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Archived Fishing Report

Anglers Agree: Winter Season Best One In Years

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 02/02/2012

What do you get when mild temperatures and light winds hang around throughout November, December and January? Most Kentucky Lake anglers say its the best winter fishing season in recent memory.
Winter weather has been more akin to late fall. With the exception of a few days when cold fronts and blustery winds made a short visit, anglers have had things going their way for the last few months. And, February began with temperatures climbing to the mid 60s earlier this week.
Strange but true best describes the weather patterns of late. No one in the angling world is complaining and somewhat amazed at the magnificent mood of the weathermen this year. He has indeed been in their corner.
Lake levels have been falling this week as surface temperatures actually increased. Elevation at Kentucky Dam is projected to be in the 354.9 range as the weekend approaches. Upstream at New Johnsonville readings will be in the 356.6 range.
Rain is in the forecast for a few days as the warm weather this time of year often delivers wet forecasts. Lake levels could change slightly if heavy rains occur this week or early next week.
Water color is somewhat stained in the Big Sandy portion of the Paris Landing sector and dingy along the main Tennessee River channel while bays on the east side are relatively clear.
Surface temperatures this week have return to the 51 degree range across much of the reservoir, which is above normal for this time of year.
Bass anglers are having productive times and enjoying a season that has a history of hibernation for most boats and those who own them. Several nice stringers have been taken lately by fishermen using the popular Alabama rig, jig and crawfish combos, slow moving crankbaits and some Carolina rigged craws.
Success has come from anglers working ditches and sloughs that feed into the main river channel and also from rocky banks and bluffs within bays. Some bass have been taken from gravel banks to as anglers hold on to late fall patterns.
From the crappie department comes success stories by anglers fishing a variety of depths and patterns. Seems a lot of fish are lingering in the 7 to 12 foot zones this winter and boats vertical fishing jigs or casting curly tail grubs have done well.
Some fish were taken in 5 foot depths lately too as the stained water has been warm and appealing to shad. And, since the baitfish have remained shallow during the warm spell so have the crappie.
Anglers fishing over manmade fish attractors have chalked up some decent size fish and in good numbers. Some slabs were taken last week while it appears a smaller fish entered the catch this week but still plenty taken that exceeded the 10-inch length limit.
While a few boats were still working main lake ledges in the mouth of Big Sandy it appears more fish were caught the last week or so in midrange depths than were taken on deep ledges. Thats to be expected as winter crappie go deep when cold weather occurs and pulls baitfish to those venues. This year that hasnt happened.
Some sauger were showing up and while boats were not landing limits there were enough fish showing up to keep the interest level high.
As spring grows closer it will be interesting to see if the mild weather remains. Will it be a mean March or an awful April? Time will tell but so far it appears a fantastic February is in the making.

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Photo by Jennifer Dunnaway

Replicas of the Nina and Pinta occasionally dock at Green Turtle Bay. We snapped a photo of the masts of the Pinta last summer.