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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 05/17/2012

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Kentucky Dam - 357.18   Surface Temperature - 73

Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 357.25  Surface Temperature - 73
 
Both lakes are two feet below summer pool and on a slow rise.  The water levels are finally rising after some heavy rains in the upper Tennessee River Valley.  The lakes have been rising a few inches each day this past week due to the inflow of this runoff from up river.  

Not really sure when or even if the lakes will reach summer pool but at least we have a little more water than we have had all spring.  With the rising water this week, there is some wood debris scattered around the creeks and main lakes so be careful when running to avoid these hazards.  Of course, remember we are still not at summer pool levels so take this into consideration when running the lakes and use the navigation lanes unless you are positive you are in safe water.  

Kentucky Dam has been generating around 6800 cfs during the morning hours and stepping up the flow to around 28,000 cfs during the early afternoon and evening hours.  Barkley Dam has been alternating the flow there with 3 hour periods at 6500 cfs and then 3 hour periods of 0 flow around the clock.   
 
The weather this week has been beautiful with post frontal conditions following the frontal passage last Sunday that brought some rain.  The forecast for tomorrow and through the weekend is for daytime highs around 90 and night time lows in the mid 60's.  Another weak front is forecasted to move through the area on Monday with only a slight chance of rain.  The forecast next week is for daytime highs in the low to mid 80's on Monday and Tuesday and then a rebound to high's around 90 for the remainder of the work week.  
 
Largemouth Bass:  Largemouth Bass are being taken on the old river and creek channels ledges on the main lakes as well as the old creek channel ledges around the mouths of the creeks and bays.  Deep diving crankbaits, Carolina rigged creature baits, Texas rigged large worms and dragging football head jigs are taking fish.  

Our most productive technique this past week has been dragging football head jigs and Carolina rigging creature baits.  Some Largemouth are also being taken on primary points as well as secondary points and channel banks in the front halves of the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on deep and medium running crankbaits, Carolina rigged creature baits, jigs and shaky heads.  

I have had a couple of reports of Largemouth being taken early in the morning in the backs of the creeks and bays where fish are feeding on schools of fry.  These fish are being taken on topwater lures, spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits and swim baits.  
 
Smallmouth Bass:  Smallmouth Bass are being taken on the old river and creek channel ledges on the main lakes as well as on main lake points.  These fish are being taken on Carolina rigged creature baits, tube jigs and jigs.  We have had a few single nice fish but no appreciable numbers.  
 
Some of the productive lures reported this week are:  Strike King series 6 and series 6xd crankbaits in sexy shad and chartreuse sexy shad, Rapala DT16 in parrot, Bag 5 custom painted medium running crankbaits in green gizzard shad, Bandit 300 series crankbaits in rootbeer/chartreuse, Lucky Craft Sammy in ghost pearl lemon, Slong's spinnerbaits in blue glimmer, Charmer timber pups in green pumpkin and watermelon/purple, Strike King rodent in Amistad special, Charmer shaky head worms in green pumpkin and green pumpkin candy on D&L and Slong's shaky head jigs, D&L football head jigs in "oops" and Missouri craw patterns.
 
Crappie:  Crappie are being taken on post spawn brush piles around the mouths of the creeks as well as on the main lakes in 15-20 ft of water by vertically fishing with small jigs and minnow jig combinations.  Some scattered Crappie are still being taken around brush piles in 6-8 ft of water in the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken with small jigs and minnows under bobbers.
 
White Bass:  White Bass are now being taken along the old river channel ledges by vertically fishing with inline spinners and small spoons.  Some nice catches have been reported but I have not seen nor had any reports of surface feeding Whites yet.
 
Bluegill/Red Ears:  Bluegills are being taken in 5-6 ft of water off the banks in the backs of the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on worms and crickets fished under bobbers and on split shot rigs baited with small creature jigs tipped with worms.  Red Ears have been reported to be in similar depths but located off gravel bars more toward the front halves of the creeks and bays and on the main lake.  These fish are being taken on split shot rigs baited with creature jigs tipped with worms and crickets.
 
Catfish:  Channel Catfish are still being taken on rocky shorelines, rocky bluffs and rocky flats by fishing with night crawlers fished under bobbers and on bottom rigs.

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.