Explore Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley Fishing
Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Contact Us About Us
Switch Mobile/Desktop

Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 10/20/2011

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Ky Dam - 355.00   Surface Temperature - 64

Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 355.00   Surface Temperature - 64
Both lakes are 4 feet below summer pool and stable as the TVA has the lakes back on schedule in accordance with the current River Operating System Schedule.  Barring any unforeseen influx of water, the lakes should remain stable over the next week or so.  

Kentucky Lake has been drawing water at an average rate of 14,000 cfs during the night and early morning hours and stepping that flow up to around 35,000 cfs during the late afternoon and early evening hours.  Lake Barkley has been drawing water at an average rate of 8500 cfs during the early morning and early evening hours with a peak flow of around 17,000 cfs during the late morning and early afternoon hours.  
We had a nasty cold front pass through the lakes area over the past couple of days and this frontal passage coupled with the frontal passage late last week has dropped the water temperatures considerably (-7 degrees) since my report last Thursday.  This drop in the water temperatures has moved more adult threadfin shad into the creeks and bays now as well as a few more Largemouth.  Although most folks avoided the lakes over the past few days with high winds, some wet weather and cold temperatures, those that did have reported a better bite.  

Of course approaching low pressure centers always provides for more feeding activity as a rule of thumb.  The forecast for tomorrow is for sunny post frontal skies and wind out of the WNW at 9 mph.   Highs for the weekend are forecasted to be in the upper 60's with low's in the low 40's.  A slight chance of a shower is in the forecast for Sunday.  A warming trend is in the forecast for early next week with high's in the 70's.  Another cold front is forecasted to come through the area sometime around mid week.   Of course weather forecasts and wind forecasts can change, so make sure you check the latest forecasts before venturing on the lakes.
As is normal with cold frontal passages every few days, some days are better fishing days than others and this has been the scenario over the past week.  We are taking Largemouth every day we are on the water,  but it can get a little tougher on those flat water, blue sky, post frontal days.  The fall patterns are developing nicely however and I expect the bite in the creeks and bays where we have been concentrating to only get better with more shad and more bass moving in to feed up for winter. 

Although a few folks are still fishing the ledges, most bass anglers are now concentrating their efforts in the creeks and bays or on flats with wood cover adjacent to deep water on the main lakes.  The early morning topwater bite is still a good pattern most days and I expect to see the topwater pattern get even better as more bass begin to school during the day.  Many bass anglers are fishing the primary points as well as secondary points and associated creek channel banks in the creeks and bays and reporting mixed success as these fish are moving with the schools of shad. 

As I mentioned last week, we are primarily going very shallow early now with topwaters most mornings and then backing out on the adjacent deeper flats and working the schools of shad through the day.  We are not having any days without limits of Largemouth if we are trying to just catch fish.  I have had a day or two where we did not get a  full limit of keepers but these were days I  was preparing clients for tournaments and we are traveling a lot and leaving feeding fish to find more areas where there are keepers.  

I feel more than confident that we could have limited or better if we had stayed put where we knew we had some numbers of keepers.  We are still not getting any numbers of big Largemouth (4lbs or better) but we are getting a few here and there.  
Largemouth Bass:   Largemouth Bass are being taken on primary points as well as secondary points and associated creek channel banks in the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on crankbaits, spinnerbaits, Carolina and Texas rigged creature baits, jigs and shaky heads.  Largemouth are also being taken on the flats in the back halves of the creeks and bays as well as on flats on the main lakes as they are feeding on schools of shad.  These fish are being taken on topwater lures early and then on spinnerbaits, lipless and shallow running crankbaits, swim baits, blade baits and spoons.  
Smallmouth Bass:  Smallmouth are being taken on main lake points and the first secondary points in the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on topwater lures early in the morning, crankbaits, jigs and spoons.  Although I did receive two reports of limits of keepers this week, most of the reports are saying one here and one there.   
Some of the more productive lures reported this week are:   Lucky Craft Gunfish and Lucky Craft Sammy in ghost pearl lemon,  Zara Spooks in white and blue/white, Rebel Pop R in black/chrome, Lucky Craft G-splash in ghost pearl lemon, Strike King series 3 crankbaits in sexy shad,  Strike King 1.5 series in green gizzard shad, Strike King Red Eye Shad in sexy shad and blue/chrome, Big Hammer swim baits in sexy smelt and threadfin shad,  Slong's spinnerbaits in blue glimmer,  Charmer Timber Pups in green pumpkin, Last Cast jigs in green pumpkin with matching Net Baits trailer, Charmer Shaky Head worms in bama bug and green pumpkin candy.
Crappie:  Crappie anglers are reporting that they are having some good success this past week in the same 10-15 ft depths reported last week while fishing over brush and deep stake beds.  These fish are being taken by vertically fishing with small jigs tipped with Crappie Nibbles and minnows.  
White Bass:  White Bass are being taken on the humps around the mouths of the creeks and bays by vertically fishing with inline spinners and small spoons.  Whites are also being taken on the flats in the back halves of the creeks and bays as they are feeding on schools of shad.  These schooling Whites are being taken on inline spinners, spoons and small crankbaits cast into and around the feeding fish.  
Bluegills:  Bluegills are being taken around brush piles and deep stake beds in 10-15 ft of water on small jigs tipped with worms worked near the bottom.  
Catfish:  I did not receive any reports on the Catfish this week, but we are still catching one or two nice Catfish every day while bass fishing on the flats in the backs of the creeks and bays.  

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.

Photo by Jill Asher

The Elk and Bison Prairie in Land Between The Lakes is one of the most popular attractions for visitors year-round.