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Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 10/13/2011

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Ky Dam - 355.25   Surface Temperature - 71

Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 355.17  Surface Temperature - 71
Both lakes are  almost 4 feet below summer pool.  Ky Lake has been releasing at an average rate of 33,000 cfs around the clock this past week but cut this rate down to 21,000 cfs  today as the lakes near the target level of 4 ft below summer pool by the end of this month in accordance with the TVA River Operating System Schedule.  Lake Barkley has been releasing an average rate of 17,000 cfs this past week but this was cut back to 12,000 cfs today.
We had a cold front transverse the lakes area today and windy conditions are forecast for tomorrow with 15-25 mph wind out of the WNW.   Highs in the 70's with low's in the 40's is in the forecast for Saturday.  A warming trend is in the forecast for Sunday thru Tuesday as southerly winds those days will precede the approach of a strong cold front which is currently forecasted to come through the area sometime on Tuesday.  

The long range forecast is showing a cooling period later next week behind this front with daytime highs in the 60's and night time low's in the 40's.    A few windy days are in the forecast over the next week, so everyone really needs to check the latest wind forecasts before venturing on the lakes.  This time of year, forecasts can change quite often and it is not unusual to have some very windy days so it pays to stay up to date with the latest forecasts.  
We are still experiencing the fall transition patterns here on the lakes with a number of patterns being worked by the bass anglers from the ledges to the backs of the creeks and bays.  As is normal during this period, one can experience some good days and some tough days.  

This is due to the fact that the bass are moving a lot this time of year as they follow the transitioning schools of baitfish.  While you can have a good day one day fishing a ledge or deeper points and banks, you can have a tough day the next day on these same areas because this fish have moved.  Some anglers lean toward moving a lot during this period to cover water to try and find some feeding fish on a ledge, point or bank.  

I call this type of pattern Powerballing myself because I liken it to playing the lottery.  Some folks will get lucky and hit a winning ticket (ledge, point or bank) doing this but most folks will draw a losing ticket and thus find themselves with a day where they may not get any fish.  I have had a lot of folks calling me this past week saying they only caught one or two bass or did not even get a bass in the boat running this type pattern.  

To each his own, but as I mentioned before, I prefer to go to the shallows this time of year once the first wave of shad have moved in to feed up for winter.  My reasoning on this is that the fish that have moved into the shallows are not going anywhere until the shad leave and that will not happen until winter weather patterns move the shad back to deeper water. I would rather fish where I know the fish are not leaving than try to run here and there chasing fish that are traveling.  The only thing that can happen to these areas where I am fishing is that as the transition progresses, more shad and more fish will be showing up. 

We are not having any "no fish" days in my boat and actually are getting our limit of keeper sized bass more days than not.  We are not getting any numbers of big fish in the 4 lbs plus range but we do manage a nice one now and then.  The numbers of the larger fish will increase as more of the larger shad move into the creeks and bays.  The early morning topwater bite back shallow has improved over the past week and we have had some nice keepers on this early pattern.  

It won't be long now that we will be able to throw topwater lures productively during the day on many days.  After the early morning topwater bite dies down, we are moving out onto the flats in 4-10 ft of water and working the schools of baitfish with spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits and swim baits.  We have on most days gotten into at least one school of feeding largemouth sometime during the day on this pattern.  

We are not moving a lot as is normal for the way I fish this pattern.  I have yet to understand why I would want to leave fish that I know are there to go and try to find fish that I have no idea if they are there or not since the deeper fish are moving around a lot during this time of year.  The fish will feed when they are ready to feed and if you are not there when that short feeding period happens, you will have a bad day.  
Largemouth Bass:  Largemouth are being taken on a myriad of patterns as we are in the fall transition.  Largemouth are being taken on the old river and creek channel ledges on the main lakes and around the mouths of the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on deep diving crankbaits, swim baits, Carolina rigged creature baits, shaky heads and jigs. Although there are still fish being taken on ledges, this pattern is spotty as the shad are moving a lot right now and the bass are following them. A ledge may produce on day and not the next as the shad and bass have moved.  

Largemouth are also being taken on flats near the ledges on the main lake as schools of bass are chasing schools of baitfish.  These fish are being taken on crankbaits (both lipped and lipless), spinnerbaits and swim baits.  Largemouth are also being taken on primary points as well as secondary points and creek channel banks in the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on crankbaits (both medium running and lipless), swim baits, spinnerbaits, Texas rigged creature baits, shaky heads and finesse jigs. 

This pattern is also spotty as the fish are moving with the schools of migrating shad. Largemouth are also being taken on the flats creeks and bays on early morning topwater lures, spinnerbaits, swim baits and lipless crankbaits.  This is the primary pattern I am fishing and has been consistent.  
Smallmouth Bass:  Smallmouth are being taken on main lake points and on secondary points in creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on crankbaits, spinnerbaits, swim baits, jigs and shaky heads.  A few nice fish have been reported but no one has reported that they are taking these fish in any numbers.  I have had a couple of reports of a nice Smallmouth or two being taken early on topwater walking baits off main lake pea gravel points.  
Some of the productive lures reported this week are:  Lucky Craft Sammy in chartreuse shad and ghost pearl lemon,  Lucky Craft Gun Fish in ghost pearl lemon,  Slong's spinnerbaits in blue glimmer, Strike King 6XD and 3XD series crankbaits in sexy shad,  Bandit crankbaits in rootbeer, Big Hammer swim baits in sexy smelt and shad, Strike King Red Eye Shad in sexy shad,  chrome sexy shad and blue/chrome, Charmer Timber Pups in green pumpkin, Charmer Shaky Head worms in green pumpkin candy and Alabama bug, Zoom trick worms on shaky heads in green pumpkin and Last Cast Hairy Bug jigs in green pumpkin with matching Net Baits Kickin Chunk.  
Crappie:  Crappie are being taken over brush piles around the mouths of the creeks and bays in 10-15 ft of water by spider rigging with small minnows and jigs.  I have had two reports of Crappie being taken early and late in the day around docks with brush piles fishing minnows under bobbers.  
White Bass:  White Bass are being taken on the humps and ledges around the mouths of the creeks and bays by vertically fishing with inline spinners and small spoons.  Some White Bass are being taken in the backs of the creeks and bays on the flats by casting  inline spinners and spoons into schools of fish feeding on schools of small baitfish but these fish are running small.
Bluegill:  Anglers are reporting that they are catching some nice Bluegills while Crappie fishing the brush piles in 10-15 ft of water on small Crappie jigs.  Might be a good idea to try these depth brush piles with some small jigs tipped with a worm.  
Catfish:  Catfish are being taken in 20-30 ft of water on the old river channels with bottom rigs baited with yellow tails.  Note: I mentioned in the previous couple of reports,  we have been catching a number of good sized Channel Cats in the creeks and bays under the schools of small baitfish while fishing for bass with lures.  We caught a number of catfish again this week...might be a good idea to put some jugs out back there.

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Eagle's Nest
Photo by Melodie Cunningham

This bald eagle keeps an eye out for it's mate from their nest high in a tree top in Land Between the Lakes. The average eagle's nest is five feet wide!