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Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 07/14/2011

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Ky Dam - 358.72    Surface Temperature - 86

Lake Barkley: Water Level at Barkley Dam - 358.95    Surface Temperature - 85
Both lakes are just a few inches below summer pool and on a slow drawdown.  Expect both lakes to reach one foot below summer pool by the end of the month in accordance with the TVA River Operating Schedule barring any unforeseen large influxes of water.  Peak current flow this week on Kentucky Lake is in the mid 30,000 cfs range with the current being turned onto that level around 10:00 a.m. most mornings.  

Peak current flow on Lake Barkley is in the mid 20,000 cfs range with the current being stepped up to that level around noon each day.  As I mentioned last week, this means peak current flow is in the late morning and afternoon hours and as such one can expect the better ledge bite to be during those hours.  
Earlier this week (Monday and Tuesday) we had afternoon heat indexes in the 115 degree range.  The water temperatures rose rapidly with this last heat wave and light winds to their present levels.   A cool front passed through the area and the past couple of days we have had noticeably cooler weather with highs in the upper 80's to low 90's.  

Now these are more normal temperatures for this time of year and were certainly welcome after this last heat wave.  The forecast of the weekend is for highs in low 90's.  Heat indexes are once again being forecasted to rise late this weekend into next week, reaching near 100 degrees heat index by early next week.  

We have only a slight chance of thunderstorms this weekend and early next week, basically the typical late afternoon -  early evening scattered storms we expect this time of year with the higher temperatures and humidity. Like last week's report,  I once again caution boaters to keep and eye on the sky during these hours and go to safe port if you see an approaching storm.  These storms typically can produce high winds and dangerous lighting and normally are fast movers.  

Sadly, we had these type storms come through the area this past Tuesday and a person lost their life due to being in the water and having the high winds keep them from reaching safety.  A couple of houseboats were reported to be damaged also.  With higher heat indexes coming back to the area, make sure you have plenty of cold water or sports drinks in your boat as well as sun block.  
The Largemouth Bass bite has been spotty with some good days and some slower days this past week.  It seems most of the reports I have indicate that the bite is spotty with the best bite coming during the afternoon and early evening hours during periods of current draw.  

Some folks are reporting good bites with good numbers of smaller fish and some occasional few big fish.  Some folks are finding the bite to be tough on some days.  My take on this is that the fish are there on the ledges and holding deep most of the day.  Patience is the key to success and if you know the fish are there, you need to hang around and get your bites during the short feeding periods as well as settle for one fish now and then in between these periods.  Good numbers of smaller fish can be taken with some occasional large fish.  

White Bass reports indicate the better bite early in the morning and then again during the afternoon current draw periods.  We had some more mayfly hatches this week and Bluegill anglers are making the best of these fish as they are feeding heavily around the hatches.  The hatches are not real big yet but we should see more of these as the month progresses.
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 again this week. 

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. Some  Largemouth are also being taken during the day on the flats in the creeks and bays 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.  The night bite reports I received this week on the Smallmouth and Largemouth indicated a feast or famine bite....that is some nights very tough and others very good.  Jigs, tube jigs and shaky heads were reported as the best lures at night this past week.
Some of the more productive lures reported this week are:  Rebel Pop R in white, Norman DD22 in Tropical Shad, Big Hammer swim bait in bait fish pattern, 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 Missouri craw as well as 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.  Most of the fish are being taken by vertically fishing with inline spinners and small spoons as well as minnow rigs.  White Bass are also being taken by  trolling inline spinners and small spoons behind deep diving crankbaits. 
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.  

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.

Bald Eagle
Photo by Melodie Cunningham

This majestic bald eagle is keeping a close eye on his Kentucky Lake neighborhood. The months of January and February are the best times to catch a glimpse of bald eagles in Land Between The Lakes.