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Archived Fishing Report

Kentucky Lake's June Crappie/Bass Fishing Is Good

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 06/16/2011

Kentucky Lake’s June fishing is holding well for both bass and crappie anglers. Summer will officially arrive on Tuesday but the fish and fishermen have been scoring some hefty catches of fish that have been in summer patterns for a few weeks.
Crappie fishing has been consistent for anglers who have chalked up some very nice stringers for an extended period of time. Although most crappie anglers fall under the “spring only” label, the month of June has produced the best fishing thus far this year.
Fish have occupied midrange depths for several weeks and despite some hot weather earlier this month action has held up well. Cooler conditions returned this week as daily temps are back in the normal range and a few cloudy days with light winds have produced nice fishing conditions.
Good numbers of fish have been caught this week in the 11 to 15 foot depth range. A few fish were still residing in some shallow stakebeds but the bulk of good size fish have backed off the banks and out of shallow structure.
Anglers are scoring using a variety of techniques ranging from vertical presentations of jigs around stakebeds and brushpiles to slow trolling spider rigs and long lining crankbaits. Crappie have shown a preference for cover around drop-offs this week and although they haven’t been too deep they like the idea of having deeper water escape routes close by.
Jigs tipped with minnows and Berkley power bait have produced well. Popular color choices have been white/orange, black/chartreuse, pink/chartreuse and some relatively clear type tube skirts and minnow style bodies sporting metal flake.
Shad colored crankbaits are appealing to a lot of crappie that are either suspended or schooling near main lake ledges. Some loud colored crankbaits such as chartreuse variations and pink shades have also worked well but there are times when the fish are finicky as to their color choice.
Bottom line is that this June crappie gig is a good one and most anglers continue to overlook it. If you think spring is the only time to catch good stringers of crappie on Kentucky Lake you are depriving yourself of some good fishing opportunities.
Meanwhile, lake levels have fluctuated a few inches this week and the reservoir is resting slightly above summer pool, which is somewhat surprising given the fact that rainfall has been quite light. TVA is projecting a reading of 359.5 at Kentucky Dam and 359.2 at New Johnsonville as the weekend approaches.
Lake levels are likely to fall once TVA begins pulling water. Surface temps responded favorably to the cooler weather and dropped into the 82 to 84 degree range this week, which is down four or five degrees from last week’s hot spell.
Water color remains clear across most of the reservoir due to light rainfall and no runoff.
Bass have been hitting good for anglers working main lake ledges using Carolina rigged lizards and worms. Crankbaits and Texas rigged worms are also producing as are a few jig and craw combos.
Some bass are schooling at times on ledges and taking on an aggressive attitude when current is present. However, most anglers are catching good numbers but still having trouble finding big bites from fish in the 4-pound plus range.
Not all bass are deep as some island rims, outside buck bushes and treelaps are holding a fish. Anglers pitching jigs and Texas rigged craws and worms are still finding enough fish in shallow venues to keep it interesting.
Popular color choices have been Zoom’s Brush Hog in the green gourd, pumpkin pepper, June bug, and cotton candy just to name a few. Culprit and Berkley Power Bait worms in the nine and ten inch lengths have been working too when fished on ledges.
Some fish were showing interest in buzzbaits and assorted jerk baits around shallow grassbeds in the early morning and late afternoon hours. Spinnerbaits are working around shallow shoreline and river islands and should hold up well for another week or two, especially if pin minnows enter the picture.
It’s time the abundant schools of fry or pin minnows were showing up in the shallow structure but that shallow forage base has been a bit slow arriving this year. Watch for schools of fry to relate to boat docks and shallow grassbeds and shoreline habitat soon.
Seems Kentucky Lake bass can be taken in both shallow and deep water zones even during hot weather and this year that scenario is holding up to its reputation. Although a lot of bass fishermen are searching for milfoil and various aquatic vegetation patches this year’s extended spell of high water likely curtailed the growth as no milfoil, spiny leaf or coontail moss is showing up thus far.
Catfish action has been slow this week and some anglers reported an abundance of dead mussels floating in the main river channel. The abundance of dead mussel meat floating may have diminished the bite from catfish as sport fishermen had tough competition. The reason for the mussel die-off was unknown.
Bluegill are on the move and while a few are lingering around shallow shorelines, piers, and boat docks there are increased numbers now residing in deeper crappie beds far from shoreline. Mayfly hatches will likely show up again soon and that should improve bluegill fishing opportunities in shallow areas where steep banks and overhanging trees provide a canopy.
Kentucky Lake’s June fishery is worthy of pursuit and it sure beats the changing lake levels and cold winds of spring.

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Big Bass
Photo by Brandon Hunter

Nathan Long holds up two nice bass while fishing with guide Brandon Hunter recently on Kentucky Lake.