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Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 10/03/2013

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Kentucky Dam - 355.49  Surface Temperature - 75

Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 355.45   Surface Temperature - 75
Both lakes are three and one half feet below summer pool and on a slow draw down.  Kentucky Dam has been generating an average flow of 47,000 cfs today.  Barkley Dam has been generating an average flow of 17,000 cfs today.  

With the water levels now well below summer pool, boaters should be cautious about navigating outside of the marked channels.  Just because these are big lakes does not mean they are deep lakes.  Certainly, nothing can ruin a fun fishing trip quicker than a damaged lower unit or even worse an injury caused by striking an unseen underwater object.  
The lake levels dropped over a foot since this time last week as the TVA pulled lakes down to get the lakes back on track with the annual draw down to winter pool levels.  Some cooler days last weekend and earlier this week dropped the water temperatures but the past two days of warmer than normal weather raised the temperatures back up to where they are now.  

We have a frontal passage in the forecast for Saturday with expected cooler more seasonal weather in the forecast for Sunday and into next week.  The forecast for Saturday is for a high of 85 and low of 60 with a 30% chance of isolated thunderstorms and wind SSW13.  There is a slight possibility for some severe storms so be very aware of changing weather conditions on Saturday.  

The forecast for Sunday is a high of 65 and low of 47 with a 30% chance of rain and wind WNW8.  Monday is showing a high of 67 and low of 45 with wind NNW7.  The extended forecast is for a high's in the mid 70's and low's in the mid 50's for next week.  
The fall transitional patterns are still in play here on the big lakes with the bass still being taken from the main lake ledges to the backs of the creeks and bays.  

To give you an idea of what I mean, we had one day in the past week in which my client and I fished a ledge for 7 hours and had over 20lbs on the best 5 fish with a mammoth 9lbs kicker in that bag.  Another client and I fished topwater baits in less than a foot of water in the backs of creeks one day this past week and had multiple limits with the best 5 going around 19lbs.

Certainly these were exceptional days but it reflects just how much the fish can be scattered this time of year and there are multiple patterns working or not working from one day to the next.  I should also note that there were some tougher days this past week in which we had to really buckle down to get a 5 fish limit of just keepers.  

I am seeing more activity each week in the creeks and bays as the shad and bass are making their way back to the shallows to feed up for winter and with the cooler nights in the forecast for next week, we should see more fish transitioning to these areas.  The traveling fish are making the ledges on the main lakes like playing power ball... if you are on the right ledge at the right time when some big schools of shad and following bass pull up there to feed, you can get well but you can also sit on a ledge and have a really tough day right now.  

This is all being reflected in the tournaments here right now with some anglers getting a big bag one day and a small catch the next as well as many  very good tournament anglers only getting one or two fish if any to the scales.  It is tough to put two consecutive good days together right now but this is normal for the fall transitional fishing and to be successful one has to be versatile and adjust their patterns from day to day.   
A side note, I will not be publishing a report next week as I will be attending my annual get together with all my old military buddies and friends for some trout fishing and festivities as we have been doing every year for the past 26 years.
Largemouth Bass:  Largemouth are still being taken on the river and creek channel ledges on the main lakes as well as around the mouths of the creeks and bays.  Some fish are being taken on deep diving crankbaits and swim baits but the more productive bite has been on Carolina rigged creature baits and dragging football head jigs. 

The ledge fish have been scattered this week but  with the current we are still managing to find some actively feeding fish.  Largemouth are also being taken in the back halves of the creeks and bays as they are feeding on schools of young threadfin shad.  These fish are being taken on topwater lures early and late in the day with  spinnerbaits, lipless and square billed crankbaits and chatterbaits working during the day on deeper flats and working finesse jigs on the lead in banks.  

The better bite has been around schools of small white and yellow bass where the Largemouth are mixing in with these feeding smaller fish.  Although we are taking some numbers of fish on this shallow water pattern, most of the fish are small or just over keeper size with an occasional 3 lbs - 5lbs fish or two some days.  I have run into a couple of schools of keeper sized and better fish feeding on the flats in the creeks this week. I have also had some reports of some schools of keeper sized and better fish working the shallow main lake flats feeding on schools of baitfish.
Smallmouth Bass:  Smallmouth are being taken on main lake gravel and rocky points early and late in the day on topwater lures and then on finesse jigs and tube jigs during the day.  We have also been taking some keeper Smallmouth in the creeks and bays on rocky channel banks on finesse jigs and tube jigs.  
Some productive lures reported this week are:   Lucky Craft Sammy in ghost pearl lemon, Strike King KVD splash baits in bone,  Slong's spinnerbaits in blue glimmer, Bag 5 custom painted Strike King XD 6 series baits in blue glimmer and green gizzard shad,  Bag 5 custom painted square billed crankbaits in blue glimmer pattern, Bag 5 custom painted Strike King Red Eye shad in blue glimmer, Chatterbaits in blue glimmer with twin tail Yamamoto trailer in blue pearl, Charmer timber pups in green pumpkin and watermelon/purple on Carolina rigs, Slong's football head jigs in Cumberland Craw, D&L football head jigs in Cumberland Craw, D&L baby advantage jigs in Cumberland Craw and "oops" patterns as well as Charmer tubes in road kill and green pumpkin.  
White Bass:  White Bass are being taken on the old river channel ledges where they are feeding on schools of baitfish.  These fish can be taken by vertically fishing with inline spinners and small spoons.  Some fish are also being taken by trolling inline spinners behind deep diving crankbaits along the river ledges and main lake creek channel ledges as well as on old creek channels around the mouths of the creeks and bays.  
Crappie:  I have had a number of reports of anglers taking Crappie over staging brush piles in the front halfs of the creeks and bays by vertically fishing with small jigs and small jigs tipped with minnows over brush piles in 12-15 feet of water.  I have also had some few reports of Crappie being taken in the 8-10 ft range over brush piles in the creeks by casting small curly tail jigs.  
Catfish:  Catfish are being taken on the old river channel ledges in 25-35 feet of water using nightcrawlers and cut baits.  The best bite is during periods of current. There are a number of Channel Catfish cruising the shallow flats in the backs of the creeks and bays and feeding on schools of baitfish.  We have taken a number of these Catfish this past week on crankbaits while fishing for bass. 

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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.