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Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 07/19/2012

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Kentucky Dam - 358.15  Surface Temperature - 86

Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 358.20  Surface Temperature - 86
Both lakes are one foot below summer pool with little change in the immediate forecast.  The lakes actually came up to their highest level this year of 358 as a result of some heavy rainfall, especially up river in Tennessee.  

This rainfall is from late afternoon and evening thunderstorms associated with the higher humidity levels we have been having which is normal for this time of year.  The present lake levels now have the lakes back on schedule with the TVA River Operating Schedule.  Normally the lakes are drawn down one foot each month beginning in July until they reach winter pool and since we are now one foot below summer pool, we are back on the normal levels for this time of year on the lakes.  

Kentucky Dam continues to generate an average of 18,000 cfs flow around the clock as has been the case for the past several weeks.  Barkley Dam, likewise, is generating 6,000 cfs flow around the clock as has been the scenario the past number of weeks.   
As I mentioned in the last week's report, the ledge fishing for Largemouth is holding up and this past week we have had some nice bags of Largemouth from the ledges.  Our best day this past week was on an 8 hour fun trip in which my clients had 5 limits of Largemouth with the best 5 fish weighing in at a little over 23lbs.  Our best 5 fish bag came on a 5 hour trip with over three limits of Largemouth with the best 5 weighing over 24lbs.  

Of course this kind of weight is not going to happen every day, but when it does, it is something to smile about.  The slower techniques I have been reporting such as Carolina rigs, Texas rigs and dragging jigs continue to produce the majority of our fish, including those large bags mentioned above.  We have had a few fish on crankbaits and spoons but the slower techniques continue to produce us more fish.  I have mentioned before that most of the bites are very light so you have to pay close attention and if you think you have a bite, you need to set the hook.  
Even with the afternoon thunderstorms we have been having this past week, the drought and heat continue in the lakes area so make sure you take plenty of water and sunscreen on the lakes with you and keep yourself hydrated.  You can pretty much expect triple digit heat indexes during the mid to afternoon hours this time of year on most days.  

The current forecast for tomorrow and through next week is for high's in the mid to upper 90's each day and night time low's in the mid 70's.  We have a cool front that will pass through the lakes area early tomorrow morning and the wind forecasts for tomorrow and Saturday are for north quadrant winds.  Sunday is forecasted for flat water with ESE wind at 5.  A return to southerly flow winds returns on Monday and is forecasted for the remainder of next week.
Before I get into my species reports, I want to brag a little about my new Granddaughter.  AnnaBell was born at 9:13 a.m. yesterday and came in at a whopping 8lbs 15oz and 19" long.  She is definitely a keeper so no catch and release on this one.
Largemouth Bass:  Largemouth Bass are being taken on the old river and creek channel ledges on the main lakes and around the mouths of the deeper creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on deep diving crankbaits, spoons, Carolina rigged creature baits, Texas rigged large worms, football head jigs, drop shots and shaky heads.  

Largemouth are also being taken in the creeks and bays where they are feeding on schools of spring fry.  These fish are being taken on secondary points, around docks and around wood cover especially early and late in the day.  These fish are being taken on topwater lures early, spinnerbaits, Texas rigged creature baits, senkos baits and shaky heads.
Smallmouth Bass:  Smallmouth Bass are being taken on the old river and creek channel ledges on the main lakes on Carolina rigged creature baits and dragging jigs.  Some Smallmouth are also being taken on main lake gravel points early in the morning on jigs and tube jigs.  The numbers of these fish are low, but some nice single fish are being taken.
Night Fishing:  A good night fishing bite on both Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass is being reported.  The better bite is coming off main lake points and the first secondary points in the creeks and bays.  Slow rolled large dark colored spinnerbaits, jigs and tube jigs are the most productive lures being reported.  
Some of the productive lures reported this week are:  Strike King XD6 series crankbaits in sexy shad and chartreuse shad, Bag 5 custom painted deep diving crankbaits in green gizzard shad, Lucky Craft Sammy in aurora black and ghost pearl lemon,  Charmer 10.5" ribbon tail worm in plum, Charmer Timber Pups in green pumpkin and watermelon/purple, Charmer shaky head worms in green pumpkin and green pumpkin candy on shaky heads and drop shot rigs, Slong's spinnerbait in blue glimmer and D&L football head jigs in Missouri Craw, Cumberland Craw and "Oops" patterns with Net Baits Kick NB trailers in green pumpkin and summer craw.  Hoppy's spinnerbaits in black/blue and black/purple are working on the night bite as well as D&L jigs in black/blue with matching trailers. 
White Bass:  Whites are being taken along the old river ledges by vertically fishing with inline spinners and small spoons as well as minnow rigs. Whites are also being taken by trolling deep diving crankbaits with attached inline spinners and small spoons.  Good catches of Whites have been reported all week.  I did not see any jumps this week nor did I have any jumps reported to me this week.  
Bluegills:  Bluegills are being taken early and late in the day as well as at night around docks with wood cover.  Blue gill are also being taken along deep rocky channel banks with deep wood cover.   These fish are being taken on bobber rigs baited with crickets and small worms around the docks and on split shot rigs tipped with pinched night crawlers on the deep rocky channel banks.  
Catfish:  Catfish are being taken along the old river channel near ledges in 20-30 ft of water with bottom bouncing rigs baited with leeches and shrimp combinations.  Some Catfish are also being taken on bottom rigs with cut baits.

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.

Shy Doe
Photo by J. Kent Harmon

The dense forests in Land Between The Lakes make the perfect hiding place for deer and other native species. You never know who might be peeking at you from the treeline.