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Mixture of Weather Greets Anglers; Stable Conditions in the Forecast; Crappie Bite Holding Up Well

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 10/20/2011

Kentucky Lakes fall fishing scene has seen a mixture of summer, fall and winter weather this week. Anglers started the week in short sleeve shirts but a nasty cold front with brisk winds arrived at midweek, sending folks deep in the closet for coveralls and heavy coats.
After three days of below average temperatures and a little rain the weatherman is forecasting a gradual warming trend that should see nice fall conditions return by this weekend. Autumn anglers rarely have to battle cold fronts and gale winds but sometimes a front slips in the door and has a short but miserable stay.
Despite the inclement weather at midweek the fish actually hit good as the low pressure and cloudy skies stimulated the bite of both bass and crappie. Often times the front edge of changing weather---when rain and cloud cover precede temperature changes---will see significant improvement as the entire food chain comes to life.
That was the case this week as those of us who endured high winds and falling temperatures managed to log good catches of crappie. The fish were aggressive and had a definite mood swing, taking the bait with more interest as opposed to a day or two earlier when clear days and stagnant winds had the fish sluggish at times.
I had some hefty stringers this week as stakebeds and brushpiles in the 8 to 14 foot depths were producing good numbers. The fish were showing a preference for loud colors of chartreuse combinations on the dull, cloudy days whereas some white/orange, chartreuse/red, and some neutral colored jig heads with sliver/chartreuse sporting sparkle were the ticket earlier in the week.
Crappie continue to show a preference for jigs tipped with Berkley Power Bait crappie nibbles in the chartreuse, white, gold or silver with metal flake. A few fish were taking a minnow now and then as well.
The overall fall crappie season has been good as some nice size fish have been taken in-between catching big number of short fish at times.
Odds are the action may slow for a day or so in the aftermath of the cold front once clear skies and northeast winds arrive but watch for slow improvement by the weekend or early next week once rising temps and south winds resume. Temps are expected to be back in the 70s by Monday.
Lake levels have been relatively stable this week. Elevation at Kentucky Dam will in the 355 range as the weekend approaches. Upstream at New Johnsonville lake levels will be in the 354.9 range.
Surface temperatures have dropped dramatically in the last few days. Earlier this week surface temps were in the 72 degree range but by midweek had dropped into the 64 degree range. Anglers can expect readings to fall into the low 60s as the weekend approaches.
Water color remains clear across the entire reservoir with the exception of a few areas of dingy water due to high winds stirring up shorelines.
Bass action has been fair with a lot of small fish being caught. The bigger fish continue to evade the hooks of anglers looking for heavy stringers in tournaments. Several events have been won recently with 5-fish limits weighing in the 14-pound range.
Fish have been chasing shad in the backs of big bays and along shallow gravel points, road beds, and shallow flats on the main lake. A few fish have been schooling at times and anglers were landing a lot of fish while casting chrome/blue Rattle Traps, Red-eye shad, and assorted shad colored crankbaits.
Prior to the cold front some fish were hitting topwater at times but that pattern may fall off for a few days if clear skies return.
Crankbaits fished off gravel banks and points are still producing as are some jig and craw combos, suspending jerk baits, and some floating fluke style baits. Even some Carolina rigged craws and worms were working at times on ledges and sloping gravel points.
Watch for the bass bite to improve in the days ahead as stable weather returns and schools of shad resume their shallow water routes.
A few frosty mornings are on the horizon but watch for warm afternoons to stimulate fish activity. Next week should see some significant color changes as the hardwoods respond to the cool temps and frost.

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Elk Herd
Photo by Melodie Cunningham

This herd of female elk are enjoying a winter's day in the Elk and Bison Prairie in Land Between The Lakes.