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Archived Fishing Report

Dave Stewart's Fishing Report

Written by Dave Stewart | Originally published 09/24/2015

Kentucky Lake:  Water Level at Kentucky Dam – 355.22  Surface Temperature – 76

Lake Barkley:  Water Level at Barkley Dam – 355.30  Surface Temperature – 77
Both lakes are 4 feet below summer pool and on a slow draw down.  Kentucky Dam generated an average flow of 21,000 cfs today.  Barkley Dam varied generation between 8,200 –17,700 cfs today.  

With the lake levels down, boaters need to be cautious when navigating the lakes. These are big lakes, but they are shallow river lakes. If you are not familiar with the lakes, make sure you use the navigation lanes and if you are not sure of the depths and locations of obstructions where you are, idle your boat until you are in safe water. 
General Conditions:  This has been a week of blue skies and high pressure. The cool down we had experienced over the past weekend continued into earlier this week and the water temperatures got down to around 75 but some warmer days and flat water with blue skies the past couple of days brought the water temperatures back up to present levels.  

This is typical for this time of year as we have some cooling periods followed by some warming periods as summer tries to hold on as fall is pushing its way into the area.  The fish did start into the fall transition earlier this week and the first waves of big schools of small threadfin starting showing up in the shallows in many of the creeks and bays but not all of them yet.  

I would expect those creeks and bays that have not seen these big schools back shallow will do so over the next few days.  As is typical for this transition period, the fish are moving and they are scattered from the main lake to the backs of the creeks and bays.  I have seen some improvement in the shallow water bite this week but I would still consider the bite is slow for numbers of keeper fish.  

We took fish this week off ledges near the mouths of the creeks and bays as well as on secondary points and channel banks in the creeks and bays and also in the backs of the creeks and bays.  The early morning shallow top water bite is improving some on both lakes as is the bite on the shallow flats in the creeks and bays as well as the main lake during the day.  

No doubt the scattered fish patterns will continue for a while as the transition continues, but remember, the fish are only traveling in one direction this time of year and that of course is to the shallows.   
Largemouth Bass: Largemouth are being taken on ledges on the main lake and around the mouths of deeper creeks and bays. These fish are being taken on Carolina rigged creature baits, dragging large football head jigs, shaky heads and drop shot rigs. 

Largemouth are also being taken on primary points and channel banks of the main lake using the same techniques as mentioned above. One can also catch fish on secondary points and on the flats in the creeks and bays where some bass are feeding on schools of fry. 

These fish are being taken on medium running crank baits, lipless crank baits, spinner baits, finesse jigs, tube jigs and shaky heads. Largemouth are being taken around grass beds in the creeks and bays south of Blood River early in the morning on top water lures and senko type baits. Overall the fish are scattered and bite is slow.
Smallmouth Bass: Smallmouth are being taken on rocky main lake primary points and secondary points in the front halves of the creeks and bays as well as on ledges. These fish are being taken on Carolina rigged creature baits, jigs, tube jigs and shaky heads. The bite on these fish during the day is slow. Smallmouth are being taken at night on main lake points on dark skirted spinner baits and tube jigs.
Productive Lures: Some of the more productive lures reported this week are: Lucky Craft Sammy and Lucky Craft Gunfish in ghost pearl lemon, Slong’s spinner baits in blue glimmer, Bag 5 square bill crank baits in blue glimmer, Strike King Red Eye Shad in chrome sexy shad and sexy shad, Bag 5 custom painted Red Eye Shad lipless crank baits in blue glimmer, Charmer Timber Pups in green pumpkin and watermelon/purple on Carolina rigs , Charmer shaky head worms on drop shot rigs in bama bug and watermelon/purple as well as Robo worms in green pumpkin variations, Slong’s trokar football head jigs in possum and Cumberland craw and D&L football head jigs in Oops and Cumberland Craw patterns, D&L baby advantage jigs in “oops” pattern and Cumberland Craw, Slong's shaky head jigs with Charmer shaky head worms in watermelon candy and bama bug as well as Yamamoto Senko’s in green pumpkin/black and Charmer tubes in road kill and green pumpkin/orange on tube jigs.
White Bass: Whites are being taken by vertically fishing inline spinners, blade baits and small spoons over schools of deeper fish along river channel ledges and ledges around the mouths of the creeks and bays. 

Schools of smaller Whites and Yellow Bass are starting to show up on the flats in the creeks and bays where they are feeding on schools of small baitfish. These fish can be taken on inline spinners and blade baits. Overall, the reports I received this week indicate the numbers of keeper White Bass being taken is dwindling. 
Catfish: Catfish are being taken in the old river channels now in 20-30 ft of water on bottom rigs with cut baits, night crawlers. shrimp and leach combinations and yellow tails. This bite has been reported as slow due to the lack of current this week.

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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.

Kentucky Lake Sunset
Photo by Shawn Dunnaway

Sunsets at Kentucky Lake are special. You can find them on the eastern banks of Kentucky Lake looking west across a mile of ripples and waves. There's nothing quite like experiencing a sunset on Kentucky Lake.