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Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 04/26/2012

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Kentucky Dam - 356.48   Surface Temperature - 65

Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 356.65  Surface Temperature - 66
Both lakes are two and one half feet below summer pool.  The lake levels are basically the same as they were last week and the future forecast over the next 3 days shows little change.  As I mentioned in last week's report, the lack of rain has kept our lakes below normal levels for this time in April and the lack of rain continues so do not expect the any significant rise in the lake levels until we get some appreciable rain.  

The weather forecast for next week is showing a slight chance for isolated and/or thunderstorms each day but no where in that forecast is there in any indication of a sustained soaking type rain that we need to bring up the lake levels with runoff.  The type of rains we have received for the past number of weeks (what little there has been of it) is associated with isolated and scattered thunderstorms and showers with fast moving fronts.  These small periods of rain have been very spotty and very brief.  

This is the same type pattern that I see in the forecast for next week.  I read an article in which a TVA official stated today that bringing our lakes up to summer pool is totally dependent on local rains and not water coming in from the up river reservoirs, so if this is the case it looks like it will be a while before we see summer pool.  Of course, I also was taught back in grammar school that water runs down hill and if the areas up river from us got a lot of rain, it is going to go somewhere sooner or later, and we just happen to be downstream unless the river flows have changed directions. 

The problem there is that the areas up stream from us are not getting any of the large amounts of rain either that would cause a significant increase in the amount of flow into our lakes.   So the bottom line here is, we are not at summer pool yet, won't be at summer pool on schedule so we fish the conditions handed to us by mother nature.  

Kentucky Dam has been generating at an average flow of 7000 cuffs with a step up to around 25,000 cuffs for about 6 hours each day over the past few days.  Lake Barkley has been generating at an average flow of 6100 cuffs around the clock for the past few days.    
Once again we have had a week of topsy-turvy weather patterns since last week's report.  A nasty cold front moved through the lakes area last Friday and brought colder than normal temperatures and strong northerly winds over last weekend and earlier this week.  The water temperatures dropped like a rock from 67 last Thursday to 62 by the beginning of this week. 

A warming pattern over the past few days has rebounded the water temperatures to present levels.  A weaker cold front passed through the lakes area today.  The forecast for tomorrow is post frontal with East winds at 15 mph and a high of 71.  Saturday is calling for prefrontal conditions with another frontal passage sometime Saturday evening.  Winds from the South are forecasted for Saturday at 17mph.  

We will be post frontal again on Sunday with Northerly winds now forecasted at 7 mph.  Next week's forecast is calling for Southerly winds until late next week.  Of course forecasts do change so make sure you check the latest wind and weather forecasts before venturing on the lakes.  Keep an eye out for fast moving afternoon isolated thunderstorms with the warming trend coming.  These type afternoon storms can move fast and can bring high localized winds to the lakes with dangerous lightning.  
The Bass fishing really has not changed much since last week's report with the exception that a few more bags of 20lbs were brought into the tournament weigh-in's last Saturday than we have been seeing lately.  In a 25 boat tournament on Barkley last Saturday, the top 4 places all had over 20lbs and the next two places had over 19 lbs.  In the FLW BFL tournament held on Lake Barkley last Saturday, the top 4 places had over 20lbs also.  

These numbers are better than we have been seeing over the past few weeks so at least a few more Largemouth in the 4lbs plus range decided to bite last weekend.  The primary pattern for Largemouth still remains at fishing the lead in banks back from the dry spawning areas with slower presentations such as jigs, Texas rigs and Carolina rigs.  

Just as in last weeks report, there are a myriad of patterns producing some fish from the ledges around the mouths of the creeks and bays back to the shallow flats so there is something for everyone.  We have post spawn patterns, prespawn patterns and spawning patterns working but the most productive pattern this week has still been fishing those lead in banks off the dry spawning areas.  Many of these fish are on the beds on these banks and wood cover in the form of brush piles, stumps, logs and docks have been key this week on those banks.  
LARGEMOUTH BASS:  Largemouth are being taken on lead in channel banks and secondary points located back from the shallow flats and shallow coves in the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on medium running crankbaits, spinnerbaits, Carolina and Texas rigged lizards and creature baits, jigs and shaky heads.  The most productive bite has been on Carolina rigs, Texas rigs and jigs.  Largemouth are also being taken on the ledges around the mouths of the creeks and bays.  

These fish are being taken on Carolina rigged lizards and creature baits and jigs.  Some Largemouth are being taken on the shallow flats in the backs of the creeks and bays and in shallow coves in the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and Carolina rigged lizards.  
SMALLMOUTH BASS:  Smallmouth Bass are being taken on main lake points and banks as well channel banks and secondary points in the creeks and bays.  These fish are on post spawn patterns and are being taken on crankbaits, Carolina rigged creature baits, jigs and tube jigs.  

Most of the fish being taken seem to be young females or bucks right now with a few larger single females.  No large numbers of Smallmouth catches are being reported.
Some of the productive lures reported this week are:  Strike King series 4 crankbaits in sexy shad, Bag 5 custom painted crankbaits in bluegill, Strike King red eye shad in sexy shad, Chatterbaits in blue glimmer and green pumpkin, Charmer lizards in green pumpkin and watermelon/red, Charmer timber pups in green pumpkin, Strike King speed craw in green pumpkin and watermelon seed, Slong's spinnerbaits in blue glimmer and white, Charmer shaky head worms and Zoom trick worms in green pumpkin and green pumpkin/blue on D&L shaky head jigs, D&L advantage and football head jigs in "oops" pattern with Net Baits mini kick n b . trailers in green pumpkin and summer craw.  
CRAPPIE:  The cold front last weekend slowed the Crappie bite as many of the Crappie moved over deeper water and suspended.  Reports indicate that the Crappie best pattern this week was fishing vertically over deep brush piles in 10-20 ft of water with small jigs and small minnows.  The warming water and more stable weather in next weeks forecast should revive some of those Crappie which have yet to spawn.  I would expect some of the Crappie to move back to the staging brush piles in 5-8 ft of water soon.
BLUEGILL/REDEAR:  Most of the Bluegill and Redear anglers reported this week that these fish had slowed down with the drop in water temperatures earlier this week but this bite has picked back up over the past couple of days on gravel bars in 5-7 ft of water.  

These fish are being taken by fishing with split shot rigs baited with plastic bug imitators tipped with worms slow rolled on bottom.  Some Bluegills were taken on crickets under bobbers today according to two Bluegill anglers I talked to at a boat ramp this afternoon.  They said that the Bluegills they caught were relating to shallow wood on the flats today.  

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Photo by Libby Mundy

This male eastern bluebird is looking for an insect to munch on. Easily spotted by binoculars, the males are bluer than the females which are mostly grey in color.