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Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley Fishing
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Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 07/21/2011

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Ky Dam -  358.40  Surface Temperature:  88

Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 358.50  Surface Temperature: 88
 
Both lakes are about one half foot below summer pool and on a slow drawdown.  Expect both lake to reach one foot below summer pool by the end of the month in accordance with the TVA River Operating System Schedule.  The current flow on Kentucky Lake was around 36,000 cfs around the clock for earlier in the week but has returned to a more seasonal schedule of stepping the current up in the late morning to around 36,000 cfs then lowering it during the evening hours.  The current flow on Barkley has been low until around noon each day with a step up to around 25,000 at that time through the early evening hours.
 
We are in the midst of another nasty heat wave this week with heat indexes reaching triple digits every afternoon and light winds.  This heat wave is forecasted to last until early next week when a cool front is forecasted to come through the area cooling it all the way down to the lower 90's.  

There is a chance for afternoon and early evening scattered and isolated thunderstorms every day right now with the chances increasing though the weekend.  Folks, you need to keep an eye on the sky in the afternoons and evenings for these storms.  If you see one approaching, please get to safe port.  Make sure you have plenty of cold water and sunblock in the boat right now, you certainly need it.  
 
The ledge fishing for bass has been overall good since late last week with the exception of a somewhat slower bite today.  We had more feeding periods, although short in duration than I have seen in a while earlier this week.  We have also boated more bigger fish this week, especially Largemouth with an occasional nice Smallmouth in the 4lbs plus range.  

Slower moving techniques such as Carolina rigs, Texas rigs, jigs and slow rolled swim baits have been the best takers.  I have seen more jumps of White Bass this past week than I have in a long time.  I observed one big White Bass jump at the mouth of a bay on Kentucky Lake this week that lasted almost 20 minutes. Most of the jumps I have seen though are much shorter in duration but frequent.  Today there was little surface activity observed which coincides with the slower Largemouth bite today.    
 
Largemouth Bass:  Largemouth are being taken on the old river and creek channel ledges on the main lakes and on the old creek channel ledges around the mouths of the deeper creeks and bays.  These fish are primarily being taken on Carolina rigged creature baits, Texas rigged large worms, jig and worm, dragging football head jigs, shaky heads and slow rolling swim baits.  

I have received reports of some fish on slow rolled ledge spinnerbaits and deep diving crankbaits but the majority of the reports are indicating the former mentioned patterns.  We are taking a number of the bass from below surface feeding White Bass working along the ledges.  Largemouth are also being taken early in the morning and late in the evening on secondary points as well as the flats in the backs of the creeks and bays on topwater lures, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and lipless crankbaits.  Some Largemouth are also being taken during the day in shallow water near wood cover as they are feeding on schools of fry.  These fish are taking spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits and Texas rigged creature baits.
 
Smallmouth Bass:  Smallmouth Bass are being taken on the old river and creek channel ledges on the main lakes.  These fish are being taken on Texas rigged large worms, jigs and slow rolled swim baits.  I have not had any reports on the night fishing for Smallmouth this week but I suspect the bite is there on rocky main lake points and first secondary points in the deeper bays.  Dark colored spinnerbaits, jigs and tube jigs would be my choice of lures if I were night fishing this time of year.
 
Some of the productive lures reported this week are:  Charmer 10.5" ribbon tail worms in plum, Berkley 12" worms in plum and red shad, Charmer timber pups in green pumpkin, watermelon/purple and purple grass, Slong's football head jigs in phantom and bass buster, Slong's spinnerbaits and chatterbaits in blue glimmer, Strike King red eye shad in sexy shad and chrome sexy shad, Big Hammer swim baits in shad, pepper trout and threadfin shad, Lucky Craft Sammy in ghost pearl lemon and Rebel Pop - R in white and black/silver.  
 
White Bass:  The White Bass fishing is being reported as good.  Whites are being taken by vertically fishing with inline spinners, small spoons and minnow rigs along the old river and creek channel ledges on the main lakes and around the creek channel ledges in the mouths of the creeks and bays.  White Bass are also being taken in the jumps as they are pushing schools of baitfish to the surface along the ledges and on the main lake flats.  These fish are being taken on inline spinners, slow retrieved small curly tail jigs and small crankbaits.  
 
Bluegill:  Bluegills are being taken early and late in the day around emerging Mayfly hatches near overhanging trees in the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on worms and crickets under bobbers and slow retrieved small curly tail jigs.  
 
Catfish:  Catfish are being taken along the old river channel ledges during current draw periods on bottom rigs baited with yellow tails and on bottom bouncing rigs baited with shrimp/leeches.  From the reports I am receiving, most of the these fish are being taken in the 20-30 ft depth range.

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.


In Flight
Photo by John Mitchell

Gliding gracefully over the water, this heron keeps a stealthy eye out for his next meal. Herons are one of the more common species of birds that can be seen at Kentucky Lake.