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Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 10/17/2013

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Kentucky Dam - 354.73   Surface Temperature - 72

Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 354.65  Surface Temperature - 72
Both lakes are about 4 and one half feet below summer pool.  Kentucky Dam has been generating average flows between 30,000 - 36,000 over the past couple days.  Barkley Dam has been generating a steady flow of 17,000 cfs the past couple of days. 

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.  
This has been a week of cold frontal passages with a major one late last weekend and a weaker cold frontal passage this morning.  As one would expect, this has made for some up and down fishing this past week.  Some days have been slow and some days have been good.  

We are still in the fall transition pattern for the bass as our water temperatures are still running about 6 degrees above normal for this time in October.  Largemouth are still being taken from the main lake ledges and points to the backs of the creeks and bays.  We concentrated our efforts in the creeks and bays this week and as has been the norm lately, we had to be versatile with changing patterns daily and many times through out the same day.  

We took Largemouth in as little as 6 - 8 inches of water on topwater lures and as deep as 15-18  feet on some channel banks and points on jigs.  Most of this past week, the better bite was early in the morning and picked up again around mid day each day.  

Although we did have some exciting moments on schooling bass this week with spinnerbaits and crankbaits, overall I would classify the bite as slow to fair.  The forecast looks promising for the near future to bring down the water temperatures a little more to get more fish moving into the shallows.  The forecast for tomorrow is for a high of 70 and low of 48 with wind WSW at 8.  

Another cold front is forecasted to come through the area early Saturday with a forecasted high of 63 and low of 42 with wind WNW at 9 and a 30% chance of showers.  Sunday's high is forecasted to be 69 with a low of 46 with wind WSW at 8.  Monday shows a high of 70 and low of 44 with wind SSW at 9.   Another frontal passage is forecasted for early next week with daytime high's in the 50's and low's in the lower 40's with a chance of more rain through mid week.  
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 bite is scattered and it is a matter of finding the right ledge at the right time when there are some schools of baitfish and bass there because the baitfish are moving a lot and the bass are following.  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 and points. 

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 - 6lbs 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 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.  There are some schools of White Bass now feeding in the creeks and bays in cuts and on the flats but most of these are smaller fish.  These schooling fish can be taken with inline spinners and small crankbaits.
Crappie:  I have had a number of reports of anglers taking Crappie over staging brush piles in the front half's 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 during the warm part of the day 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. 

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.

Remarkable Sunset
Photo by Jennifer Dunnaway

This is one of my favorite photographs of a Kentucky Lake sunset taken from the eastern shore of Kentucky Lake near Fenton.