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Archived Fishing Report

Bass, Crappie and Bluegill Bite Holding Up Well; Low Lake Levels Continue

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 05/24/2012

Kentucky Lake anglers continue to take low lake levels in stride as the overall fishing scene has been pretty good this week. 
As the Memorial Day holiday weekend arrives the reservoir will still be shy of normal summer pool elevation but bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish anglers haven’t let it curtail their efforts.
After a few cool mornings summer weather will coincide with the unofficial kickoff of the summer boating season as hot and humid conditions are in the forecast before a cool snap enters the picture next week.
Good fishing conditions greeted anglers this week and consistent catches of big bluegill were still coming in as bass anglers enjoyed success from main lake ledges. Crappie action has been improving daily too and some nice stringers were taken this week from the 9 to 13 foot depth range.
Warmer weather arrived at midweek after a couple of cool mornings with low humidity sure made it feel nice out there. 
Surface temps are up some from last week at this time. Reading at midweek were in the 78 to 81 degree range and may increase a degree or two by late this weekend. Water color remains clear.
Lake levels are projected to be 357.5 at Kentucky Dam this weekend, which is up a few inches from last week but still more than a foot below the normal summer pool mark of 359. Upstream in the New Johnsonville area lake elevation will be in the 357.3 range.
Good bass action continued for anglers working the drop-offs this week and those big deep diving crankbaits are still paying dividends as are Texas rigged worms and some Carolina rigged lizards. A few anglers are still tossing the Alabama rig while others hop a jig and craw combo or work such lures as big swim baits and spoons.
A lot of bass are relating to ledges on the main lake where depths of 7 to 13 feet are holding fish. There hasn’t been much current but at times enough was present to put fish on the summer pattern where schools of shad have roamed near deeper depths.
The deep diving shad colored crankbaits haven’t been the only thing going but they have been the best thing going.
Crappie activity perked up a bit as some larger fish were showing up in increased numbers from stakebeds and brush located in midrange depths. I found some nice fish as midweek taking jigs tipped with either live minnows or Berkley power bait nibbles.
Popular colors ranged from red/chartreuse variations to some white/blue. As surface temps warm the crappie will continue to improve as they take on a more structure oriented pattern and find their early summer patterns and comfort zones around cover.
The late May and June period is a good time for crappie here on Kentucky Lake and many anglers overlook this time of year. Crappie action will continue to improve as those shallow and scattered fish transition toward their early summer venues.
Bluegill have held up to their reputation and continued fanning beds that are deeper than their usual spring spots. Some of the best fishing has come from bedding areas located in 4 to 8 foot depths. While there have been a few taken in shallow gravel flats most have chosen bedding spots back off the shorelines.
The bluegill bite has been a good one this spring but it has been different due to low lake levels. Shellcracker continue to hide from the hooks of most anglers who are catching one here and there at times. There have been some good size ones taken but numbers have been off.
Catfish action was fair this week as there are still some roaming the shallow flats and hanging out around bluegill beds where they feast on the eggs and fry at times or perhaps the other baitfish doing the same thing.
As surface temps warm watch for summer patterns to accelerate this week for most species. There’s already been a decent mayfly hatch so things continue to be ahead of normal except for lake levels. Anglers have learned to play the cards as dealt and go on about their business of finding and catching fish in low water.

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Honker Bay
Photo by John Mahler

Honker Bay, located near The Nature Station, is a great place to hike or simply stop to observe a beautiful sunset.