Good Fall Fishing Holds Up for Bass/Crappie; Cold Front Will Bring Temporary Hiatus
Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 10/27/2011
Fall fishing has held up well here on Kentucky Lake as the fishing scene has been the beneficiary of great weather until things began changing on Thursday. A cold front with typical gale winds that shifted from the southwest to the north brought a dramatic change to both the temperature and placid waters. Anglers have been enjoying above average temperatures since last week at this time but the cool snap will influence things for a day or two with sunny conditions and a warming trend arriving late this weekend. Highs on Thursday and Friday were expected to be about twenty-five degrees cooler compared to earlier this week. However, temperatures are forecast to be in the mid to upper 60’s by early next week, a rebound that should see good fishing resume. Fishing may fall off for a day or two as the weekend approaches for both bass and crappie fishermen as the aftermath of the cold front is expected to see high skies once the high pressure takes over. However, watch for slow but steady improvement as light south winds and a warming trend have a positive impact by early next week. Surface temps this week have lingered around the 62 to 64 degree range. Watch for that reading to fall into the upper 50’s by this weekend as cool nights will be a factor. Water color remains quite clear across the reservoir due to a lack of rain but some a little wind and some rain during the recent weather change may add a slight stain in some places. Lake levels have been holding steady this week with readings of 354.9 at Kentucky Dam. Upstream in the New Johnsonville area and in the Paris Landing sector lake elevation has been slightly lower with readings in the 354.7 range. Although lake levels are resting at their normal fall elevation, it’s important to follow channel markers and use caution this time of year as those shallow sandbars and submerged stumps can play havoc with your outboard’s lower unit. I’ve seen a lot of boaters throwing caution to the wind this week and taking dangerous shortcuts out of the secondary channel. Many of the nonresident anglers fishing the FLW tournament will no doubt encounter some of Kentucky Lake’s famous shallow spots before the week is over. Bass fishing has been pretty good for some anglers who have found schooling fish in some of the bigger bays off the main channel. Good numbers of fish have been taken by anglers who encountered big schools of shad that attracted some surface activity at times. A lot of small to medium size fish are chasing the baitfish. However, most successful stories indicate the bigger bass are hard to come by. Popular lures for the schooling fish have ranged from Strike King’s Red-eye shad to Bill Lewis Rattle Traps and Bomber or Bandit crankbaits in shad color variations. Some anglers were even tossing jerk baits ranging from fluke style worms to suspending Rogues. Even spinnerbaits have worked too, triggering some reaction strikes from the competitive fish. Other patterns such as crankbaits and jig and craw combos have worked around rocky banks and gravel points or roadbeds. A few anglers continue to pursue main lake ledges with big Texas rigged worms, deep diving crankbaits and Carolina rigged craws at times in hopes of finding some bigger bites but the lunkers are somewhat stubborn these days. Jigging spoons have also produced a few bites on the ledges and around the schooling fish. Bass anglers are missing the milfoil grass this fall and hope it returns next year as that has been a very popular pattern in times past during the fall season. Crappie fishing continues to hold up well and it has been a good fall overall for anglers working midrange depths such as the 9 to 14 foot sector. This week a few more fish moved up into 6 to 8 foot depths as action was good in some shallow structure on cloudy days. Not all the fish are shallow as some boats were still working main lake ledges and finding enough fish out there to keep them interested. Depths of 14 to 18 feet were giving up a few fish for anglers tightlining jigs and minnows. I found good numbers of crappie in stakebeds and brushpiles this week. Action has been pretty consistent in the 9 to 14 foot zone with increased activity in some shallow beds during the foggy mornings and late afternoon periods when lowlight conditions seemed to stimulate action in 6 to 8 foot beds. Popular jig color combos have ranged from dark green and chartreuse to red/chartreuse, blue/white, and a variety of colors mixed with chartreuse skirts. Tipping jigs with minnows or Berkley crappie nibbles has enhanced the bite over just plain jig presentations. Expect a temporary hiatus in the action due to the annoying cold front and north winds but watch for improvement by early next week when we shed the overcoats and return to those jacket mornings and shirt sleeve afternoons. November is still a good month for crappie and bass anglers.
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