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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 05/16/2013

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Kentucky Dam - 361.50   Surface Temperature - 67

Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 361.85  Surface Temperature - 67
 
Both lakes are about 2 and one half feet over summer pool and on a fast draw down to summer pool.  The drawdown started about 3 days ago and the lakes have dropped 2 and one half feet in the past three days.  The TVA is forecasted to slow this draw down to about 6 inches per day starting today. 

At this rate both lakes should reach summer pool late Sunday or early Monday.  Today, Kentucky Dam had a peak spilling rate of around 160,00 cfs early this morning and was down to 135,000 cfs late this afternoon.  Barkley Dam was spilling at an average rate of 81,000 cfs over the past couple of days but cut this flow down to 135,000 cfs this afternoon.  
 
We had some nice warm weather this week although a couple of days were windy, especially in the afternoon.  As mentioned above, the TVA has pulled the plug on the lakes and has been dropping the water levels rapidly over the past few days.  So far this rapid drop has not hindered my efforts on the late prespawn Largemouth that I have been catching in the flooded over brush along the original shorelines on the spawning flats in the backs of the creeks, bays and coves.  

Actually I have seen this bite pick up as many of the fish that were buried up deep in the jungles back there have pulled out to join my fish.  I have had a lot of reports of a good post spawn bite on humps and ledges in the front halves of the creeks and bays but as long as I am still catching good catches of late prespawn bass, I don't plan on moving deeper.  

I do think that the late prespawners we are catching are the final wave of these fish and I expect that when the water settles down, they will go on the beds.  When this happens, I will move to the post spawn patterns.  I have all summer to fish the ledges, which I really like to do, but active prespawn fish in shallow water won't come again until next spring and I plan on taking advantage of this bite while I can.  The channel water on Kentucky Lake is stained.  

The creeks and bays range from clear to lightly stained.  The channel water on Lake Barkley is heavily stained and the creeks and bays are stained.  There is still debris floating on both lakes with Barkley having more than Kentucky.  Be careful while running and please use the navigation buoys if you are not familiar with the lakes and if you are outside of a navigation area, idle until you know for sure you are in safe water.  We had a death on Kentucky Lake last week when someone took a short cut out side of the navigation channel at the U.S. 68 bridge...we do not need anymore of these accidents this year.  
 
The weather forecast is looking pretty good with a high tomorrow of 75 and low of 65 with a 50% chance of rain and scattered thunderstorms and wind SSE at 11.  Saturday's high is forecasted high of 84 and low of 69 with 30% chance of rain with isolated thunderstorms and wind SSW at 7.  Sunday has a forecasted high of 87 and a low of 72 with a 20% chance of rain and wind S at 7.  The extended forecast through mid week is for highs in the mid to upper 80's with south quadrant winds.  

This is the time of year that we always have a chance of afternoon and early evening thunderstorms so keep an eye on the sky and if you see a storm coming, don't wait to find safe port.  These storms can have some very bad lightning with this heat and also high localized winds. 
 
Largemouth Bass:  Largemouth are being taken in the flooded over buck brush and vegetation on topwater popping baits and buzzbaits, Texas rigged lizards and creature baits,  finesse jigs,  spinnerbaits and swim baits. Post spawn Largemouth are being taken on lead out banks and deep points with as well as on ledges around the mouths of the creeks and bays and on main lake creek channel ledges and humps.  These fish are being taken on deep diving crankbaits, spoons Carolina rigged creature baits and jigs.   
 
Smallmouth:  Smallmouth are being taken on gravel points and bank on the main lake and around the mouths of the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on Carolina rigged creature baits, tube jigs and jigs.  Some few nice fish are being reported but not large numbers.
 
Some of the productive lures reported this week are: Strike King XD 6 crankbaits in blue back chartreuse belly, Strike King sexy spoons in shad patterns,  Charmer lizards and timber pups in green pumpkin and watermelon/red, Slong's and Strike King spinnerbaits in white and white/chartreuse, watermelon/red and green pumpkin/blue, Big Hammer swim baits in sexy smelt and bay smelt, D&L advantage jigs in Cumberland Craw and "oops" patterns, Slong's football head jigs in Cumberland Craw and Charmer tubes in green pumpkin and roadkill.
 
Crappie:  The Crappie bite was reported as scattered this week. I had reports of Crappie being taken around the flooded buck brush and around the bases of willow trees on minnows under bobbers.
 
Bluegill/RedEars:  The Bluegill bite has been reported as good this week with big gills being taken on crickets under bobbers around flooded brush in 5-6 ft of water and around willow trees.  The Red Ear bite has been reported as improving this week with some catches around gravel bars with brush in 5-6 ft of water using split shot rigs baited with small creature jigs tipped with worms.   
 
Catfish:  Channel Catfish are roaming the shallows in the backs of the creeks and bays, especially near rocky bottom areas as well as on shallow rocky bottom areas ;and rip rap on the main lake.  These fish are being taken on night crawlers fished on bottom and under bobbers.  Good catches are being reported.

More Kentucky Lake Fishing Reports

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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.