Cool Weather/Wind Alters Fishing Scene; Warmer Days Ahead
Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 04/19/2012
Kentucky Lake anglers had a challenging week as gale force winds and cooler temperatures added a hurdle that saw catch rates diminish for most fishermen. Another cool snap is in the making as the weekend arrives but hopefully fishing will rebound by early next week as sunny skies and warm temps return. The fishing scene was a victim of nasty north and northeast winds this week that whipped up whitecaps and sent boaters into coves or bays, greatly limiting their choices. And, it’s been downright cool as most mornings commanded coveralls and overcoats. Bass, crappie, and bluegill anglers have had to fish where they could and not where they wanted to. By early next week fishing should improve as moderate weather returns that allows surface temperature to rebound and winds to switch to southerly direction. Surface temperatures this week fell back to the 65 degree range and even cooler in some shallow pockets while the main lake was slightly warmer. Waters warmed slightly each day but lingered around the 67 degree at midday, which is down six or seven degrees from the last week to ten days. Mix cold fronts, north winds and post-spawn phases of crappie together and you get diminished catch rates for most anglers who have seen their stringers fall off this week as to numbers and size. A few decent crappie were still showing up but it was clear the bigger fish had backed off their biting spree and not relating to structure as had been the case last week. It’s not unusual for larger crappie to back off structure and curtail activity once peak spawning phases pass as they are stressed from the annual ritual and often suspend in open water with a reluctant attitude. That added to the recent cold, high skies and windy weather dealt a triple whammy to fishing this week. A lot of small crappie are still showing up and there are enough keepers to keep it interesting. Popular depths have been the 10 to 14 foot range. Very few crappie have been caught this spring around shallow shorelines as the fish just did not move up as their needs were met in the deeper water due to clear conditions. Bluegill and redear sunfish, better known as shellcracker, were about to bed last week but the cold front and falling surface temperatures backed them off. Watch for action to really turn on next week if warm sunny days enter the picture as these powerful panfish are on the threshold of moving to shallow flats and pockets where they will fan their crater beds for spawning. Bass anglers battled winds like everyone else this week and while activity diminished for some, others found the mossbacks playing their game and landed some hefty stringers as the cold front came in last weekend. A few 5-fish limits tipped the scales at 20-pounds plus in local tournaments. While no trophy fish were reported this week there were some nice largemouth coming in that made it to the 5 and 6 pound class. A variety of patterns have been paying off as success was reported from anglers tossing Texas rigged worms off secondary ledges and deep points while a few were caught on buzz baits over shallow flats with no cover present. Carolina rigged worms and craws were still producing good as were crankbaits tossed around rocky banks and points. Once surface temps rebound watch for more fish to move up to shallow spawning pockets this next week as it appeared fish backed off a bit this week in response to the falling surface temps and pulled out of shallow zones. A few catfish are showing up as well as crappie and bluegill anglers are tying into some dandies at times. Lake levels are still on schedule as TVA’s curve is pretty much on target this spring. Lake levels have been rising slowly and elevation for Kentucky Dam is projected to be 356.5 this weekend, up a few inches from last week at this time. Upstream at New Johnsonville the reservoir is expected to be in the 356.3 range. Water color remains clear across most of the reservoir. Although the fishing scene this week on Kentucky Lake has been under the influence of high winds and cool temperatures at times, watch for overall conditions to improve quickly once those warm days return and surface temperatures climb back into the low to mid 70’s.
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