Explore Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley Fishing
Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Contact Us About Us
Switch Mobile/Desktop

Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 04/23/2015

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Kentucky Dam - 361.65  Surface Temperature - 65

Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam - 361.75  Surface Temperature - 65
Both lakes are 3.5 feet over summer pool.  Kentucky Dam was spilling at an average rate of 107,000 cfs this afternoon.  Barkley Dam was spilling at an average rate of 74,000 cfs this afternoon.  

Kentucky Lake ranges from slightly stained to clear. Lake Barkley ranges from heavily stained  in the river channel to clear in most creeks but some creeks do have heavily stained water in the backs of the creeks.  Barkley is definitely fishable.  There is debris floating in both lakes with the water up so be very careful when running the lakes.  
General Conditions:  This past week has been a week with back to back cold fronts, some high winds and of course some more rain.  The lakes rose to present levels over the past week with locally heavy rains and heavy rains up the rivers.  Although the high winds did keep us off the lakes a couple of days, we did manage to get out most of the days over the past week.  

The Largemouth are on a late prespawn/spawn patterns now with some spawning, some feeding up in the shallows getting ready to spawn and still some staging on the final lead in banks just off the spawning areas.  The high water is in the button brush and mustard flowers.  

The bite has been good on days just before the frontal passages and somewhat slower on post frontal days, but even on the post frontal days there are fish to be caught.  The current TVA forecast for the lake levels is to start a slow draw down tomorrow but these forecasts can change so monitor the TVA site for the most recent updates.  

Most of the Crappie reports are indicating that the peak of the Crappie spawn is over and the bite has been somewhat scattered over the past week with the rapid rise in water levels.  No doubt once things settle down, there will still be some late Crappie to spawn.  
The forecast for tomorrow is for a high of 65 and low of 55 with a 50% chance of rain in the evening with wind ESE8.  Saturday is forecasted with a high of 80 and low of 54 with an 80% chance of rain and thunderstorms.  

Wind is forecasted to be SW14 as another cold front approaches the area and right now is forecasted to come through on Saturday night.  Sunday will be post frontal with a high of 63, low of 45 with a 20% chance of rain and wind N10.  The extended forecast into mid next week is for post frontal conditions with high's in the 60's, low's around 50 and northerly quadrant winds.  
Largemouth Bass: Largemouth are being taken on secondary points and channel banks inside the creeks and bays leading into the spawning areas. These staging fish are taking shallow running crank baits, spinnerbaits, Texas rigged lizards and creature baits, jigs and shakey heads. 

Largemouth are also being taken on shallow flats and ditches in front of the spawning areas on lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits, Texas rigged lizards, whacky rigs and jigs. Our best bite for larger fish over the past week has been dragging Texas rigged lizards and jigs on the lead in banks just off the spawning areas and on the flats and ditches in front of and around the flooded brush and flowers.
Smallmouth Bass: Smallmouth are being taken on shallow main lake gravel points and banks near the channels and on gravel secondary points and banks in the creeks and bays. These fish are being taken on slow rolled crank baits, Texas and Carolina rigged lizards and creature baits, tube jigs and jigs. 
Productive Lures: Some of the more productive lures this week have been: Bandit crankbaits in rootbeer and rootbeer/chartreuse, Spro Little John crankbaits in spring craw, Strike King Red Eye Shad lipless crankbaits in red or orange with black crawdad patterns as well as chrome sexy shad, D&L jigs in Cumberland Craw and Oops patterns with Missle Turbo Tail trailers, Last Cast jigs in green pumpkin with Baby Paca Craw trailer, Slong's spinnerbaits in white/chartreuse, Charmer lizards and timber pups on Texas and Carolina rigs in green pumpkin and watermelon/red, Charmer shakey head worms as well as Yamamoto senkos and Yum Dingers on D&L and Slong's shakey head jigs in green pumpkin, Zoom trick worms in green pumpkin and green pumpkin/blue on whacky rigs.

Crappie: Crappie have reportedly been scattered this week with the rising water.  I have had reports of Crappie being taken on spider rigs in 12-15 ft of water over brush piles on jigs tipped with minnows as well as Crappie being taken in 3-5 ft of water near buck brush and flowers on minnows under bobbers.  

Most of the reports are saying that the peak of the Crappie spawn is over but I am sure once the water settles down there will still be a number of Crappie hanging around shallow for a while to be taken.
Catfish:  Channel Catfish are moving up on shallow rocky main lake banks to feed as well as on the flats in the backs of the creeks and bays.  These fish are being taken on rod/reel with night crawlers fished on bottom and under bobbers.  Catfish are also being taken on the flats in the backs of the creeks and bays on jug lines baited with threadfin shad and also night crawlers.

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.

White Egret
Photo by Melodie Cunningham

Commonly mistaken for a heron, egrets can commonly be seen wading in shallow water near the lakes edge.