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 04/05/2012

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Ky Dam - 355.75    Surface Temperature - 72

Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 356.00  Surface Temperature - 72
Both lakes are about two feet over winter pool and on a slow rise toward summer pool.  In accordance with the TVA River Operating Schedule, both lakes should reach summer pool by the last week of this month barring any unforeseen influx of water.  

Kentucky Dam has been generating an average of about 28,000 cfs around the clock over the past few days and the present three day forecast is calling for this to continue.  Lake Barkley Dam has been generating an average of 8300 cfs over the past few days.  
We have had a week of some beautiful summer like weather with temperatures into the high 80's and even low 90's some days.  Of course these unseasonably high temperatures caused the water temperatures to jump also.  Water temperatures are now 5 degrees higher than last week and still about 3 weeks ahead of schedule for this time of year. 

We had a cold front move through the lakes area last night and with it came much cooler temperatures.  The forecast for tomorrow is a high of 67 with a low of 42 in the morning with northeast winds.  Saturday is looking good with a high of 74 and low of 55 and light wind from the southeast.  Sunday's high is forecasted at 73 with a low of 44 and a return to northerly winds.  

Lower daytime highs in the low to mid 60's is forecasted for next week with low's in the low to mid 40's.  So as you can see we will be going from abnormally high temperatures we had over the past week to a little lower than normal temperatures next week.  
The Largemouth fishing has been good all week until the cold front moved through and the bite slowed some today, but that has to be expected with any spring cold front.  There have been a myriad of patterns producing Largemouth this week as this crazy weather we have had this spring has some bass spawning,  some on late prespawn, some on early prespawn and some on post spawn.  

I have had reports of folks catching Largemouth on early prespawn and post spawn ledges, prespawn banks and points and on the shallow flats in coves and backs of the creeks and bays.  Our most productive patterns this week was taking late prespawn Largemouth on the lead in channel banks just off the flats where the bass normally would be spawning if the water was higher.  There a good numbers of Largemouth on these banks and many of the fish are now spawning on those banks.  Another good pattern this week was fishing staging and post spawn ledges in the front halves of the creeks and bays.

(Note:  staging and prespawn ledges are one and the same).  

These ledges are producing numbers of both post spawn fish and late arriving prespawn fish that are still staging to move to the shallows.  It is interesting to note that the very largest percentage of the Largemouth we took this week still show no signs of fanning nests so there are still plenty of Largemouth yet to spawn.  We did note that we had a more and more fish picking up our baits and moving them off their nests on the lead in banks as the week progressed with the full moon approaching which by the way will be tomorrow.  

The current weather forecast should stabilize the water temperatures this next week and we may even see a slight drop in the temperatures with lower day and night temperatures.
Crappie anglers were reporting good catches this week with the Black Crappie mostly on post spawn now and the White Crappie were spawning this week.  I had reports of spawning Crappie being taken around brush piles and wood cover in 4-6 ft of water and also on adjacent banks early and late in the day.  

I also talked to a number of folks including some panfish guides that were reporting the Bluegill and Red Ears were staging up around gravel bars and gravel flats and some nice catches were being taken.  Catfish anglers are reporting that the Channel Catfish are getting more active on shallow rocky banks on the main lake and in the creeks and bays as they are now getting into their prespawn feeding.  
Largemouth Bass:  Largemouth are being taken on a myriad of patterns.  Largemouth are being taken on ledges in the front halves of the creeks and bays on deep diving crankbaits, Carolina rigged lizards and creature baits and jigs.  Largemouth are being taken on lead in banks and secondary points in the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on medium running crankbaits, Texas rigged lizards and creature baits, tube jigs, shaky heads and jigs. Some Largemouth are also being taken on shallow flats in coves and the backs of the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on topwater lures, spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits and whacky rigged worms.  
Smallmouth Bass:  Smallmouth Bass are being taken on gravel banks in the creeks and bays as well as on the main lake.  These fish are mostly post spawn now and are being taken on jigs, tube jigs and shaky heads.  We have taken a number of bucks this week and had a few reports of single large female post spawned fish.  
Productive lures reported this week are:  Lucky Craft deep diving crankbaits in peacock, Strike King Series 6 and series 4 crankbaits in chartreuse sexy shad, Bandit crankbaits in rootbeer/chartreuse, Bag 5 custom painted crankbaits in crawfish, Slong's spinnerbaits in blue glimmer and chartreuse/white, Charmer lizards and timber pups in green pumpkin and watermelon/red, Zoom lizards in watermelon seed and junebug, Charmer tubes in green pumpkin, Charmer shaky head worms in green pumpkin and watermelon purple as well as Zoom finesse worms in green pumpkin blue on D&L and Slong's shaky head jigs, Zoom finesse worms on whacky rigs in green pumpkin and watermelon/purple, D&L jigs in "oops" pattern and Last Cast hairy bug jigs in green pumpkin with Net Baits Kick N B Jr trailers in green pumpkin.  
Crappie are being taken in 4-6 ft of water around brush piles by casting curly tail jigs as well as by fishing curly tail jigs and minnows under bobbers.  Some Crappie are also being taken on banks in similar depths by casting curly tail jigs and road runner type lures early and late in the day.  Some Crappie are also still being taken over brush piles in 8-12 ft of water about midway back in the creeks and bays by vertical fishing with curly tail jigs and minnows.
Bluegill and Redears:  Bluegills are being taken on gravel banks and flats in 3-5 ft of water especially near wood cover by fishing with worms under bobbers and by dragging worms on split shot rigs.  Redears are being taken on gravel bars in 5-6 ft of water by dragging worms on split shot rigs across the bottom.  There were a number of reports of good catches this week.  
Catfish:  Channel Catfish are being taken near rocky main lake flats and on shallow and mid range rocky banks in the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on night crawlers fished on bottom and under bobbers.  

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.

Lunch Time!
Photo by Melodie Cunningham

Splash! This bald eagle is diving for a tasty fish. Bald eagles use their exceptional eye sight to spot their prey up to a mile away!