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Archived Fishing Report

High Water Recedes; Lake Levels Falls Fast; Winter Crappie Decent

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 12/14/2011

Fishing conditions improved earlier this week for Kentucky Lake anglers and folks were anxious to get out and about after last week’s messy weather  kept most fishermen off the lake.
Despite high water and changing lake levels some decent reports have come in from crappie anglers working the main lake ledges this week. A few decent catches were taken by anglers fishing the deep ledges and finding crappie in the 20 to 22 foot depth range.
There have been a few days when winds cooperated and allowed boats to venture out on the main lake and stalk the drop-offs. Those deep ledges where submerged structure in the form of stumps and brushpiles are located will often hold some nice crappie during the winter months but you have to play the weather, especially the wind.
Crappie were taking jigs and live minnows as well. Using bottom bumping rigs or fishing suspended jig presentations will often pay dividends this time of year.
Meanwhile, Kentucky Lake’s elevation has really been on a roller coaster ride this past week. Heavy rains last week influenced lake levels and the reservoir went on a tear, rising some five feet in four days. 
Lake levels crested earlier this week after exceeding the summer pool level by more than a foot. Readings surged to 360. 3 at Kentucky Dam and were slightly higher at New Johnsonville before cresting Monday.
In summary, the reservoir was more than five feet above normal for this time of  year.
Forecasts for the weekend indicate the lake will continue a rapid drawdown as TVA attempts to pull the reservoir back to normal curve and create more storage capacity. Elevation will be in the 356 range at Kentucky Dam while up river at New Johnsonville forecasts are predicted to be slightly higher with readings in the 357 range but falling each day.
Rain is expected to enter the picture again as this report was written and additional rain may return again early next week as well. That may offset some of the drastically declining lake levels but it depends on how much runoff enters the picture.
Water color has actually been pretty good in the Paris Landing area and up in Big Sandy. Surface temperatures were hanging around the 47 to 49 degree range.
Current is present in the main river system and some boats have been attempting to fish for sauger but not many success stories are coming in. A few stripers and white bass, along with some largemouth were relating to areas where current was present.
Some decent bass were taken this week as anglers played the current and fished rip-rap around bridges as well as bridge piers.
If you are fortunate to pick your days this winter fishing can be quite rewarding.

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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!

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Hematite Lake
Photo by Shawn Dunnaway

One of the hidden gems is this beautiful small lake in Land Between The Lakes. This shallow lake features lily pads, abundant wildlife, and a two-mile trail circling the lake. The trail in the back features a unique boardwalk.