Summer No Sleeper for Bass/Crappie Anglers
Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 06/23/2011
Crappie and bass anglers continue to chalk up nice catches of fish from Kentucky Lake as the first official week of the summer season is now underway. Summer arrived on Tuesday with a typical southern thunderstorm that saw some high winds and heavy rains escort the new season to the calendar. Anglers have had to dodge a few dark clouds lately that whipped up the open waters with white caps but after a few hours the unstable weather has moved through, bringing only a temporary halt to fishing trips. Action has held up well for summer crappie anglers who are consistently catching fish in midrange structure. June continues to be quite productive for crappie fishermen who have taken good stringers this week from 11 to 15 foot depth zones. Midrange brushpiles and stakebeds in the mouth of large bays and out on the main lake have given up some hefty fish throughout the month of June and anglers are reaping dividends on a day to day basis. Popular techniques have been vertical presentations of minnows or jigs tipped with minnows. A few fish were taking jigs tipped with Berkley Power Bait’s crappie nibbles. Popular jig color combinations have been white/orange, black/chartreuse, orange/chartreuse and some tube skirts in clear or motor oil sporting glitter skirts just to name a few. Trolling crankbaits has also been a popular technique for a few boats working the drop-offs and main lake flats. Some anglers were pulling long lines with twister tail grub and Road Runner style jigs and finding a few fish as well. Deeper drop-offs where brush and stumps are located is beginning to harbor some summer crappie as well in depths of 15 to 17 feet but the bulk of nice catches are still coming from midrange depths. It has been a good late spring and early summer for crappie anglers here in the Paris Landing area of Kentucky Lake. Lake levels are resting near summer pool this week after falling a few inches since last week’s report. Observed elevation going into the weekend will be 359.2 at Kentucky Dam. Upstream at New Johnsonville TVA projects the summer pool mark of 359. Water color is relatively clear across most of the reservoir. Surface temps are in the 82 to 85 degree range and somewhat cooler than two week ago. Some cloudy days and light winds continue to make conditions quite nice for anglers enjoying this summer fishing. A few mayflies were seen earlier this week scattered across the reservoir but watch for some hefty hatches in the days ahead. Seems there are always some big hatches in late June and early July. Some scattered bluegill were still being caught by anglers tossing worms and crickets around parameters of grassbeds and deeper spawning spots out form shorelines. Although bluegill and redear have spawned, there are still some decent catches coming in and action will improve in shallows and around river islands once mayflies begin hatching. The bass bite has held up well too with a variety of depths and patterns producing. While most of the winning tournament stringers are coming from main lake ledges not all the fish are deep. A few nice fish were taken this week by anglers working buck bushes and weedbeds as the water had been a few inches above summer pool and that likely worked in favor of some shallow structure. A few schools of pin minnows are beginning to show up around visible structure and that attracts bass even during the heat of summer. Seems the fish follow the pin minnows and you can get lots of bites tossing a spinnerbait, shallow running crankbait, or Texas rigged worm or craw. Schooling bass were taken in a few pockets as they chased shad and pin minnows out away from the shoreline in the mouth of feeder creeks this week too. The fish were not relating to structure but running baitfish in open water flats. Some anglers were tossing jerk baits and buzzbaits over shallow grass and landing fish in the early morning and late afternoon hours. Main lake ledges have been popular hangouts too as lots of fish are running shad near drop-offs and submerged shellbeds located on drop-offs near main channel sandbars. The typical pattern of deep diving crankbaits, jig and craw combos, Texas rigged worms and Carolina rigged lizards have been producing. Worms in the nine to ten inch length have been popular on Texas rigs. Popular color choices have been green pumpkin-pepper, red shad, cotton candy, black/blue and pumpkin-pepper with chartreuse tails. It’s not unusual for a variety of patterns to pay off during the summer months so watch for schools of minnows around the abundance of blown-down trees to hold fish as will the outside weedbeds and deeper bushes. At the same time anglers could find some nice stringers relating to the drop-offs far out from shore so Kentucky Lake has diversity in its menu for bass fishermen. Although no milfoil grass has been reported north of the Eva area a few reports are coming in from bassers finding scattered patches further south on the reservoir. Rattle traps, big spinnerbaits and Texas or Carolina rigged worms have produced some bass from the submerged grass in the New Johnsonville area as was the case last year at this time. Catfish were mediocre on the main channel but still hitting fair in midrange depths of 15 to 20 feet. Crappie anglers were tying into some nice ones at times around their crappie beds so the fish haven’t moved into deep water just yet but watch for that to change. Some boats were working the piers beneath the Ned McWherter bridge at Paris Landing but only reporting scattered fish taking chicken liver and night crawlers. Jug fishermen were catching decent stringers throughout Big Sandy while drifting their baits over 10 to 15 foot depths. All in all the summer fishing scene has been good with a few windy days interrupting what has otherwise been a productive June.
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