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Archived Fishing Report

Cool Spell Coming; Hot Fishing Holds Up for Bass/Crappie Anglers

Written by Steve McCadams | Originally published 05/31/2012

Kentucky Lake anglers are getting a reprieve from warm weather as a cool snap has entered the picture and lowered the humidity but not the production of bass and crappie fishermen. 
Overdue rain arrived earlier this week, escorted by some thunderstorms that dropped some water on a thirsty TVA valley but the reservoir remains some 18 inches below normal summer pool elevation. Lake levels have not increased much since last week at this time.
A touch of fall will last a few days before losing its grip as light north winds and potential rains will lead into a nice weekend for fishermen.
Surface temperatures this week had increased to the 83 to 85 degree range but will likely fall back several degrees by late this weekend courtesy of the cool front.  Water color remains clear.
Lake levels are reluctant to rise as not enough rain has entered the TVA valley to bring Kentucky Lake up to its normal readying of 359. Projections for the weekend will see elevation in the 357.4 range at Kentucky Dam.  Readings upstream at New Johnsonville will be 357.2.
Crappie action continues to hold up well as numbers were good this week for those fishing stakebeds and brushpiles in the 12 to 14 foot range. A few fish were taken deeper as well with some main lake ledges producing more fish than last week at this time, a likely response to the warm weather.
A pretty good grade of fish was showing up at times as anglers tipped jigs with minnows and Berkley power bait. Although several small fish are still schooling around the midrange structure there are plenty of keeper size crappie hitting.
Anglers fishing jigs in a vertical presentation were doing well. A few boats were trolling spider rigs or deep diving crankbaits with moderate success.
This early summer crappie bite will continue to improve throughout the month of June as the fish continue to transition toward cover that may not be too deep but relatively close to deeper water.
Popular jig colors ranged from red/chartreuse variations to some blue/white and blue/chartreuse. Mixed in with the crappie are some decent catfish and bass at times too, not to mention some nice bluegill.
Bluegill were showing some late bedding activity this week as there’s usually a second wave of the powerful panfish that make a blitz back to spawning territory in late May and early June. That seems to be the case as some nice bull bream were fanning deeper beds out away from shoreline and showing their beautiful, deep colors reflective of hormonal changes associated with active spawning.
Although not many shellcracker are being caught the late bluegill bite is holding up well and with a full moon approaching anglers should have another good week of activity before the big males back off bedding. Once mayfly hatches resume the fish may scatter a bit but anglers can still land big numbers but may have to cull through some of the smaller ones in the weeks ahead.
Bass patterns are holding up well for boaters banging away at main lake ledges. Some of the better fish are coming from deeper depths lately but may well move up if surface temps cool off this weekend. Not much current has been present in the main river which comes as no surprise since minimal rainfall has occurred.
While the big crankbait bite has held up well for several weeks running other patterns such as big spoons, jig and craws combos, Carolina rigs and big Texas rigged worms have produced too. Some fish were relating to the deep sides of ledges and occupying depth ranges in excess of twenty feet in some areas.
Most anglers were hitting the upper sides of main lake sandbars or perhaps the break but could be missing out on the deeper bite that has taken place at times. No doubt the clear water conditions and lower lake levels have pushed some bass deeper than usual.
Despite some anglers finding the big bite deep there have been some ledges that have given up good numbers of fish from the 9 to 12 foot zone, which is the norm this time of year. Cloudy days or in the midst of some thunderstorms has seen some bass move up on top of ledges and take on feeding sprees at various times throughout the day.
Big swim baits and the Alabama rig are still working too. Those big Texas rigged worms are starting to produce even more with such colors as cotton candy, green pumpkin pepper, blue/pearl, and red shad just to name a few.
A few shallow fish were hanging around boat docks and piers at times but the larger stringers are coming from main lake ledges across the reservoir. Some aquatic vegetation is advancing from Danville Bridge south to New Johnsonville so that pattern will continue to improve and attract fish as schools of shad fry mature and become more attractive as a forage base in the weeks ahead.
Catfish action has been fair with most fish hanging out on shallow flats and around submerged crappie beds in the 7 to 12 foot zones. Some females are still sporting eggs.
The approaching cool snap shouldn’t change the fishing too much but it will sure improve the attitude of anglers. Anytime you get a touch of fall in the air before hot summer arrives you better take advantage of it.

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Photo by Susan Eizenga

If you are visiting Land Between The Lakes after dark, you are sure to hear the hoots of one of the many species of owls that can be found in this region.