most of the fish are being taken by trolling inline spinners and small spoons behind deep diving crankbaits, but a lot of folks are keeping a rod ready with inline spinners and small crankbaits to toss into the surface feeders when the opportunity arises.
Bluegill:  We have had some more mayfly hatches this week and Bluegills are being taken around these hatches early and late in the day.  These folks are fishing around overhanging trees for the most part using crickets and worms under bobbers.
Catfish:  Catfish are being taken along the old river channel ledges by bottom bouncing rigs in 20-30 ft of water baited with shrimp and leech combinations.  Some Catfish are also being taken with bottom rigs baited with yellow tails.  

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Beaver Dam Outlook
Photo by Melodie Cunningham

The view from the top of this beaver dam shows a Kentucky Lake inlet in late spring. An inlet like this one is habitat to a variety of exciting wildlife and plants just waiting to be explored!